“It’s going to be a good thing for the job market. They would have done better to have opened up two years ago,” Goetsch said. “It would have been easier to get their employees and by now those employees would be experienced and have some loyalty built up to them. What’s going to happen now, since it is Rosemary Beach, it will also compete for employees with Panama City Beach.”
As long as unemployment rates in Gulf, Liberty and Bay counties remain higher than Okaloosa and Walton counties, The Pearl will be able to find the employees it needs easily, Goetsch said.
But if unemployment continues to drop throughout Northwest Florida, The Pearl might end up needing to bus in its employees from Alabama, something several resorts had to do locally before the recession, he said.
Rosemary Beach officials are excited to have the hotel so close to opening and the year-round business it is expected to bring to the area.
“This has been a long time in the making,” said Kathy Kemp, town center director for Rosemary Beach. “I think it’s going to be well worth the wait. They are doing everything top-notch. ... We’re just thrilled to have them here and can’t wait for them to open their doors in July.”
Rosemary Beach currently has one bed and breakfast, the Pensione, several condominiums and about 750 single family residences, about half of which are available for rent.
“I think (The Pearl) will be a great thing for Walton County and Northwest Florida,” said Jim Bagby, town manager for Rosemary Beach. “We’re looking forward to them being active members not only in this community, but in the larger community in South Walton County.”