Company wants to relocate to Stafford for low-crime appeal
By Karen Daniels
At the February 19 Stafford City Council meeting a company by the name of SOGO Industries applied for a Specific Use Permit (SUP) to build a new manufacturing development at 4417 & 4421South Main Street. Currently there is an auto body shop at one address and incomplete banquet hall at the other, with residential backing up to it.
Namit Varma, SOGO Sales and Marketing Director, explained to Council that their family owned and operated company currently is located on Harwin Street in Houston. They have four plastic molds that they manufacture; a chair, a pitcher and two different types of bowls. At this time, the company only runs a 10-hour shift due to safety concerns in that area.
If granted the SUP, they would extend their hours to midnight, but “currently have no plans for a 24 hour crew.” Right away Councilman Wen Guerra expressed concern over “noise pollution and chemicals used.” Mr. Varma said they use polypropylene and that there are “no emissions in terms of smell” and the noise level of the machinery is so low “that you would not hear it outside the building.”
“We are looking to make this place gorgeous,” Mr. Varma spoke of future landscaping. SOGO wants to expand their storage and production space, develop additional molds, and build a showroom. Upon move-in, they will hire one new person immediately with hopes to increase this number to four. On the down side, 18-wheelers will be entering and exiting their business.
One of the perks of doing business in Stafford is no property taxes. Because SOGO is a wholesale company there will not be any sales tax generated for the City to collect except in cases of inventory. On the subject of Stafford’s superior emergency department, this being a reason to relocate, Councilman Guerra said, “The City will provide a whole lot and not get anything out of it.” He further stated that this was “a great opportunity (for SOGO) to work with SMSD to teach and intern kids on manufacturing.” Namit Varma said their company is one who “gives back” to communities.
A motion to grant the SUP to SOGO Industries with advance notice to Council when the site plans go before the P&Z Commission passed unanimously.
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