PUNTA GORDA — Jerry Goin said he can finally take a breath after airport commissioners granted a lease extension for his manufacturing company at Punta Gorda Airport.
Goin’s custom cabinet business, Gulf Contours, has operated out of the Punta Gorda Airport’s industrial park for more than two decades.
He was given a one-year extension during a Charlotte County Airport Authority meeting Thursday, despite a majority of the commissioners denying a renewal two weeks ago at an emergency session.
“We’ve been in this for 22 years, and to see it end overnight was pretty heartbreaking,” Goin told The Daily Sun. “I guess I can take a deep breath now and go forward.”
Since the emergency session, Goin said he has heard from multiple buyers that could help him vacate the building, located at 7500 Golf Course Blvd.
“We are discussing maybe a merger, acquisition or something like that with a couple of people (but) I don’t think they’d appreciate being brought forth at this time,” Goin said. “We’ve also been contacted by other counties to possibly relocate and some developments there and we are exploring that.”
Airport Chief Executive Officer James Parish and the airport’s lawyer, Darol Carr, have been trying to end the lease with Gulf Contours since 2017, citing that the area is really intended for filling 12-14 fuel tankers a day.
At Thursday’s meeting, however, Parish said he would proceed with negotiations for the extension based on the commissioners’ input to renew.
Negotiations will begin once Carr, who was not present at the meeting, returns to town.
Parish said they would have a contract brought back before the Airport Authority next month.
Commissioner Vanessa Oliver was the only board member to vote in favor of renewing the company’s lease at the emergency meeting.
She told The Daily Sun she was happy the rest of the board reversed their previous decision.
“This is a manufacturing company in Charlotte County that gives good jobs to good people,” she said. “I think it’s so important that we support them and I’m really happy that the board turned around and decided to not evict this company.”
At Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Rob Hancik said he thought “the solution with the cabinet company is a good one.”
Punta Gorda resident Mike Redeheaver spoke on behalf of the company, saying he’s been a customer for 10 years.
“Your action is going to put 14 people out of work but it’s not just 14 people, there are spouses and children,” he told commissioners.
Gulf Contours employee Nicole Griffin, a mother of four, told The Daily Sun she was grateful for the commissioners’ decision.
“I did not know what I was going to do tomorrow if they didn’t extend it,” she said. “Jerry and Janet are not just in the business, they are (also) family and they’ve helped me out so much tremendously.”
Gulf Contours manufactures thermofoil cabinet components, such as cabinet doors, shelves and other cabinet pieces, and has become a major supplier nationwide, especially for motorhome developers and closet companies.
To design those pieces, Goin has several large, industrial-sized machines that require more than 20 feet of height and just as much space in width. He said those machines would be difficult to relocate.
“We can’t just move overnight with the size of the equipment,” Goin said. “We’re pretty heavy duty over there. The cost for moving is astronomical, along with the time needed, so we have got our work cut out for us.”