In the late 19th century, Chipley became a key stop along the railroad. Residents in the county seat of Washington County have long promoted a strong infrastructure system of rail, interstate and short access to Port Panama City -- important components to lure an auto supply company.
By the end of the decade, four-laning of Highway 79 from the coast to the stateline is expected. Holmes County Chamber of Commerce Director Jyl Eickmann said the community could well serve an auto supply industry.
In addition, business officials hope to lobby Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to use his influence in the White House to help lure foreign auto suppliers.