Walton County EDA Announces Business Expansion - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Walton County EDA Announces Business Expansion

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MarJam Supply Company – a seller and distributor of building materials in 12 states to East Coast customers – will expand its Florida operations with a new site in Santa Rosa Beach.

The expansion will bring about 12 jobs with annual wages averaging more $41,143, which is over 115 percent of Walton County's annual average wage. MarJam also will invest $315,000 in facility space and equipment. Its new facility will be located at 198 Commercial Dr.

"We're pleased that MarJam chose to expand here," said Governor Rick Scott. "It shows that our state is providing the resources that these businesses need to create jobs and to provide Florida families with opportunities."

From MarJam's end, the company's chief counsel, Jim Holiber, pointed out, "We see the potential for business growth for a broad circle of distribution into Mississippi and Alabama and Florida's Gulf Coast."

Before selecting Santa Rosa Beach for its new site, MarJam had considered locations in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. It was the support that Florida provided that led to the state's selection for this expansion.

According to the company, two of Florida's incentive programs aimed at increasing high-skill, high-wage jobs in-state made a difference. MarJam qualified for a $157,000 award from the Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund (IRREF) Grant Program, which is administered by the University of West Florida. Senator Don Gaetz authored S.B. 2156, of which the Oil Spill Recovery Act was an important component. The Act allots $10 million per year for three years to eight Northwest Florida counties for the purposes of research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification and job creation.

"This project fits exactly the purpose of the Oil Spill Recovery Act passed by the Florida Legislature. Marjam brings new jobs that diversify our economy. And there are protections built in to ensure performance and a solid return on investment," said Senator Gaetz.

Separately, the state approved for MarJam a $57,600 Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund during the next three years as an incentive for creating the jobs.

Organizations that were instrumental to facilitating this expansion were Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's chief economic development organization, and the Walton County Economic Development Alliance.

MarJam Supply Company was founded in 1979 in Brooklyn, N.Y with a few thousand dollars in assets. It now operates in 31 sites in 12 states serving the entire U.S. East Coast. The company sells construction materials, such as lumber, masonry, flooring, roofing, siding insulation, tools and wall systems wholesale to the building industry. A dedicated staff of more than 700 professionals is affectionately called "MarJamers."

"This is a great example of a project that is mutually beneficial for our community and the company. Santa Rosa Beach presents geographic advantages for this distribution company, and MarJam will provide new full time, high wage jobs in Walton County that we hope will grow beyond the initial 12," commented Scarlett Phaneuf, executive director of the Walton County Economic Development Alliance.