FREEPORT, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Walton County is known for tourism, but a new kind of business is coming to Freeport.
American Metal Bearing Company, a defense contractor, will move its headquarters from California to Freeport.
Company CEO Michael Litton said the company has been keen to expand its presence for years.
However, high costs, coupled with supply chain issues, did not help.
“There are certain impacts that are happening in the state we’re in,” Litton said. “It comes down to taxation, the placement of our clients, the ability to expand our position in California. We sit on a small two-acre lot, so we can’t expand.
The cross-country expansion in Freeport, however, will provide more opportunities not only for the company but also for the city.
“We know that with the growth that we’re experiencing with the city of Freeport, with this type of business moving here, it just opens a lot of doors for our area,” City Manager Charlie Simmons said.
Simmons said exposing a STEM-based industry to students would also be helpful.
“We’ve all been used to tourism here in Walton County, and it brings a different element of jobs, engineering, physics, just a whole different element that we could start supporting some of our kids going to school.”
Although the company is small, Litton said it offers a lot to its employees.
“We try to pay the highest salaries possible,” Litton said. “We like to put the best to work.”
Employees also have the opportunity to move up the ladder.
“We’ve had people move up in our business,” Litton said. “They started out as janitors and now they’re some of our best machinists.”
Affordability, scenic views and ease of travel are things Litton also promotes.
The company is expected to open its Freeport site within the next 1.5 years.
Some employees at the California site will move to Freeport, while others will remain.
Litton said they were looking to hire 15 employees.
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