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May 26, 2018

2012 Economic Yearbook

Southwest Florida Economic Indicators

Amy Keller | 4/9/2012

Manufacturing shows promise in Sarasota and Bradenton while strong job growth and a declining inventory of homes for sale provide a ‘flicker of light’ in Naples.

Southwest Florida

Sarasota/Sarasota County

Issues to Watch

» Local merchants have been squaring off with the city over an ambitious improvement project to make Main Street more pedestrian-friendly. A major point of contention: The city's plan to convert a number of angled parking spaces to parallel spots to allow for the widening of sidewalks. While several restaurants favor the change because it would create space for outdoor dining, a number of shop owners have objected, saying the resulting decrease in parking spots would hurt their businesses.

What's Hot

Sam Shake
Sam Shake is president and CEO of BioLife, maker of WoundSeal. The company is expanding beyond Florida. [Photo: Mark Wemple]
» Life Sciences and Health: Enzymedica, which manufactures enzyme supplements to improve health, is relocating its manufacturing plant from Port Charlotte to Venice. The move will create 72 jobs with an average annual wage of $41,460. BioLife, a private company that manufactures a topical powder called WoundSeal that stops bleeding instantly, has expanded its distribution beyond Florida. Its product is now on shelves in Walgreens in Arizona and New Mexico and is being test-marketed in other states. Rapid Pathogen Screening, a Lakewood Ranch-based company that makes diagnostic test kits for viral conjunctivitis and other illnesses, is also on a growth trajectory. The company plans to hire nearly 200 employees over the next several years as other tests in its development pipeline receive FDA approval.

» Manufacturing: Tervis Tumbler, a manufacturer of insulated cups, has more than tripled its revenue and workforce over the past three years. The company secured licensing agreements with Disney and professional sports leagues such as the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL and doubled its production capacity last year. Sun Hydraulics is planning a $16-million expansion that will include 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 16,000 square feet of additional office space. The company designs and makes high-performance hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds.

What's Not

» Community banks: While the pace of bank failures has slowed considerably, undercapitalized community banks are struggling. Sarasota's Sabal Palm ended 2011 with a net loss of $490,000, and Bradenton-based First America reported a 2011 net loss of $3.1 million. The Bank of Commerce in Sarasota reported the largest loss at $8.12 million. Bauer Financial gave the Bank of Commerce zero stars, the lowest rating for financial health.

Businesses to Watch

» FCCI Insurance: The Sarasota property and casualty insurer, which ranks 51st among private companies in Florida Trend's ranking of companies based on revenue, is expanding into Maryland and Texas this year and has also applied for licenses in Louisiana and Arkansas.

» Sunovia Energy Technologies: After failing to get a foothold in the solar industry, Sunovia has shifted its focus to producing LED lighting. Erich Hofer, a Sunovia board member, has replaced Art Buckland as CEO following Buckland's ouster in January, and the company has hired VM5 Ventures, a lighting industry consulting firm, to help the company build its brand and presence in the lighting industry.

People to Watch

Jesse Biter
Software entrepreneur Jesse Biter is recruiting high-end tenants for retail space he's purchased in downtown Sarasota. [Photo: Rachel S. O'Hara/The Sarasota Observer]

» Jesse Biter: The software entrepreneur has big plans for downtown Sarasota. The 35-year-old millionaire is purchasing 11,000 square feet of retail space along Palm Avenue and is recruiting high-end tenants that will stay open late and, he hopes, create a bustling nightlife. He also purchased the old Century Bank building in downtown Sarasota from the FDIC and is rehabbing it to serve as an incubator for technology startups. On the political front, Biter is serving as state director for Rick Santorum's campaign for president.

» Randall Reid: The new county administrator, who held the same position in Alachua County for 12 years, replaces Jim Ley, who resigned in May following revelations of widespread problems in the way the county handled contracts.

» Jeanne Corcoran: The director of the Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office since 2007 has helped to invigorate Sarasota's boutique film industry. Under Corcoran's leadership, the county has attracted film projects that have generated close to $9 million in direct spending over the past 4½ years.

Sarasota Population: 388,356
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 0.73%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
12.52% 4.75% 16.99% 33.60% 32.14%
Per Capita Income: $58,916

MSA Dec. 2011 Dec. 2010 % Change Jobless Rate
Bradenton/Sarasota/North Port 269,913 266,823 +1.2% 9.8%
Cape Coral/Fort Myers 243,805 241,175 +1.1% 10.2%
Naples/Marco Island 129,546 129,632 -.07% 9.5%
Punta Gorda 62,636 61,424 +2.0% 10.0%
Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation

Homes - Single-family, existing-home sales
MSA 2011 Sales 1-Year Change 2011 Price 1-Year Change
Fort Myers/Cape Coral 14,134 -7% $107,100 +15%
Punta Gorda 3,231 +5% $97,500 -2%
Sarasota/Bradenton 10,901 +8% $152,000 -4%
Source: Florida Realtors; year-end sales, median price

Sarasota County Consumer Bankruptcies
2010 2011 Change
2,233 1,567 -29.8%
Source: National Bankruptcy Research Center

Tags: Southwest

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