Fabbro Marine, local manufacturer of the world-renowned Cape Horn offshore boats, will break ground July 27 on their new facility at Santa Rosa Industrial Park East, becoming the first company to build on one of Gulf Power's Florida First Sites.
After 20 years of successful operations in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park, Fabbro Marine has outgrown their current facility. With options to either move operations - and jobs - outside the area, or find a larger property in Santa Rosa County, they reached out to the county's Economic Development Office (EDO) in December 2015 for site selection assistance. Shannon Ogletree, EDO director, recognized the company was a perfect fit for Florida First Sites in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park East, the first regional site certification program to develop project-ready industrial sites.
"Each Florida First Site has undergone a rigorous screening process to ensure it is ready for development and all pre-work has been completed," said Ogletree. "This takes the majority of the risk out of the site selection process. We are pleased to keep Cape Horn boats in Santa Rosa County as the 'anchor' in our industrial park and excited about their expansion."
The Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners accepted Fabbro's bid for 20 acres, which includes 10 additional acres for future expansion. Fabbro recently closed on the property and construction of the 78,000 square foot facility - a combined investment of $4 million - will begin soon with completion expected in January 2017. The company, currently employing 30 technicians with wages of 115 percent of the local area, expects to hire 10 additional workers within the next three years.
"Florida First Sites has allowed northwest Florida to be a more competitive player in site selection decisions," said Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO. "We're not only celebrating new jobs and investment in Santa Rosa County, but also the first success story of this site certification program."
Fabbro Marine Group, Inc. is a family-owned and operated Florida-based boat builder launched decades ago by Chris Fabbro and his father Bob Fabbro, who recognized the need for a unique, high quality, high strength boat that could meet the demands of hardcore fishermen while remaining the best value on the market. The Fabbro family philosophy is "nothing brings a family together quite like boating," so they set out to build a boat for both fishing and family outings. With that in mind, the Cape Horn 16 Classic was designed. As more models were introduced, the company expanded into the Santa Rosa Industrial Park.
After 30 years, the tradition of family and fishing continues. Their legacy lives on with a lineup considered the preeminent fishing boat company in Florida. From laying fiberglass to rigging the engines, each boat is still personally inspected and reviewed by Cape Horn's president, Chris Fabbro, who ensures the family's high standards of quality are maintained.