Floral supplies business expanding to Stoddard County

Friday, March 15, 2002

Will locate in former Brown Shoe Co. building

Business Today

BERNIE - Stan Morris, managing director of Distributor Services LLC, has announced that the Piggott, Ark.-based business would be expanding to Bernie.

Distributor Services LLC sells and supplies products to the floral industry in the retail and mass markets.

"We supply floral accessories such as mylar balloons, containers, plush animals, baskets, candy and silk flowers," Morris said.

Choosing Bernie as the site for the company's expansion wasn't an automatic decision.

"I've driven through Bernie all my life," Morris said. "It wasn't until I got to looking around and met the people that I became sold on the location. What I saw was an aggressive town. I gauged it by its appearance -- it's one of the neatest I've seen."

He acknowledged the willingness of the town leaders "to bend over backwards to make us feel welcome" and expressed amazement at what they accomplished in a short time.

"Usually something like this takes a year and a half. They put it together in three months," Morris said.

Among those involved were Mayor Willard Adams, Ron Beaird and Rick Kennedy of Bernie Development, Stoddard County Industrial Development coordinator Gary Capps and the Industrial Development Authority, the USDA Rural Development office in Dexter, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission and Rod Green of First Community Bank in Bernie.

Morris said 40 to 60 jobs will be in place at the new facility within 30 days of occupying the building. A move-in date has not yet been set. He said many of the current employees are transferring to the Bernie area. However, approximately 20 new jobs also will need to be filled.

One of the reasons Bernie was selected for his company's expansion, said Morris, was the availability of new, fresh telemarketing personnel. "There are more people available here than in Piggott - it's a better job pool," Morris said. He noted the common perception of telemarketing isn't exactly what his employees do.

He explained they are the people who keep in contact with representatives in the field. It's not calling house-to-house, he added.

By the end of the first year, Morris thinks the company will have 97 employees at the Bernie facility and 200 after five years.

"In the first year here, we will be growing four to five times our current size," Morris said. His wife, Lisa, started the business eight years ago in the basement of their home, said Morris.

Distributor Services is one of the fastest growing distributorships in the United States, according to Morris.

According to sales manager Jack Evans, the company is expanding to include packing and shipping services for other companies. A candy product line also is being developed.

Bernie Development had previously purchased the building from Paramount Cap Co. in anticipation of enticing a business to occupy the long-empty facility.

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