Officials from Grayson County and the city of Sherman gathered with representatives from the J.P. Hart Lumber Co. Thursday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by the Sherman Economic Development Corp. for the company’s planned $6.5 million-plus facility

As part of his welcome to J.P. Hart, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said he’s hopeful the company’s investment in the area will continue.

“This company shares the values of Grayson County — they are our kind of people,” Magers said of the family-owned, building-materials company. “It’s a $6 million initial investment, and I say initial because they’re going to be successful and roll with some other stuff.”

Dallas Division President Duane Sanders said the door is open for continued expansion beyond the company’s initial planned investment of a $5.5 million to $6.5 million facility that will bring up to 37 new jobs. Sanders said it depends on how quickly the company is able to staff and grow the facility, but the current plans have already surpassed that $6.5 million level.

The SEDCO board approved a $510,000 incentive agreement for J.P. Hart in June and the company closed on its purchase of 30 acres along Progress Drive in July, but the two entities have been working on plans for the expansion since November 2015.

Sanders said on his first trip up to Sherman, he wasn’t initially able to connect with SEDCO President John Plotnik in person. He looked at sites in the city’s Progress Park and was about to head back to Dallas to view another site when he called Plotnik.

“I called him and said, ‘I’ve seen what I need to see, just email me what you’ve got (available),’” Sanders said. “And he would not take no for an answer. And this is a true story, he ran me down on the access road of Highway 75 right in front of Kaiser Aluminum. And I pulled over and we looked at what he had to show me on the hood of his car.”

Sanders said about a month later, he returned to Sherman and SEDCO staff brought him around to look at several area sites and meet with a number of local leaders.

“Just that day and visiting with different people around Sherman and their excitement about the growth, really helped bring it all together that this is the place we needed to be with Hart Lumber and to help support the growth of Sherman and the surrounding areas,” Sanders said.

Sherman Mayor David Plyler, who’s company Plyler Construction is doing the actual building work on the facility, also spoke at the groundbreaking and said J.P. Hart’s decision to open a facility in Sherman will bring value to the city’s residents.

“Through the investment this company has chosen to make in Sherman, our tax base will grow, Progress Park will add another great tenant and, critically, 40 Shermanites will have the opportunity to get good paying jobs doing something they love,” Plyler said. “With companies like J.P. Hart coming to town, it helps to ensure that 2017 will be another great year of economic success for our beautiful growing city. We hope to make this a profitable pro-business place for your company to expand and grow in the future.”

Plyler said he expects work on the J.P. Hart facility to be completed by the early fall of this year.

Headquartered in San Antonio, J.P. Hart provides building materials and supplies for residential and commercial building work throughout Texas. The new facility in Sherman will be J.P. Hart’s sixth plant in Texas as it currently serves the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Rio Grande Valley areas.

SEDCO’s incentive agreement with J.P. Hart went into effect Aug. 1 and the first incentive payment will be made once the company begins operations in Sherman.

“We’re just excited about being here in Sherman, excited about being a part of the Sherman community in the near future and helping facilitate the future growth of this area and North Texas,” Sanders said.