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November 24, 2014

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Florida's Rural Advantages - Good Business Sense

Florida's rural counties provide a skilled workforce and financial advantages.

Gary B. Shepherd | 10/1/2007


The Suwannee River is among many rural sites providing opportunities for ecotourism adventures in Florida. [Photo: RealAdventures]

In Florida’s rural counties, costs are low, the workforce is ready and lifestyles are idyllic. And with strategic business resources close at hand, it’s no wonder many businesses are finding bottom-line success in rural Florida.

Just look at these logistical attributes :

» No business in rural Florida is more than 90 miles from at least one deepwater port.

» No small town in Florida is more than a two-hour drive from at least one major airport.

» From every rural loading dock and workstation, more than 60% of the continental U.S. can be reached via overnight freight.

» The growth of broadband in rural Florida means instant communication is possible between almost any two points on the globe.

Rural Regional Roundup

Target Comes to Town

Target’s first company-owned perishable food distribution center — a 465,000-square-foot facility — is slated to open in August 2008 north of Lake City in Columbia County (North Central region) with 140 jobs initially and plans for at least 100 more. The fully automated, $85-million facility on U.S. 441 near I-75 and I-10 will support Target SuperCenters throughout Florida and Georgia.

Jobs and More Jobs

A massive public works project under way in Hendry County (South Central region) is impacting the area’s workforce in a big way. A $550,000 grant from the South Florida Water Management District is underwriting the cost of training area residents as heavy equipment operators for Everglades restoration work west of LaBelle. By mid-2007, about 200 of the 500 workers the water district anticipates it will need had been trained.

Fueling the Economy

At Cottondale in Jackson County (Northwest region), Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. is building a 300,000-square foot plant to produce environmentally friendly wood pellet fuel for power plants in Europe. The $100-million project will create more than 50 jobs, each paying better than $33,000 per year. A $675,000 state grant helped the county provide the necessary water and sewer facilities; when fully operational, the new plant will be the largest source of taxes in Jackson County.

Tags: North Central, Agriculture, Environment, Business Florida

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