Economic Downturn Fuels Entrepreneurial Spirit

Earlier in April, a national survey was published ranking Florida second to last in the country in “fiscal happiness,’ ahead of last place Oregon. The news release by said ratings were based on a cross-section of economic factors, including foreclosures and unemployment. No surprises there. This state always seems to be at the epicenter of all the big things that are going on, good and bad.

But this cloud has a silver lining. Entrepreneurs in Florida are making things happen for themselves. Developing real estate is no longer the single engine fueling our prosperity. Adversity has pushed us out of our comfort zone and ignited innovation and creative thinking.

We see examples every day in our office. One client, Marvin Chaney, is completing construction of RoboVault, the first high-tech, robotic self-storage facility of its kind in the world. Using cutting-edge technology and security, he has constructed a building to be impenetrable by theft, the elements and fire. It’s a new product that makes self-storage relevant to a previously untapped affluent market. Need a place to store your Maseratti or wine collection? Then RoboVault is the South Florida storage facility you’re looking for. Another example is Frank McKinney, the daredevil real estate artist and best-selling author who recently completed the most expensive, at $29 million, triple-certified green mansion in the world. Known as Acqua Liana, it’s a one-of-a-kind estate home for the mega-wealthy with an environmental conscience. With its Tahitian design and environmentally conscious features, there’s nothing in the world like this green mansion. At the same time, McKinney continues to raise money for his Caring House Project Foundation, dedicated to building homes and self-sufficiency for the desperately poor in Haiti.

Another client, has used the power and reach of the web to develop a site that attracts more than 750,000 unique visitors each month to preview hundreds of catalogs and find great savings offers from hundreds of merchants. Tampa-based Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea continues to build demand for its superior beverages online as well as in markets such as Publix. Other clients with strong ties to the real estate industry are finding opportunities for future profits in today’s depressed prices.

Floridians might not be the most “fiscally happy” in the nation at the moment, but they’re taking steps toward a better day. The entrepreneurial spirit will continue to burn brightly in this state as long as the sun keeps shining.

Jane Grant, President of Pierson Grant Public Relations