BONIFAY - If you've passed the industrial park on Highway 90, you've probably noticed the construction of a new building next to the old Paradigm Plastics building. A relatively young company is soon to move in.

The Yaupon Wellness Company, Inc., out of Savannah, Georgia, is preparing to operate out of the new facility. The 5,500 new structure, located at 3371 Highway 90 East, will become the home for the company's manufacturing and processing for its yaupon tea and other related products.

"After four years of background work ... I believe 2019 is going to be the year for Holmes County and this business is the first that has officially signed to locate their business in our industrial park," said Holmes County Development Commission Executive Director Raymon Thomas, noting the adjacent building currently has a signed contract to be sold.

The expects to hire 12 to 15 employees.

HCDC is building the structure for the Yaupon Wellness Company at a cost of $200,000 - or a little less - Thomas noted. The commission has also secured an additional $95,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture through a rural business grant for manufacturing equipment to be used specifically for the company, which had requested in a March 28, 2018 letter.

"Our company wishes to expand our business by developing and operating a new facility in Holmes County, Florida," Yaupon Wellness Company, Inc. Lou Thomann wrote in a letter to the commission. "Although we will be maintaining our current operation in Savannah, we expect Holmes County to play a major role in our growth plans."

Thomann also noted that the location works well since Holmes County has an "abundance of the wild yaupon plants in the timber and forests."

The leasing agreement is for 10 years, Thomas said, noting the company had originally been scheduled to move in by May 1, but, with the construction of a new building, has been delayed. It was not immediately disclosed how much the leasing contract was for.

Still, HCDC board member George Robertson, is excited to see new companies finding Holmes County as a suitable location for business.

"This is like an open door to get things moving at the industrial park. We now have two or three (prospects) coming in there because somebody has started it," Robertson said. "I think it's going to mean a great deal for our industrial park and that, of course, is going to be good for the county."