Matt Mahrou was sitting in his Los Angeles office, mulling expansion plans for his LED light distribution company when the phone rang.
Mahrou, founder of Parmida LED Technologies, answered the call.
On the other end was a representative from Delta Strong, the economic development wing of Delta Council.
Mahrou, along with his son Peyman and daughter Parmida “Parm” had already initially explored the possibility of opening a new distribution center to service the eastern and central portion of the United States.
Until that call, all of the prospects had been underwhelming, according to Peyman Mahrou, who spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Parmida’s new 100,000-square-foot Indianola distribution center on Monday.
“It was just by happenstance that it was the right timing,” he said. “We were, for a few months, seriously considering a new facility for our east coast and central customers. We were exploring opportunities.”
The younger executive said the company received a lot of automated emails from economic development agencies throughout the country.
Even the phone conversations with potential sites were not that personal.
“We were speaking with real people, but they felt like robocalls, scripted almost,” he said.
That was until Delta Council called.
The organization wanted to fly a representative to Los Angeles to present the case for doing business in the Delta.
“I said okay, I’ll give them a chance,” Matt Mahrou said. “They came to California…This is the way you do business. You have to take care of your customer.”
Needless to say, Mahrou was impressed with the presentation, and he made plans to visit the state and the region.
“Without Delta Strong and their initial contact, we would not have been exposed to any of these initial opportunities,” said Peyman Mahrou.
The family detailed that first tour during Monday’s ceremony.
Delta Strong not only presented a region with a business-friendly environment, it also gave Parmida the opportunity to choose its site out of over a dozen counties.
The organization did not try to steer them toward any one county, they said.
“What was important was that along the way, we were given options,” Peyman Mahrou said.
Before long, the Mahrou family was developing personal relationships with people in the Delta.
“I came across individuals who genuinely cared about their communities and wanted success for their communities,” Peyman Mahrou said. “There was no surface level façade. It was genuine.”
And it was Sunflower County that was picked, based on the merits from the case for business that was presented to the company.
“The county’s reps made a really strong effort for us to be here, stronger than any other county,” Peyman Mahrou said. “They insisted that nothing would get in the way of us reaching our goal…It was one of the best decisions we ever made.”
Matt Mahrou said that Delta Strong and all of those involved in the recruitment have kept their word and have worked with the company along the way, even providing a temporary site in Greenwood while the main site in Indianola was renovated over the past two years.
“They are all problem solving for us,” he said. “This is very important to me.”
The elder Mahrou also said he has been impressed with Mississippi’s culture as a whole.
“We visited many different offices from many different states, but here was special for us, because we loved the people,” he said. “The people, they keep their word. The people, they love their country. They love their community. That’s very important to me.”
He said that many of his friends in business have asked him why he chose Mississippi for this distribution center.
He tells them about the hospitality, the inexpensive climate, and most importantly, that he can trust the people here.
“What else do you want for your business?” he said.
Now that he has gotten a taste of Mississippi’s sense of community, Matt Mahrou said he wants his company to be as much a part of that as any other.
“Count us as your community,” he said. “We’re here, and we’re supporting this community, no other one…God willing, we are going to grow here.”