AN ENTREPRENEURIAL STARTUP SUCCESS STORY
Port City Industrial is a full-service material-handling equipment supplier. Pictured from left to right are JP Green, Vince McKeough, Michal Weaver, Nick Nichols, Avis Corley, Bill Willey, Amy Maxwell, Austin Vaughn, Dylan Ragland, Mike Weaver, Ronald Whitt, Jamie Tapia, Phil Cupitt, Hays Tapia and Jad Pope. Photo by Mike Dumas
Like a good marriage, a successful business requires constant and respectful communication, determination
and commitment to a variety of shared goals. Jamie and Hays Tapia are the living embodiment of these principles, having applied them not only to their budding family, but also to their company, Port City Industrial.
The full-service material-handling equipment supplier is the Mobile Area Chamber’s Small Business of the Month. Although Jamie, the company’s president, describes Port City as a niche business, it has a broad reach in the Mobile Bay area’s growing industrial landscape and that of the greater Gulf Coast. “We really are a one-stop shop for warehouse supplies and equipment,” she said. “It starts with commercial overhead doors and loading dock equipment and goes to pallet racking and high-speed fans and conveyors, down to stretch film and trapping and tape.”
Hays worked in distribution for the better part of two decades. When he and Jamie wed, the two leaned on the lessons each were taught growing up – primarily that it usually works out better if you’re the one to sign your own paychecks. So they created Port City Industrial as a part-time concern. As they got more and more experienced at the helm – Hays is the company’s vice president and head of sales – they saw a huge opportunity in selling used equipment. “No one was doing that,” Jamie said.
They started liquidating warehouses that were going out of business, listing the surplus items on various sale forums and groups. That was the market disruptor the pair was looking for, so they jumped in with both feet in 2015 and led the company full-time.
Port City Industrial grew steadily from that point, and by 2019 it had nine employees. The Tapias saved costs by operating a warehouse only, while Jamie ran the business office from a desk at the Container Yard coworking space in downtown Mobile. Looking to transform the business, she applied for and was accepted to the Chamber’s custom executive enterpreneurial training program, Roadmap for Growth.
“We were an entrepreneurial startup that needed to make the transition to a professionally managed company,” Jamie said.
That’s exactly what happened, and Port City Industrial became a company that can operate autonomously and scale to any client’s needs – including major clients like MTC Logistics, the $58 million distribution facility at the Port of Mobile, opening later this month.
COMPANY NAME: Port City Industrial
OWNER: Jamie and Hays Tapia
Want to be featured as a Mobile Area Chamber Small Business of the Month? Go to mobilechamber.com to submit an application online, or contact Danette Richards or 251.431.8652 for questions and/or additional information.
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.