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Queens distributor mulls move to Suffolk; could bring 175 jobs

Entourage Commerce LLC co-owners Andrew Vagenas and Jonathan

Entourage Commerce LLC co-owners Andrew Vagenas and Jonathan Webb, (right) stand in their warehouse in College Point on Thursday Jan 29, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

A fast-growing distributor of health and beauty products is considering a move from Queens to Suffolk County or New Jersey, officials said Thursday.

Entourage Commerce LLC, now based in College Point, plans to add 175 workers to its payroll of 250 by 2018 as part of an expansion valued at up to $25 million, CEO and co-owner Jonathan Webb said Thursday. He appeared before the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to answer questions on his application for tax breaks from the county.

If the company chooses Suffolk, it hopes to rent a 125,000- to 150,000-square-foot building for use as a warehouse and shipping center, Webb said.

The Suffolk IDA on Thursday gave Entourage preliminary approval for up to $2.3 million in incentives. The biggest savings would be a $1.3 million, or 29 percent, reduction in property tax bills over 15 years.

The company expects to hire customer service and sales representatives, marketing staff and warehouse workers as part of its move. Records show its workers earn, on average, $26,000 per year, excluding medical and retirement benefits.

The wage rate troubled several IDA board members. Noting Long Island’s high cost of living, board member Sondra Cochran said Entourage’s average pay “isn’t going to cut the mustard.”

Webb responded that some workers receive higher pay, depending on their responsibilities.

Entourage provides shipping services for two related online retailers as well as other distributors. It also sells through Amazon.com, Walmart.com and others.

Webb said Entourage owns the online retailers pharmapacks.com and stockngo.com, both based in Queens. Pharmapacks, begun in 2010, placed No. 115 on Inc. magazine’s 2015 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies, with sales of $31.5 million last year.

Webb said Entourage ships 130,000 packages a week and with the expansion would ship up to 60,000 per day. He predicted the company would end this year with sales of $160 million and in 2017, $305 million.

Webb, a Jericho resident, said the expansion project would “create a financial burden for the company, [and] without the benefits offered through the Suffolk County IDA, the project is not economically viable.”

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