Vice president, Halfacre Construction
“Public sector work has been keeping us alive the past few years. We recently completed the special operations detachment center at MacDill Air Force Base, one of a half-dozen projects we’ve done there, and we just got awarded a one-story office and meeting center at MacDill.
“Right now, we’re building a surface parking extension for rental car storage at the Punta Gorda Airport. We’re in pre-construction on the $22 million Gasparilla Road widening, also in Charlotte County, and we’ll start construction in early 2014. We’re doing a complete gut and remodel of The Living Room at the Senior Friendship Center. And we’re replacing the generator at the Sarasota County Terrace Building. It doesn’t sound sexy, but it’s a big, complex project.
“We are starting to see opportunities in the private sector, which is encouraging. We’re finishing up the Sun Hydraulics manufacturing facility expansion, and we’ve been involved in [planning for] three or four large-scale multifamily projects in the last several months. I’m not sure when they will be built.”
General manager, Storage Now
“We opened seven years ago on S.R. 70 just east of I-75 with 450 units, and with the three-story addition we built last spring, we grew to 700 units. The demand is there.
“We generally cater to Lakewood Ranch snowbirds, although about 30 percent of our customers are businesses, a wide range of them, from pharmaceutical reps to lawn and pool companies and doctors and lawyers who need record storage.
“We’re not as seasonal as restaurants, but September is our slow month, and we start pumping up in October and run strong until July. August is a big move-out month.”
President, Lux-Art Silks
“Business is definitely better. We’re seeing double-digit increases in our wholesale business where we sell to the furniture industry and interior designers all over the country. In terms of holiday décor, we sell commercial-grade Christmas merchandise from our High Point, N.C. showroom to high-end interior design studios, furniture stores and gift stores. Locally, we also come in and install holiday decorations, mainly to hotels and country clubs.
“I really think our Christmas season will be very good; consumer indexes have been pointing toward people feeling better about the economy, the local housing industry is certainly booming again, and there’s pent-up demand from people who were a little more conservative the last few years.”