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New, Expanding and Award-Winning Businesses on the Emerald Coast

Loxley, AL

The Kaishan Group will be building an air compressor plant with a capital investment of $11 million. It will open with 62 jobs in a 65,000 SF building. The Loxley plant will be a “beachhead for both North and South America,” according to Keith Schumacher, CEO of Kaishan Compressor USA. The company says it is China’s No. 1 air compressor company and the world’s 3rd largest manufacturer of air compressors.

Milton, FL

Family owned Fabbro Marine Group Inc. has expanded to a new 78,000 SF facility in Santa Rosa County Industrial Park East. The 30-year-old company, which produces Cape Horn fishing boats, outgrew its old facilities and wanted to remain in Milton. VP Tyler Cesar credits their employees for their success.

Mossy Head, FL

Mossy Head Industrial Park, located between US 90 and I-10, has taken off in just the last couple of years. It is 75% developed with big-rig dealer Empire Truck Sales, Southern Tire Mart, 2 large distributors, a motel, 2 fast food enterprises and Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store. The initial building of Love’s spurred the development of the Industrial Park.

Bay County

GKN Aerospace plans to open a parts manufacturing facility at VentureCrossings near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The company will have at least 170 full-time employees by the end of 2020.

Crestview, FL

American Elite Molding has been recognized as the Florida Manufacturer of the Year! American Elite Molding is the leading manufacturer of nylon cable ties that was established in 1998.

Pensacola, FL

VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Inc.’s new $46 million aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility is open at Pensacola International Airport. The company performs these services for passenger and freight airlines. The business will be bringing 400 jobs to Pensacola.


BP Settlement Money Starts Flowing to the Panhandle

Jim Turner, with News Service of Florida, reports the first installment of the BP settlement money will be distributed by Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors. More than $18 million will be given out once terms are negotiated between the local areas receiving funds and the state regarding performance requirements.

On June 12, Triumph Gulf Coast approved the final contract for $10 million to the Port of Panama City to help develop new terminal facilities. In April, it was reported that $1.5 million will go towards water and sewer lines in a new industrial site in North Okaloosa County. $6.75 million will go to career and technical education programs in Wakulla and Escambia counties.

The Port of Panama City, which is receiving additional funds from other programs, will eventually employ 140 additional jobs. This project will also bring another 250 manufacturing and distribution jobs.

This is just the start of an educational and economic boost for the 8 Panhandle counties that will be receiving funds over the next several years!

For more information read:



Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries and Progress Bank Close a Deal in Record Time

Emerald Coast Business Intermediaries was engaged to sell a business that had been listed with a specialty broker for a year. Two months after ECBI listed the business, the business was SOLD!  Using our database of growing contacts, ECBI was able to bring the opportunity to a group of buyers who made an offer that was negotiated and agreed upon.  With the help of Dewayne Youngblood, Market President with Progress Bank, the deal was able to be funded in record time. We appreciate the willingness and professionalism shown by Dewayne and Progress Bank. It is a pleasure dealing with a lender who worked with us in a timely manner to secure funding. We look forward to working with Dewayne and Progress Bank in the future.  If you or anyone you know is looking to sell or buy along the Emerald Coast, remember the team at ECBI.

Florida Grants Give Small Panhandle Communities an Economic Boost

Competitive Florida grants and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity are investing in Florida’s rural communities. The grants span 2 years and help the communities use innovative strategies to promote viable economies, community designs and partnerships. Each community must develop an asset mapping plan first. The cities of DeFuniak Springs, Port St. Joe and Madison along with the town of Century are four of the North Florida communities using the grants for revitalization.

The city of DeFuniak Springs was originally established as a destination resort by railroad businessmen.  DeFuniak Springs will use their funds to hire a consultant to help align land development regulations with a comprehensive plan for projects such as affordable housing, youth activities, city beautification and community engagement. The widening of US Hwy. 331, a main Alabama to Florida corridor, will also help with economic growth for the city.

The city of Port St. Joe’s Port Authority is studying the feasibility of dredging their port channel to 35 feet. This will allow all sizes of modern shipping vessels to use the port. The Competitive Florida grant has allowed Port St. Joe to identify their assets to help redefine the city. Port St. Joe is also becoming the home to newer industries such as biofuel production and conversion of plastic bottles to aviation fuel.

Visit Florida has just named the city of Madison as one of the “Best Little Towns in Florida”. It is the home of North Florida Community College and has an out-campus for St. Leo University. Madison conducted an asset mapping that defined the need for redesigned recreational opportunities and youth development programs. Their grant money developed ideas to enhance and market recreational facilities as well as youth mentoring plans and partnerships.

The town of Century was founded as a sawmill town in 1901. Century is strategically placed between I-65 and I-10 on the Florida-Alabama state line north of Pensacola. The town of Century has a master-planned industrial park. The grants allowed the town to hire an economic development coordinator and they have been able to host workforce training sessions and small business development workshops.

The Competitive Florida grants are allowing rural Florida communities to zero in on their assets (their people, space and low costs of living) and identify the solutions that will be building blocks for their revitalization! Check out the full article below by Tisha Crews Keller:


February 2018 News Sources Continue to Tout Small Business Confidence

CNBC.com, USAToday.com and Bloomberg.com continue to report that small business confidence and optimism is looking strong for 2018! Each ran articles this month detailing the reasons for the optimism that has been gleaned from recent surveys.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Q1 Small Business Confidence Index rose five points from 57 to 62, the largest quarter-to-quarter move and a record high that the index has seen since this survey began measuring last year. This survey was taken after President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.

