6 More Unique Products Made In Jax


Jacksonville's manufacturing scene is a Florida anomaly. Jacksonville is home to several manufacturers making products that one may not expect to find in the area. Here's a few.

Published June 23, 2015 in Culture - MetroJacksonville.com


1.Beaver Street Fisheries



Beaver Street Fisheries is an import, distribution, and manufacturing company for frozen seafood products.  The company began in the 1950s, when the Frisch family decided to open a small, fresh fish store on West Beaver Street here in Jacksonville. The Frisch family had one truck, which meant that in order to get fresh products to local restaurants and grocery stores during business hours, the Frisch boys, Alfred and Hans, would have to drive and pick up the fish from the gulf and Atlantic coasts at night.

This around the clock dedication paid off though, as the company began to evolve. They Frisch family built their reputation on quality food and service. In 1979, the company established their “Sea Best” brand. Now, decades later, they are a leader in the seafood industry. Beaver Street Fisheries has sister companies, the Bahamas Food Service and Tropic Seafood, which has allowed them to offer one of the largest seafood selections within the US.

Beaver Street Fisher’s “Sea Best” brand includes fresh seafood items like crab, scallops, shrimp, lobster and fish. They now also have a full line of beef, pork, and poultry products. They are located at 1741 W Beaver St, where their warehouse covers nearly two blocks.







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2.Safariland Group (Armor Holdings, Inc.)



Safariland Group, formerly a division if BAE systems, is a design and manufacturing company for sporting, military, law enforcement, and public safety equipment.  The company was founded in California by Neale Perkins in 1964. Perkins got the idea for the company after his father asked him to make a custom gun holster. That single gun holster would multiply to 5000 gun holsters after just a few months of being open for production.

Over 50 years later, Safariland still produces these holsters. Of course, they’ve also added several brands to their company, as well as types of equipment, since then. Brands of Safariland include ABA Body Armor, Brakfree, Casco, and Mustang Survival Nik. Products produced by Safariland include holsters and gear, body armor, gloves, forensic equipment.

Safariland continues to design, engineer, and research new ways to design and create better, more effective equipment. Their company has a “Saves Club,” which chronicles lives saved in part from using Safariland equipment. The number totals nearly 2000.  

Safariland is located at 13386 International Pkwy.




Courtesy of www.bodyarmornews.com

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3.SAFT America Inc.



SAFT was founded in 1913 by Swiss engineer Victor Herald. At the time, the company was known by the acronym (SIAA), but changed its name to SAFT in 1918 when production started. The creation of the subsidiary we know, SAFT American Inc., came in 1955 as SAFT continued to expand.

SAFT us the world’s leader in designing and manufacturing advanced battery technology for industrial use. They have over 30 sales offices in 5 different continents, nearly 150 different patent families, and last year alone? They did $700 million in sales. SAFT’s products have a reputation for being widely reliable, safe, cost-efficient, and respectful of the environment. These products include: industrial batteries, nickel rechargeable batteries for industry and transport, and specialty batteries, lithium and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for storage systems.
SAFT America Inc. is located at 13575 Waterworks St.







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4.RockTenn



RockTenn is a leading manufacturer in the US for corrugate and consumer packaging, as well as recycling operations. The company is based in Georgia; however, they have operations all over the US, as well as Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and China.
Their mill in Jacksonville began under the name St. Regis Paper Mill, which opened up in the 1950's. This was a kraft paper and linerboard mill that produced over 300 tons of paper a day. Like many of St. Regis’s mills, this one was available by both rail and water transportation.

The name was changed to the Jacksonville Kraft Paper Company, who ran it until the 1980's. The mill was shut down as a result of the economy. However, in 1986, the mill was purchased by the Stone Container Corporation, who formed a joint venture with the Seminole Kraft Group, and reopened. Stone Container Corporation’s purchase of the Jacksonville mill increased the capacity of the company’s control by about 15% and added additional products to their production line. They renovated the mill to accompany 100,000 tons a day of linerboard paper production. They also implemented new manufacturing methods, to produce recycled linerboard.
Today, the mill is owned by RockTenn, who purchased it from Smurfit Stone in 2011. This mill is the only remaining, operating mill in Jacksonville today and now runs fully on recycled operations.





An aerial view of the St. Regis Paper Company paper mill in 1956. This mill is now operated by Rock Tenn. Image courtesy of State Archives of Florida.

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5.Vak Pak, Inc.


Phoenix Avenue's Vak Pak Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of self-contained filtration and operating systems for swimming pools, spas, fountains and zoos. Several of its buildings date back to 1930 and were once a part of the Berea Baptist Church campus.

Vak Pak is a designing and manufacturing company for self-contained filtration systems, operating systems, and collector tanks for swimming pools, waterfalls, spas, zoos, and other water fixtures.

Vak Pak began in 1970 when it was founded by Paul Sutherland. Sutherland had worked many years in the pool industry, when he began to notice that there was a significant need for easier, more cost-efficient alternatives to the large “pump rooms” that often accompanied commercial and residential pools. For over 40 years since then, Vak Pak has continued to deliver superior water filtration systems to the community.

Vak Pak prides itself on making systems that are easy to maintain and install. They offer warranties with all of their products. These products include filter and recirculation systems, collectors and filters, tanks, splash pads, and various drain accessories.
Vak Pak can be found at 1824 Phoenix Ave.







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6.Vistakon



Vistakon Inc. manufactures the popular contact lens brand Acuvue (which is owned by Johnson & Johnson). Vistakon was the first manufacturer of soft contact lenses and the company began in Jacksonville in 1950. During that time, it was known as the Frontier Contact Lens Company and was owned by optometrist Seymour Marco. Marco is the one who sold the company to Johnson & Johnson in 1981.
After becoming Vistakon, the company got a patent for a proprietary manufacturing process call a stabilized soft molding. This set the stage for one of the biggest launches in vision care—contact lenses; specifically, Acuvue.

Vistakon Inc. also owns Vistakon pharmaceuticals, which manufactures prescription eye drops. They can be found at 7500 Centurion Pkwy #100.






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Article by Kristen Pickrell


This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-jun-6-more-unique-products-made-in-jax


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