Colorado orthodontics manufacturer plans move to Franklin

A Colorado-based orthodontics manufacturer is moving its headquarters to Franklin and bringing with it 100 jobs.

The company, known as OrthoAmerica and Rocky Mountain Orthodontics, was bought in October 2020 by two former G and H Orthodontics executives, Michael Jahns and Brandon Bernacchi, who are seeking to move the headquarters to Franklin.

The company plans to move into the building at 2165 Earlywood Drive, which houses G and H Orthodontics, a Franklin-based orthodontics manufacturer that is in the process of moving its headquarters to Linville Way.

The company wants to move because of leadership ties to Franklin, said Jahns, chairman and president of OrthoAmerica.

“I brought a business to Franklin in 1997 and built the building on Earlywood Drive,” Jahns said. “So the move is because of our experience in Franklin. We found it to be a very friendly work environment and the access to qualified employees to be readily available.”

He worked with city officials for about a year on the move, and plans to begin the move and renovations as soon as G and H Orthodontics vacates the building in January, he said.

The company, an orthodontics equipment manufacturer that distributes products globally, plans to invest $6.4 million to expand the footprint of the 30,000-square-foot building, including $4.6 million in equipment $1.8 million to expand the building, according to city documents.

The company will first renovate the existing building, including the manufacturing space, cafeteria and restrooms, to get the business up and running by the end of the first quarter of next year. A dilapidated barn at the site will be torn down, and an addition will be constructed in 2023, along with a larger parking area, Jahns said.

The company plans to employ about 100 people at an average wage of $25 an hour, including 15 managerial jobs at $34 an hour and 85 manufacturing jobs at $21 an hour, city documents show.

Jobs at the site will be added over the course of four years. If current growth projections hold, the company could potentially double or triple its workforce in five to 10 years, he said.

Between eight and 10 employees at the Colorado site will relocate to Indiana, Jahns said.

All employees — existing and new — will add to the city’s tax base, Barnett said.

The company will maintain a smaller presence in Colorado going forward, Jahns said, but didn’t provide details on what type of presence that is.

The company will receive two tax breaks to facilitate the project.

The Franklin Economic Development Commission approved two tax abatements at its October meeting, and the Franklin City Council unanimously approved both abatement requests Monday evening.

Both abatements are on 7-year alternative schedules, meaning the company would get roughly the same amount of savings as a 10-year abatement, but will start paying taxes in full in its seventh year.

The alternative abatement schedule was requested because the company is investing about $1 million to move its operations, in addition to the investment in real and personal property, said Reid Pittard, a consultant working with OrthoAmerica.

According to tax estimates, the real property tax abatement will save the company about $240,700, and it will still pay about $426,800 in real property taxes. The personal property tax abatement will save the company about $207,900, and it will still pay about $407,400 in personal property taxes.

Without the investment, the city would collect about $829,800 in taxes over the next 20 years. But with the investment, the city will collect about $1.7 million in taxes, estimates show.

The company is also working with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation on a state incentive package, Pittard said.

“This is really the final piece of the puzzle for the project,” he said. “They’ve secured a deal with the state and really just need this abatement to call Franklin their home.”

IEDC is not able to confirm, deny or comment on any details or discussions of a state incentive package at this time, said Melissa Thomas, IEDC spokesperson.