Indian River County Offers Best of Lifestyle and Business Worlds
Average temperatures in the mid-70’s and reliably sunny skies sound pretty good right about now, as much of the country endures dark skies and frigid air. Access to the Atlantic Ocean adds extra shine, as does a river that invites evening strolls as the atmosphere dips into the comfortable 60’s.
But where can one find such a destination? One that hasn’t been discovered, and still relatively free of traffic snarls and noisy clutter?
Indian River County is one such place; a Florida community offering unfettered access to beachfront and riverside, commutes of under 20 minutes and a laidback urban core of chef-owned restaurants, regional arts and local stores. The business community is equally vibrant. This is a manufacturing and distribution capitol Piper Aircraft is based here – that provides a business-friendly environment in which to establish or relocate a company, with plenty of room to grow.
The cities of Vero Beach, Fellsmere and Sebastian provide a robust arts and recreation community for residents and visitors alike. A coastal village at heart, Vero Beach features kayaking and cycling shops, miles of trails and a quaint downtown brimming with boutiques, galleries and cafes. Ballet Vero Beach, multiple theaters including the Vero Beach Opera and the renowned Vero Beach Museum of Art all attest to the area’s cultural sophistication.
Agricultural Fellsmere offers access to the 29,000-acre Blue Cypress Lake and its 21 miles of coastline recreation. The Sebastian Inlet is home to many of Florida’s finest sport fishing operators. Together, these three towns provide large city amenities without any of the hassle, which is one of many reasons the area has grown steadily since 2010.
“Indian River County is open for business and we’re getting that message out,” explained Helene Caseltine, Economic Development Director at the Chamber of Commerce in a recent article outlining the 2016–17 annual report. The county increased its financial commitment as well, contributing $171,000 to the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Office this past year.
Located 70 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center and an hour’s drive north of West Palm Beach, it’s no surprise Indian River County is attracting new businesses and residents. The county’s economic diversity has few national peers, with a landscape of sustained agricultural practice as well as being home to numerous forward-thinking industries such as aviation and aquaculture. High-tech and specialized healthcare companies continue to thrive here, drawn to the vibrant arts culture, 26 miles of accessible beach, and what is recognized as one of most favorable tax structures in the entire U.S.
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With almost 65,000 highly skilled employees inside the county and a potential labor force of over 650,000 people within 50 miles, one shouldn’t be surprised that such companies as Piper Aircraft and CVS Pharmacy employ hundreds at their key facilities. Thousands more work in healthcare, drawn to innovative health-related services including Medical Data Systems, Indian River Medical Center and the Visiting Nurse Association, among others.
From Piper Aircraft to Triton Submarine, Indian River County has become a manufacturing hub on the Atlantic Coast. Ease of transportation, distribution and supply chain networks combine with very competitive facility market rates ($3–$6 per square foot) and an amenable 12-month climate. The tax rates, or lack thereof, are equally appealing. The county has no corporate income tax, no inventory tax, and manufacturers pay no sales tax on new equipment. What it does have is a roster of local and state business incentives, and property taxes that are among the lowest in the state.
“Vero Beach is just a great place to live, play and work,” observes Scott Cooley, co-owner of Nylacarb, a custom plastic injection molding company that has called the region home for more than a quarter of a century.
Indian River County’s cultural, environmental and recreational attractions are drawing environmental professionals, engineers and scientists to the Atlantic coast of Florida. The region has become an epicenter for coastal engineering services such as Coastal Tech G.E.C. Inc. and Coastal Waterways Design & Engineering. Kimley-Horn & Associates, one of Florida’s largest environmental engineering firms, also calls the county home.
Where we live is about more than just our job these days, given how often we change employers and change location. A region simply must offer an outstanding lifestyle in the current competitive market for highly-skilled and educated professionals. The growth in local engineering firms is a clear sign that both employers and educated professionals are attracted to the idea of relocating to Vero Beach and environs. Graduates of Florida Institute of Technology and Indian River State College, both of which offer significant STEM programs, add a homegrown dimension to the region.
Indian River County’s central location makes the region an ideal location for distribution centers, especially when one considers the low market rates for facilities and the appealing tax structure. CVS Pharmacy alone employs more than 300 workers in its warehouse and distribution facility.
Indian River citrus has long been synonymous with the finest fruit in America. Companies including Sun Ag, Inc., Premier Citrus and Riverfront Groves thrive here, producing, among other citrus, the second-highest volume of grapefruits in the nation.
Aquaculture continues to expand in the region. This growth industry shows no signs of slowing as our population expands and the need for healthy protein and nutrients increases. Indian River County is ranked 13th in the U.S. for employment in agricultural services, an especially impressive statistic considering the diversity of the county’s economic categories.
Perhaps no other industry’s growth reflects the quality of local life better than specialty healthcare. These institutions and research facilities must attract the best talent in order to thrive — professionals who enjoy many choices when deciding where to call home and establish their careers. The growth in its specialty healthcare facilities is evidence of the region’s offerings. The Indian River Medical Center employs over 1,500 people, which is more than any other operation in the area.
Many factors can cause economic development to ebb and flow. Attracting new companies and employees can be most demanding during robust economic growth. Individuals, be they C-Level or hourly employees, have the privilege to consider many factors beyond the paycheck. In this climate, it remains rare to discover a region that offers a rich cultural and lifestyle menu as well as a highly favorable business climate. Indian River County, located in a gorgeous region, filled with culture and engaged in sharing its largess with new industries, is one such destination.