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Sunglass Maker Oakley Will Remain in County : Manufacturing: Plans to move to Nevada site were abandoned after pep talks by Supervisor Vasquez and Gov. Wilson.

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Sunglass manufacturer Oakley Inc. said Friday it will continue to expand its operations in Orange County, despite being wooed by other locations to move away.

“We were set to move to just outside Henderson, Nev.,” Mike Parnell, chief executive officer of the Irvine-based company, said at a press conference in Santa Ana.

Those plans were abandoned when company officials were approached by Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez and Gov. Pete Wilson, said Parnell, who urged them to examine the options in Orange County first.

Parnell said he was not aware of any financial incentives offered by county or state officials. The company decided to stay, he said, because its executives found a site that would allow continued growth in an attractive location: Foothill Ranch in Tustin.

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Because it has added several hundred employees since the mid-1980s, Parnell said, Oakley has outgrown its office and manufacturing sites, which are scattered across Irvine. Though Parnell would not say how many employees Oakley has, he did say that it has added 75 to 80 people to its payroll every year since the mid-1980s and expects to maintain that pace through the end of this decade.

The company also wanted to consolidate its operations at a single location, he said.

Oakley settled on a 40-acre property at Foothill Ranch, a master-planned community being developed by Foothill Ranch Co. Parnell said he did not know how many square feet of new space would be built, only that the company hopes to move to its new location by April, 1996.


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