Handy Hardware to Build Distribution Facility in Meridian

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sally Williams, Public Relations Bureau Manager 601.359.5052
sawilliams@mississippi.org

Jackson, Miss. (February 13, 2009) – Governor Haley Barbour announced today that Handy Hardware, a member-owned hardware buying group, will open a distribution center in Meridian. The company plans to employ more than 150 people.

Handy will break ground on the distribution facility in the Meridian I-20/59 Industrial Park by mid-2009. The company will invest between $15 million and $20 million in the facility, which is part of its growth plan to serve members in the southeastern United States.

"We are delighted Handy Hardware has decided to locate its new distribution center in Mississippi. We welcome this investment in the Lauderdale County area and the jobs this facility is expected to create," Governor Barbour said.

"Handy Hardware's expansion into Mississippi further confirms the state's value as a key location for distribution," Governor Barbour said. "We appreciate the efforts of the company and our economic development partners in Meridian and Lauderdale County who worked to bring this facility to this area."

Based in Houston, Texas, Handy currently operates from a 560,000-square-foot distribution center. Although the company has not yet finalized its building plans, the new Meridian center is expected to be comparable to the Houston site.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper praised the east-central Mississippi project, which arrives during austere economic times.

Sen. Cochran said, "I am pleased that Handy Hardware has recognized the quality of the workforce in Mississippi and decided to open a new distribution center here. Mississippians should be proud that even in tough economic times, businesses continue to invest in our state."

"Handy Hardware's decision to locate in Meridian will lead to another multi-million dollar investment in Mississippi," Sen. Wicker said. "That is great news for our state's economy, especially during these tough economic times."

"Lauderdale County is a wonderful place to raise a family, and Mississippi is excited about the growth this facility will bring to the community," said Third District U.S. Rep. Harper, whose district includes Meridian.

Handy Hardware is one of only five member-owned hardware buying groups in the country, and the cooperative currently serves more than 1,200 members in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, in addition to retailers in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

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About Mississippi Development Authority
Mississippi Development Authority is the State of Mississippi's lead economic and community development agency. Nearly 300 employees are engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and workers in the state. While the agency is best known for its efforts to recruit new businesses to Mississippi, the Authority provides services to promote tourism, help communities improve their quality of place, help existing employers identify and meet opportunities and challenges and help workers improve their skills – all with the goal of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of Mississippians. For more information, visit MDA's website at www.mississippi.org.