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Prospect Brands opening headquarters in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO — Clothing retailer Gerbing and the venerable brand Duck Head are coming here — and without any incentives from the city.

That had previously been a point of contention.

But not anymore.

The parent company, Stoneville-based Prospect Brands, will move its headquarters to Greensboro.

It will lease about 4,000 square feet of South Elm Street property that formerly housed North State Milling Co., Prospect CEO Tom Nolan said Monday.

He expects to move in the next two months.

The company wants to open a retail area in the new building, but there’s no plan yet for when that would happen, Nolan said.

“From the beginning, I wanted an office space in a building that represented our brands really well, and I feel like a turn-of-the-century mill in Greensboro really represents what we are going to do,” Nolan said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Prospect acquired Duck Head in November. It’s the company’s second brand. The first, Gerbing, is a high-tech apparel company that makes heated clothing for outdoor enthusiasts.

In 2003, Duck Head became an exclusive brand of Goody’s, which declared bankruptcy in 2009.

A Virginia man bought the Duck Head brand out of that bankruptcy and owned it until November.

Prospect will relaunch the brand in 2014.

The company will continue to manufacture its clothing in Stoneville, but Prospect will open its headquarters here with no incentives from the city.

It’s the end of what’s been a strange deal in the making.

In August, the City Council offered the company $150,000 to move the corporate headquarters to downtown.

But in January the company declined to take the money, without giving an explanation.

Councilman Zack Matheny had brought the proposal to the table.

The council created a new incentive program to give Gerbing $150,000 because it didn’t meet the city’s requirement to invest a minimum of $1.5 million .

Gerbing planned to invest about $266,000 in the project and “create up to 25 new jobs over the next three years,” according to the resolution approved by the council.

Gerbing representatives debated with city attorneys about whether they had to create new jobs — or if they could relocate them.

Nolan said Monday that he decided not to seek incentives because it wasn’t the right time.

“It is what it is. I purposely didn’t talk about it when it happened because there’s no reason to,” Nolan said. “The past is the past.”

Contact Kelly Poe at (336) 373-7003, and follow @kelly_poe on Twitter.

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