Red Ventures branching out in IL

Red Ventures plans to hire another 1,500 employees, increasing its workforce to 3,750 at its Indian Land campus after it completes an expansion that will double its size there next year.
Red Ventures CFO Mark Brodsky drew a full house to the Indian Land Action Council meeting Thursday, July 21, where he spoke about the company’s unparalleled growth over the past seven years, and offered an update on current projects and what’s coming next.
Chief among those upcoming projects is a $90 million expansion of the internet marketing firm’s local campus, the fourth since the company moved to Indian Land in 2009 with 325 employees.
The new complex will allow the company to increase its current 2,250-employee workforce in Indian Land by an additional 1,500 and brings its total investment in the Indian Land campus to about $190 million.
According to Brodsky, the expansion was part of a decision company officials made in 2014 to buy seven parcels of land in the area that would also lay the groundwork for a much more visible presence in the community.
“At this point, we had a strategic decision to make,” Brodsky said. “We were thinking about future growth and we decided to go all in in Indian Land.”
Brodsky said the first phase of the project, a new sales center building called RV4, will open in January, followed by a two-story parking garage and a six-story tower called the Learning and Education Center, in fall 2017.
“The size of our campus is about to go from over 300,000 to over 600,000 square feet,” Brodsky said.
He said future plans at the famously amenity-rich campus include ball fields, which will be open to the public, as well as walking and biking trails.

RedStone retail center
Once almost exclusively an internet marketing firm, since 2009 Red Ventures has expanded its business model to include insurance and real estate, among other ventures, the latter of which form the foundation for the company’s most talked-about local project – RedStone.
A 310,000-square-foot retail center under development at the intersection of U.S. 521 (Charlotte Highway) and S.C. 160 (Fort Mill Highway), the project is being developed in two phases, the first of which includes a 14-screen movie theater complex, Sharonview Federal Credit Union, Lee Nails, Tide Dry Cleaners and nine restaurants.
The restaurants include Red Rocks Café, Portofino Italian restaurant, Penn Station Subs, WAFU Japanese Hibachi/sushi, Viva Chicken, Z’s Amazing Kitchen, Menchies Yogurt, Moe’s and Freddy’s.
Though he declined to identify them, Brodsky said the company and its partner MPV Properties of Charlotte are in negotiations with national restaurant chains, a national coffee chain and box stores, plus at least one major grocery store chain.
Phase 1 of RedStone should be up and running during the second quarter of 2017, he said, while the goal for Phase 2 is late 2017 or early 2018.
Plans for the project call for an expansion of the S.C. 160 intersection, Brodsky said.
In the long term, the company is also considering developing some residential properties at the location.

Indian Land’s first hotel
Another project moving forward, Brodsky said, is Indian Land’s first hotel, a four-story TownPlace Suites by Marriott. A partnership between OHM Motels and Red Ventures, the hotel is going up at the intersection of U.S. 521 and Red Ventures Drive.
“We’re expecting to start putting steel in the ground in about 30 days,” Brodsky said. “There will be four floors, 91 rooms, a swimming pool and several other amenities.”

Few employees from county
Brodsky also spoke at length about Red Ventures’ employees, including how many live in Indian Land.
“Of the 2,250 employees in the Indian Land campus, close to 600 live in South Carolina, and 181 live in Lancaster County,” Brodsky said. “That’s fairly representative of the population of the area.”
In response to another question, Brodsky said the company looks at employee turnover in three ways: “sales center 90 days or less,” “sales center more than 90 days” and “non-sales center.”
Acknowledging that a sales position “is a tough job,” Brodsky said the less than 90-day sales center turnover is “high,” while the second and third categories hover around 1.5 percent and less than 1 percent a month, respectively.
Still, he said, the company’s employees are passionate about community involvement, much like the company where they work.
According to Brodsky, the company helped employees raise $232,991 to help 62 organizations last year.
One community-focused program is Donors Choose, a favorite of CEO Rick Elias, which donated about $61,000 to 70 projects in the Lancaster County School District last year.
“So far this year, Red Ventures has contributed over $150,000, and is on track to contribute $300,000-plus,” Brodsky said. “So we take our commitment seriously.”
ILAC President Jane Tanner said she’s been pursuing Brodsky for some time. She said Red Ventures “doesn’t come out of their nest very often.” She said she was pleased with such a large turnout.
“I think people were curious because they didn’t know what kind of company they are, and what they do,” Tanner said. “Now they’ve spread out and are buying land and bringing in restaurants and the movie theater and stores, and I think people were wanting to know.
“I think it was all very positive,” she said.

By Reece Murphy, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News