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Edmond gives $250,000 incentive to Petra Industries

EDMOND — Petra Industries, an Edmond-based wholesale distributor of consumer and custom electronics, was awarded this week by the Edmond City Council the second half of its $250,000 incentive for increasing the size of its business and keeping at least 292 employees on the job.

Petra was required to spend $250,000 on the renovation of the business and keep employee numbers up to receive the incentive paid out over two years.

In 2015, Petra purchased a 525,000-square-foot warehouse at 3400 S Kelly Ave.

“This enabled Petra to vacate its existing warehouse space outside Edmond city limits in Oklahoma City and bring those 30 employees into their new facility,” said Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director.

Petra now uses 275,000 square feet of the building as well as maintains its corporate offices and reverse logistics operations at its 2101 S Kelly Ave. location.

Petra made a $14 million capital investment in the warehouse building, plus $3 million on exterior improvements and $750,000 on interior improvements.

In February 2016, Petra received its first $125,000 incentive.

Petra now has an average of 379 employees. Although the incentive did not have a salary requirement, the average pay is about $37,000, with an annual payroll of about $14 million, Yowell said.

“This is really a success story that we are here to talk about,” Yowell told the council members. “Petra Industries is a homegrown company.

“They came here a long time ago and built a location on Kelly Avenue and expanded it twice. And then they bought a former TG&Y and then Wal-Mart warehouse at 33rd Street and Kelly Avenue.

"They have maintained and exceeded their employment numbers. They have really just blown it out of the park."

Humble beginnings

Bill Stewart, founder and CEO of Petra Industries, said the business started in a garage just over 31 years ago.

“We now have well over 300 employees and have been very fortunate and very blessed,” Stewart said. “I have always said from the very beginning Edmond is a great place to build a business and raise a family.

Edmond's incentive program, adopted in January 2013, has only been awarded to Petra and Gateway Services. Officials said the incentives make Edmond competitive with other cities that are working to entice businesses.

Incentive money comes from the city's Edmond Electric Economic Development Fund that now has a balance of $678,968. Money in the fund has been collected over 12 years from Edmond Electric to help stimulate the growth of Edmond's economy, City Manager Larry Stevens said.

Petra Industries recently received the Wal-Mart Supplier of the Year for e-commerce award, Stewart told council members.

The award is given to the company that demonstrates two particular qualities as an e-commerce supplier: To provide and expand Wal-Mart's overall product assortment, and to provide great product content.

“We are thrilled to have been selected to receive such a meaningful accolade from Wal-Mart," Stewart said. "It is a testament to the quality of the teams we have in place from sales to customer service and our best-in-class distribution center operations.”

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›