September 2, 2014

community portrait

Daytona Beach & Volusia County

More than just gathering data, we're trying to capture elements that make each community distinctive.

Strength & Weaknesses

» Why I Live Here

When I was 2, in 1939, my father moved our family from Orlando to Daytona Beach. It was the beginning of a 70-year (so far) journey of growing up and being involved in and with the changing face of the Daytona Beach area. Over the years I have been asked why our family lives in Daytona Beach. The short answer is “because that’s where we live.”

Upon reflection and consideration of that question a montage of thoughts crossed my mind. Our area has a broad range of cultural, recreational, educational and climatic diversity, all of which create a great place to rear a family, to be in business and to enjoy life.

We have the advantage of cool northeast Florida winters that are suitable enough for sweaters and jackets and on-shore breezes during the warmer months
making the east coast of Volusia County quite pleasant.

Year-round water sports and aquatic wildlife are unequalled with the best bathing beach in the world and unlimited access to the Halifax River and its tributaries, including the Tomoka River and Spruce Creek. In addition to an excellent public school system, Volusia County is home to four outstanding universities: Stetson, Embry-Riddle, Bethune-Cookman, and Daytona State College. Events at these institutions, which are open to the public, create wonderful educational, cultural and athletic venues for all.

Event diversity has been a hallmark of our area. The London Symphony Orchestra selected Daytona Beach as its “official summer home” and has performed here biannually for many years. Motor sports, such as the world-renowned Daytona 500, attract enthusiasts from all over the world. Tourism, both summer and winter, continues to bring in new people and ideas thereby broadening the horizons for our citizens.

My family has been part of the same community for all of my young and adult life, which has been a great privilege. My wife of 44 years, Cici, and I have a multitude of fond memories of Daytona Beach, and the past is only prologue.

J. Hyatt Brown
Chairman and CEO,
Brown & Brown


» Why I Live Here

I moved to Volusia County from Hillsborough County for the small-town charm and slower pace of life. I fell in love with the Cape Cod-like charm of New Smyrna Beach. My daily commute takes me along Riverside Drive, where on any given day I’ll see dolphins, pelicans, manatees and wild bunnies along with the sailboats moored in the river. We don’t have to consider the “time of day” traffic as in big cities, but we do have to consider whether the drawbridge is up on the North Causeway to choose our route to and from the mainland. I miss the good Cuban food in Ybor City, but I’ll live longer without the stress of metro living.

Judi Carter
New Smyrna Beach


» Competitor’s View

Florida Trend asked an economic development professional in a market that competes with Volusia County to anonymously assess the city’s economic image:

“Volusia County appears to the outside world as the traditional Florida model of a city built on tourism and lacking diversity of business. It still maintains the spring break, sports car, unsophisticated image that is a deterrent to attracting progressive business opportunities. Most major Florida cities do not see Volusia as a competitor for prospects.

Location is a plus and minus. It anchors the east end of the I-4 corridor, is off I-95 and close to Cape Canaveral. It has an international airport and is not too far from Orlando’s major airport. But making the case as a serious business location is the greatest challenge.”

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Florida Trend Video Pick

Disney's Hoop-Dee-Doo still serving up laughs, dinner after 40 years
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The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will mark its 40th anniversary this week after more than 37,000 dinner-show performances at Pioneer Hall, tucked away in Disney's Fort Wilderness campground.

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