Business owners’ opinions have risen significantly since 2017’s Q4 survey. As of this quarter, twice as many owners expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than negative effect on their businesses. The survey also found that half of small-business owners are now expecting to see tax cuts in 2018. Confidence rose in most demographic groups, especially in small business companies with 5 to 9 employees, where the owners were ages 35 – 44 and 55 -64.

In a Year-End Economic Report for 2017, the National Small Business Association found that more than half of small-business owners feel the national economy is doing better than it was just six months ago (only 43% felt the same in Dec. 2016, and only 20% at the end of 2015).

USAToday.com recently reported on a survey by the National Small Business Association and ZipRecruiter that surveyed 1,633 business owners. Almost 60% questioned in December and January anticipate that the economy will grow in the next 12 months compared to 45% that anticipated that in July 2017! 53% of the owners said their revenue rose over the last 12 months. That marks the first time in ten years that the majority of owners in this survey reported increases. 30% of owners also reported they had added jobs in the past 12 months.

Bloomberg.com reported Feb. 13 that the National Federation of Independent Business survey for February showed optimism among small U.S. companies rose more than forecast just last month. (A previous survey was reported in last month’s blog.) A record number of owners said now was a good time to expand. NFIB’s William Dunkelberg and Holly Wade reported that the new tax law has “produced the most recent boost to small business optimism…. And federal government-related cost pressures continue to abate, offering a more supportive business climate for small firms.”

For more information, please check the following articles:

CNBC.com article

USAToday.com article

Bloomberg.com article

U.S. Small Business Optimism Highest Since 1983!

According to the Business Insider, the National Federation of Independent Business released a November 2017 survey that showed small business optimism is the highest it has been since the Reagan years. One of the other exciting indexes showed that job creation plans were up 6 points (24% of respondents said that they plan to create new jobs). Juanita Duggan, the FNIB’s president and CEO said, “Small business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth.”

For more information check out:


Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program

The state of Florida has created a non-profit corporation that helps veterans transition to civilian life in Florida. Veterans Florida educates veterans on how to open and run their own businesses. It also links veterans with employers as well as supplying grants to employers that will hire and train veterans.
In the Florida Panhandle, Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program offers tuition-free online and on-campus instruction in the “Lean Startup Method” for veterans at the University of West Florida and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. A veteran must be either honorably discharged, or have one year left of active duty service, or be a current or former member of the National Guard/Reserves. The program also provides veterans with access to business leaders and mentors.
Bobby Carbonell, the executive director of Veterans Florida, says that military service makes veterans uniquely suited to owning and running their own businesses. He adds that veterans have the character traits of initiative, attention to detail and tenacity that will help them succeed in business.
Three veterans, David Glassman, Erick Moody and Christine Yerkes, credit the program with helping them to focus on making their businesses successful. They were able to set goals, build structure, fine-tune business plans and research their markets. The program’s mentors tailor each individual’s program to their specific needs.
For more information on Veterans Florida check veteransflorida.org
For the article, “Veteran Entrepreneurs Victorious in Florida”, 850 Business Magazine, go to http://www.850businessmagazine.com/October-November-2017/Veteran-Entrepreneurs-Victorious-in-Florida/

Could the Emerald Coast be the Next Tech Sector?

Carson Wilber wrote an interesting article, “Northwest Florida is the Next Silicon Valley. Here’s Why”, that discusses the various merits of Pensacola and the Emerald Coast’s technological advances. He discusses 3 main reasons that support the area’s ability to be the next big tech sector.

  1. NW Florida has the highest concentration of military bases in the nation that host research and development of scientific and technological advancements.
  2. Florida has a low corporate tax rate of 5.5% and offers other incentives for new businesses.
  3. The University of West Florida has top school rankings, $20MM in state funding this year and has many accomplished alumni in the defense and aerospace industries.

The University of West Florida’s Innovation Institute, Innovation Campus Network, Center for Entrepreneurship and its Center for Cybersecurity have all gained national recognition in the world of technology and cybersecurity. UWF will begin a “first of its kind” Robotics and Intelligent Systems PhD program. UWF also earned the NSA’s classification as the National Center of Academic Excellence Cybersecurity Regional Resource Center for the SE region of the US.

NW Florida has numerous outreach programs for middle and high school aged students such as the STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The area is also the home to many other nonprofits, including Invictus Knowledge Institute and Innovation Coast as well as a vast array of private businesses that support the Emerald Coast’s advancements in the technological fields.

For more information, please read Mr. Wilber’s article: https:/www.linkedin.com/pulse/northwest-florida-next-silicon-valley-heres-why-carson-wilber/

Entrepreneurship is Back

Hubspot recently produced an interesting video that talks about the resurgence of entrepreneurship. 1/3 of America’s workforce is made up of self-employed people and small business owners. Today, most people no longer “work to live”. Two of the top reasons for their choice of work is personal satisfaction and the chance to change the world. 78% of millenials come from a family that started their own business. For the entire video from Hubspot, click the following link.

A Closer Look at 2017 Q1 Small Business Data

BizbuySell Insight found the sale of small businesses were up 29% from the first quarter of 2016. They also reported that these sold businesses grossed an 8.4% increase in median revenue from 2016 Q1. Median cash flow for these same businesses was also up 6.6% from the year before. These are the highest totals of key financial indicators that BizBuySell has recorded since they began tracking in 2007!

2017 Q1 data shows that the positive trend in the sale of businesses and their increased financials mirror the improving U.S. economy and stock market. According to Bob House, the president of BizBuySell, “A strong supply of attractive listings and qualified buyers, and an administration looking to reduce costs for small businesses should fuel the market over the upcoming months.”

For more information: http://www.bizbuysell.com/news/media_insight.html