Summer 2015 E-News

Santa Rosa County Sees Increase in Development Activity


houseRecent estimates from the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research anticipate a 9 percent increase in the population of Santa Rosa County over the next five years and permit activity in the development services center supports that estimate.

Between January and May, the county issued 2,737 building permits, a 5 percent increase over the same period last year and a 45 percent increase over the same period in 2012, according to Market Graphics Research Group. An average of 97 new permits were issued each month for single family homes during the first half of 2015, compared to 73 per month between January and June of 2014. Correspondingly, the cost of new construction for that time period is up almost 18 percent.

The county has also seen an increase in new development market share as compared to other counties in the region. In 2011 only 14.32 percent of all permits issued in the eight-county region were issued in Santa Rosa County. By 2014 that number had increased to 17.36 percent and was 18.34 percent for the first five months of 2015. More information about development in Santa Rosa County can be found online at


Ribbon Cuttings and New Companies

Goldring Gulf Distributing 

Goldring Gulf

Goldring Gulf Distributing had a chance to show off their new $18 million, 191,450 square foot beverage distribution facility at the Santa Rosa Industrial Park during their ribbon cutting ceremony May 18. This new facility will combine the Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola facilities. Goldring opened in February and currently employs 220 people and services more than 2,200 retail accounts.

Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included Elliot Maisel, chairman and CEO of Gulf Distributing Holdings LLC; Santa Rosa County Commissioner Don Salter and Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward. Tours of the new facility were also given to those in attendance

Goldring Gulf Distributing, a part of Gulf Distributing Holdings LLC, is a total beverage distributor representing more than 75 different suppliers. Working with the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office, Goldring Gulf Distributing purchased 35 acres in the industrial park in December 2013 for $20,000 per acre. The county's land pricing program is an incentive available for new and expanding industry that offers discounted land pricing on county owned industrial park property.

Goldring Gulf Inside 


Butler Auto Recycling 

Butler Auto Recycling is the newest company to expand to the Santa Rosa County Industrial Park. Butler purchased the former 84 Lumber truss property and plans to expand on their already successful business in Pensacola. Butler will start out with four full time employees and hopes to hire an additional six employees by the end of the year.  

Butler Auto Recycling

Butler's Auto Recycling is a local 38-year-old company, offering quality used automotive parts. The new East Milton location aims to be a hybrid facility offering full service and self service part removal. Unique to this location is the full service removal of major mechanical parts, while also allowing customers self removal of other parts on the vehicles. "We know that the Milton and Pace areas have been growing over the past few years. We felt there was a need in the area that we could fill." says Lance Liles, Operations Manager.           

The 13 acre facility is fully operational and open to the public with a grand opening ceremony planned for the early fall. Plans for the facility include room for up to 1000 vehicles on location and employing a staff of 12-15 employees. Liles says the transition and launch have been a success thanks to the help and cooperation of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office. "We have had a great introduction to the area by the chamber, helping us orchestrate our ribbon cutting ceremony. Tina Stewart with EDO was also helping in answering questions about the area and who to see to get things done."



The STEAM Transformation

SRC School DistrictOur children need a well-rounded, quality education that enables them to make informed decisions that will impact the world and the way they live. We need students who are motivated and competent in bringing forth solutions to tomorrow's problems. The Santa Rosa County School District is embarking on an exciting STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math, transformation in 20 different schools over the next several years.  This event will create a culture of STEAM among participating schools which will spread throughout the district.  

On June 30, business, industry, government and post secondary partners joined with the Santa Rosa County School District STEAM Leadership at a retreat to build an inspiring STEAM vision for our community. Together they examined STEAM jobs, participated in hands-on STEAM activities and begin to map Santa Rosa County School District's STEAM journey. This retreat was led by Dr. Cindy Moss who is known internationally for transforming teaching and learning with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics focus. Arts is a necessary adjunct to STEAM "by connecting the dots" for all constituents. Principals from participating schools will be training in July. A team of 80 teachers will begin training for this transformation when school starts. A community launch event is being planned for September.

The future of our economy rests on its ability to be a leader in the innovation that will be essential in creating the new industries and jobs that will be the heart of our new economy.

For more information on this STEAM transformation, contact Karen Barber at Santa Rosa District Schools at 


Tourism is Making an Impact in Santa Rosa County


Tourism in Santa Rosa County is flourishing this summer. Our peak season is Memorial Day to Labor  Day and visitors have been enjoying all the unique experiences Santa Rosa County has to offer. Our bed tax numbers for May are up 43 percent over the previous year. Restaurants are reporting that this is one of their busiest seasons they have seen in years. Hotels, vacation rental companies and RV parks are all reporting positive occupancy numbers throughout the county. The Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office has launched a new, more integrated website and a new official vacation guide for Santa Rosa County highlighting the Florida's Playground Trail, 12 points of attractions and locations only found here in Florida's Playground.

tourism Also starting is our fall campaign kick-off for the popular Beaches to Woodlands Tour that brings in thousands of visitors. This self-guided tour, sponsored by the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, encompasses more than three dozen diverse events staged in October each year. Events range from "fun on the farm" activities and eco-education to historical lectures and re-enactments to festivals celebrating the season, active events ranging from beach volleyball, ziplining through nature to 5k runs and walks to cycling; arts and culture that celebrate native artisans; marine life education for all ages, fishing, snorkeling and everyone's favorite - the annual migration of the Monarch butterflies.


Leadership Santa Rosa Business and Industry Day


Leadership Santa Rosa Class 29 held their Business and Industry Day on June 18. Tours of Ropella, the Bay Area Food Bank, TPR and Goldring gave them the opportunity to see the wide range of industries that call Santa Rosa County home. They later visited Avalex in Gulf Breeze and received an update from AppRiver then returned to the economic development office to hear about workforce development from Charlin Knight, Director of Workforce Education for Santa Rosa County District Schools, regionalism from Nathan Sparks, Executive Director of Okaloosa EDC and Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa EDO director and economic development basics from Cliff Krut of Gulf Power.  

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