Radians Seeks 8-Year PILOT

By Andy Meek

Radians Inc., a Bartlett-based supplier of a line of safety products like protective eyewear, is looking to consolidate its headquarters and distribution functions into one large facility and has applied for a local tax incentive to help it do so.

A special meeting of the retooled Memphis-Shelby County Industrial Development Board has been called for Sept. 7, at which officials will consider Radians’ request for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) benefit of no less than eight years.

The meeting will be held at City Hall, 125 N. Main St., at 3 p.m.

In one sense, the deal has a retention aspect to it, because if Radians finds what it’s looking for in Shelby County, the company will keep its existing 49 jobs here. However, Radians has explored multiple sites in Memphis and Bartlett as well as DeSoto County.

And in documents filed with local economic development officials in support of the tax freeze, the company said the 49 jobs would be moved elsewhere if a site outside Shelby County is chosen for the project. The company also said that given its history here, it would prefer to remain here.

That history includes its formation in Shelby County in 1999 and incremental growth of its warehouse and office presence in Bartlett over the following years. That history also includes growth in its product line, which includes more than 80 styles of safety eyewear, safety apparel, barricade tape, hearing protection, head gear, hard hats, performance gloves and more.

Radians’ products are distributed in more than 48 countries on six continents, and among its customer services, the company offers custom imprinting on most products.

“Even in the down economy, (Radians) continues to grow with 2011 being on track to be 20 percent over 2010, which was previously a record best year ever,” the company wrote in its PILOT documentation. “(Radians) is seeking a facility where all functions may be consolidated including warehousing, distribution, sorting, executive functions, accounting, administration, sales and marketing so that the business will be in a position to expand further into national and international markets in industrial distribution, retail sporting goods and hardware sales.”