CEP Focus

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 Mestizo Foods had purchased the former Golden Flake facility and would be establishing their headquarters and manufacturing operations here. Mestizo is a private label and third party snack food manufacturer. In other words, you will never see their brand on the store aisle, but you may very well purchase their products when you buy store-label potato chips or other snacks. The company will be adding 200 employees over the next year 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 Mestizo, but it is essential that we work to retain and grow existing employers. Recently, we were able to announce that Cardinal LG had selected Ocala to build a second facility. This new facility will include 300,000 sq. ft. of new construction on a site nearly across the street from their current facility in the Meadowbrook Industrial Park. The company will have at least 50 employees which will complement their 425 employees in their existing facility. Cardinal could have built this facility anywhere and looked at many locations. However, their decision to basically double-down on their Ocala investment speaks volumes to the local business climate.

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 150 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 21 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!