About CORE

Citrus One-stop Resource & Entrepreneur Business Center

CORE’s mission is to provide an economic development hub for existing and prospective businesses headquartered in Citrus County Florida to obtain the necessary resources needed to start, grow, and maintain a strong and healthy business community.

CORE Functions & Programs

Roadmap to Success

CORE has developed an online business roadmap with steps for starting a business in Citrus County. It can be easily followed and is specific to Citrus County. An addition to the roadmap, CORE will connect you to many other resources, such as mentoring, counseling, and economic support.

Coordinated Support

CORE has a formal working agreement with SCORE Nature Coast FL. Our combined efforts will allow us to offer ongoing support to local businesses.

SCORE provides one-on-one mentoring, educational webinars, and free consulting services to local businesses. Each CORE client is assigned a SCORE Certified Mentor to work with them through their business start up and growth.

Office Space

The CORE Business Center has an executive conference room and a private executive office space available to local businesses for shared space utilization. Businesses can rent a shared space for a short term at a very reasonable cost. Businesses interested in utilizing the shared space by the hour can conveniently book a space online.

The CORE Story

In February of 2021, the leading economic development stakeholders in Citrus County formed an advisory group to assist the community’s small business sector recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stakeholders included representatives of the three governmental agencies: Citrus County, City of Inverness, and the City of Crystal River. They were joined by leadership from the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, and SCORE Nature Coast FL. Also participating were representatives of the College of Central Florida Citrus Campus and Withlacoochee Technical College. The group was known as the CARES Advisory Committee.

To provide direct assistance to the existing small business community as well as for entrepreneurs striving to start a business in Citrus County, the Committee developed a plan to provide information, mentoring, counseling, and economic support for businesses in Citrus County. The plan is to utilize the existing partnerships and provide the BOCC with recommendations on economic development projects and workforce assessments.

CORE was originally administered by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce under a Memorandum of Agreement with the BOCC. In June of 2023, the organization was approved as a stand alone 501(c)(3) named The Business Center for Citrus County, dba CORE. With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, the CORE acronym was maintained but the title was adjusted to be Citrus One Stop Resource Entrepreneur Business Center. CORE is governed by a Board of Directors representative of the original economic development stakeholders.

Board of Directors

Jim Green, President

Jim Green has served for over 15 years as a Mentor with SCORE. He retired from a large manufacturing company as Risk Manager then operated Business Risk Solutions, LLC, a risk management consulting company for 18 years. Jim moved to Florida in 2002 from Texas.

Tabitha Wells, Treasurer

Tabitha Wells grew up, attended college and started her professional career right here in Citrus County. Tabitha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with specialization in Accounting and completed a fifth year, making her eligible to become a Certified Public Accountant. She is also a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor. Her experience in the accounting field includes public and private accounting, along with tax and audit services. Tabitha has also performed full-service accounting functions for government entities, non-profit organizations, and individuals. She has served on numerous boards and volunteered for several charities.

Ardath Prendergast, Secretary

Ardath Prendergast is presently the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Operations & BRE. A graduate of the University of Central Florida with degrees in Allied Legal Services and Criminal Justice, Ardath specialized as an aviation paralegal in Dallas and Washington, DC. However, her childhood passion had always been dance and the arts, so when she moved to Atlanta, she switched over to the nonprofit world of arts and disability, and became the arts manager of the Arts Festival of Atlanta, executive director of the National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA) and also co-founded Full Radius Dance, a professional company of dancers with and without disabilities. In 2004, Ardath made full circle back to Florida, re-discovered the wonder of Florida’s outdoors, fell in love with our Citrus County community and insists she is never leaving Florida again!

Jim Harvey, Board Member

Former President of College of Central Florida and Senior VP for Administration and Finance. Former two time Chair of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, Former Chairman of the CCEDC. 25 year resident of Citrus County.

Annemarie Hooper, Board Member

Annemarie Hooper is Duke Energy’s Community Relations Liaison in north Florida, serving 22 counties across the company’s service territory. She has worked for Duke Energy for 14 years and specializes in philanthropy, volunteerism and problem solving, where she works closely with local nonprofit leaders in obtaining sponsorships and grants that make positive impacts and improvements in communities served by Duke Energy. Annemarie is a 2023 graduate of Leadership Citrus and is a Florida licensed real estate broker and notary public. Annemarie has spent more than 31 years as a Citrus County resident and has a deep desire to help her community be the best place to live, work and play.

The Future of CORE

Monthly small business networking opportunities will allow small business owners to share their successes and challenges with their business peers.
Maker Space
CORE plans to eventually open a Maker Space to serve entrepreneurs in the County. A Maker Space is a facility that contains equipment like 3D printers, wood working tools and equipment, programmable laser cutting machines and other tools as needed. The space, once developed, will be open for member’s use on a 24/7 basis. There will be a membership fee and training for all Maker Space members.