Vistaprint promises 125 jobs at new RI office

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A new unit of graphic-design company Vistaprint will establish its national sales office in Providence in exchange for state tax credits, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday.

Raimondo and Don LeBlanc, president of Vistaprint Corporate Solutions, made the announcement at a news conference at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. LeBlanc says the company plans to employ 125 people at its Providence office by 2020, more than 100 of whom will be new hires, and expects to begin the hiring process next month.

“Our hope is that it’s going to be many more than that over time,” LeBlanc said, adding: “There’s a whole bunch of other roles that we could potentially bring here over time once we start with the first tranche, which will be sales.” The initial jobs are expected to pay $50,000 to $75,000 annually, he said.

Vistaprint will seek $2.2 million in tax credits from the Commerce Corporation through a program that allows companies to keep part of the income tax paid by new employees. State officials said they estimate the company will generate up to $5.3 million in net new state revenue over the next 12 years. Vistaprint will be eligible for additional tax credits if they add additional jobs, up to 275 by 2023.

“This is once again a revenue-positive transaction for Rhode Island,” Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said.

LeBlanc said Vistaprint is looking to lease an office in Providence’s Jewelry District. He said the company decided to establish the new office in Providence, rather than expanding its Massachusetts facility or going to a lower-cost state, because the tax credits “leveled the playing field” for Rhode Island financially, and because of the city’s workforce.

Pryor said the Vistaprint announcement is the 17th business expansion or relocation deal finalized since Raimondo took office in 2015, with others including GE Digital, Johnson & Johnson and Virgin Pulse. Commerce officials estimate the deals will generate about $46 million of net new state revenue over the next 12 years, he said.

Founded in 1995, Vistaprint describes itself as selling “professional quality printed products at affordable prices,” including business cards, T-shirts and flyers. Its publicly traded parent company is Netherlands-based Cimpress, and its North American headquarters is in Waltham, Massachusetts.

LeBlanc said Vistaprint had space available in Waltham but decided that labor costs in Greater Boston were too high to establish the sales office there. “That was the big reason for why not Waltham and why Providence,” he said.

Raimondo was joined at the announcement by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Providence City Council President Pro Tempore Sabina Matos, who represents the ward where the Commerce Corporation’s headquarters is located.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook