Three of the key areas on which the CEP focuses to drive our mission is Business Attraction, Business Retention, and Business Creation. Each of these areas is equally important as we seek to be the catalyst for a more prosperous community by serving as the voice of the business community and working to create and retain jobs and provide a return on investment for our partners. Not only are they equally important, but each has had recent successes.

Business Attraction

The CEP was able to officially announce recently that Nice Snacks had purchased a facility in the Ocala International Commerce Park and would be establishing their headquarters and manufacturing operations here. Nice is a private company which bakes healthy snacks. Food manufacturing is one of our five target sectors and they will be a great addition to our community. The company will be adding 25 employees and looks forward to being an active corporate citizen.

Business Retention

Not only is it important for the CEP to attract new primary employers like Nice, but it is essential that we work to retain and grow existing employers. Recently, we were able to announce that RealTruck had selected Ocala to expand its corporate headquarters. This new facility will include 20,000 sq. ft. of new space at the Market Street at Health Brook lifestyle center. The company will be adding nearly 80 new employees which will complement their 250 employees in their existing facilities. These jobs will average $75,000 and will be in areas such as marketing, IT, coding, and finance.

Business Creation

I am very proud of the great work on Business Creation does to assist entrepreneurs with the creation of new businesses. So far this year, our team has met with more than 120 entrepreneurs to help them plan and grow. A few of these entrepreneurs will become residents or affiliates of the Power Plant Business Incubator. This three building complex is an initiative of the CEP and located adjacent to our main facility downtown. The complex is nearing 100% capacity with 23 current residents and affiliates. Our residents generally fall into one of three categories: Technology, Health Care, or Communications. These businesses are a great example of this community’s incredible entrepreneurial spirit.

Attracting new businesses, helping existing businesses grow and expand, and nurturing start-ups are key activities of the CEP as we seek to lead growth that keeps our community Moving Forward!

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