New company to raise shrimp in middle of desert

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.

Two Southern Nevada companies, including a new arrival to North Las Vegas that will grow shrimp for food outlets in Las Vegas and abroad, on Tuesday received tax and training grant incentives from the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.

Ganix Biotechnologies Inc. will open a plant in North Las Vegas’ Capex industrial area north of the city in March. The company will receive $128,397 in incentives following Tuesday’s unanimous vote.

Commissioners also approved $69,355 in incentives for Pop Culture Graphics Inc. for an expansion of the company that opened its doors nearly a year ago in February.

“It’s hard for some people to grasp, but we will be raising shrimp in the middle of the desert,” said Scott McManus, CEO of Ganix.

McManus said that while the company will have tanks with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, the shrimp-raising process will use less water than the average household once the facility is set up.

McManus said Ganix has a research and development facility in Newburg, N.D., and has developed a process that is sustainable, organic, uses no chemicals or growth hormones and produces shrimp of varying sizes that taste like lobster. The shrimp will be grown indoors without effluent in recaptured and reprocessed water in a closed-loop system.

“In the United States, we import about 88 percent of our seafood,” McManus said. “We hope to change that.”

McManus said initially half the shrimp manufactured would be sold to Las Vegas outlets and the other half exported domestically and internationally, leveraging the city’s strong air freight hubs.

Ganix will hire 25 employees, most of them tech and lab workers and animal husbandry experts, who will undergo five weeks of training to run the plant. The company also will provide 50 construction jobs to build the plant.

The company will have an exclusively licensed aquaculture facility, but it also has other commercial agriculture products — turf management and home, lawn and garden retail products for soil rejuvenation.

McManus said he is optimistic that he could set up a similar facility in Reno once the North Las Vegas operation is running. He also plans to export shrimp to California, Arizona, Utah and portions of Colorado.

Ganix qualified for the incentives by offering average wages of $21 an hour, 6 percent over the statutory requirement, and the company will invest $1.3 million in the area, 31 percent more than the requirement.

In return, the company will have its sales tax abated to 2 percent for a year, a $79,654 savings, and its modified business tax by 50 percent for four years, a savings of $20,743. The company also qualified for $28,000 in training grants for 14 employees.

The company also will get a 60-month deferral on sales tax of $26,116.

“This was a very tidy presentation and appears to be an opportunity for Nevada,” said Commissioner Tony Dazio.

Commissioners also gave the green light to Pop Culture Graphics for incentives for an expansion for the company, which produces high-quality posters with an HP Indigo digital printing process and serves as a fulfillment center for companies like Amazon.com and eBay.

The company does 96 percent of its business outside the state, making it a major exporter.

President and CEO Rusty Bridges said the company was started in a garage in Las Vegas nearly a year ago. Today, it has grown into a 29,000-square-foot building at Sunset Road and Valley View Boulevard and has 29 employees. It generated $3 million in revenue in its first year of operation.

The expansion will enable Pop Culture to grow larger, and Bridges hopes to drive $300 million in revenue within 10 years.

Pop Culture qualified for incentives by providing 11 new jobs, 83 percent more than the statutory requirement, an average wage of $21.68, 9 percent over the requirement, and will invest $184,170, 110 percent over the requirement.

In return, the company will see its sales tax abated to 2 percent for a year, saving the company $11,234, its modified business tax to 50 percent for four years, a savings of $7,561, and personal property tax to 50 percent for 10 years, a savings of $2,559.

The company also qualified for $44,000 in training grants for 11 new employees and will get a 12-month deferral on sales tax of $3,683.

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