TITUSVILLE, Fla. (September 4, 2015) — Armed with a high school diploma and a year of community college classes, Florida native Josh Cobb faced limited employment options in 2011. The Great Recession and the end of the Space Shuttle program had delivered a one-two punch to his hometown of Titusville, and Cobb considered himself lucky to find work at fast-food restaurants and retail chains.
When Cobb learned of an opening at a local manufacturing plant, the 35-year-old jumped at the opportunity. He landed a job with Barn Light Electric, the then-fledgling lighting company that has since grown to more than 120 employees.
“Having a job in a growing company that allows me to live and work in my hometown is a dream come true,” Cobb says. “I started working in the warehouse, and I worked my way up to my current position as Shipping Department Supervisor.”
Barn Light Electric is one of more than 500 manufacturers on the Space Coast that churn out products from plastics, flooring, and marine gear to vintage lights and craft beer. While other parts of the country have seen a decline in manufacturing, these Brevard County businesses have enjoyed slow but steady growth. While some thought the end of the shuttle program would turn Titusville into a ghost town, manufacturing, along with tourism and professional services, have made a comeback.
“The year 2008 probably wasn’t the best time to quit our day jobs and become business owners,” says Bryan Scott, co-owner of Barn Light Electric with his wife Donna. “But we saw the growing demand for American-made products, and we wanted to create high-quality lighting right here at home.”
Barn Light Electric has experienced phenomenal growth from its humble beginnings in the couple’s backyard barn. The company will celebrate this Labor Day with customers around the globe, a new commercial division that caters to architects and designers, and expanding operations Down Under in Barn Light Australia.
“Unlike some companies that take their manufacturing overseas where materials and labor are cheap, we wanted to grow our company on the Space Coast,” he adds. “Our customers will always get American-made, high-quality products that support American workers and American craftsmanship. We’re proud to be a part of the renaissance that’s taking place here in Brevard County.”
For additional data and information on the economic recovery in Brevard County, please see these links provided by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast: