MILTON — In 2013, when Goldring Gulf Distributing was negotiating with Santa Rosa County to purchase 35 acres in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park, they agreed to hire at least 50 employees and spend a minimum of $10 million on new construction at the park.
Since that time, Goldring Gulf has greatly exceeded those requirements and continues to thrive in East Milton.
Goldring Gulf Distributing built and moved into their new distribution center at 8245 Opportunity Drive at the Santa Rosa Industrial Park in 2014. By all accounts, it was a successful transition for the company and Santa Rosa County.
"We are distributing the same amount of product out of Milton (alone) as our Montgomery and Mobile distribution centers combined," said Mike Johnson, general manager of the Milton center.
Location and incentives, especially the price of acreage at the industrial park, was critical in Goldring Gulf Distributing deciding to expand to Milton.
"I10 is right there, get in the truck and go," Johnson said.
Shannon Ogletree, director of the Santa Rosa Economic Development Office, estimates that negotiations started with Goldring about nine years ago. Ogletree and his office were instrumental in getting the company to the industrial park.
They negotiated until 2013 when they started commercial development talks, according to county permit records.
Working with the EDO, the county offered Goldring 35 acres for $20,000 per acre if they could meet the requirements of hiring 50 employees locally and spending at least $10 million in capital improvements.
Goldring's actual capital investment came in at $15 million and they staff 240 people at peak season. The average wage at Goldring Gulf Distributing is $35,675.
"They exceeded our expectations," Ogletree said. "They are a good corporate citizen and I'm excited that they are here."
Goldring Gulf Distributing consolidated their Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola distribution sites when they built the 191,000-square-foot facility at the industrial park. Goldring also had a distribution center in Panama City that was destroyed by Hurricane Michael, Johnson said. Goldring owns the land in Panama City and they currently have a small office there that does administration work.
Johnson said the Milton facility was built with expansion in mind. The current building can have a back wall removed and they can build an exact duplicate of their current facility to connect to the original building, doubling its size.
"We built this facility to get us through the next 10 years," Johnson said.
The Goldring Gulf Distributing is a complete beverage distributor representing such companies as the Miller Coors Brewing Company, Heineken, Corona, Guinness, Red Bull , 7-UP and Snapple, among many others. The company covers the Florida Panhandle including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, Washington, Calhoun, Jackson and Gulf counties.
Or as Johnson puts it, “We distribute from the state line to the time line.”