About CORE Business Center
In February of 2021 Commissioner Carnahan, with the support of his fellow commissioners, formed a CARES Advisory Committee to advise and recommend uses and/or programs for remaining CARES funds which had been moved to the County’s general fund. The use was designated for economic development. The goal is to create a long-term economic recovery plan for businesses.
The CARES Advisory Committee is comprised of the following individuals representing their respective organizations (Key Partners): Scott Carnahan (BOCC), Josh Wooten and Ardath Prendergast (Chamber), Jim Green (SCORE), Jim Harvey (CF – retired), Don Taylor (EDACC), Carl Flanagan (banking), Eric Williams (Inverness), Ken Frink (Crystal River), David Pieklik (economic development), and Tabitha Wells (private business).
First and foremost, we would like to reiterate the strength of the Key Partners. For as long as we have been involved in this community, we have never seen a time where both cities (Crystal River and Inverness), the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County (EDAC), and the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce were on the same page, at the same table, with the same agenda. Let that sink in…. We believe that is worth noting. The best of the best ideas are coming to light and we’re moving forward.
The committee hit the ground running! We met to brainstorm, and the idea of a business “concierge” approach was born. Other notions included the “one-stop” resource approach, reaching new and existing businesses, and concepts to leverage the investment. We want to be good stewards of the funds and the purpose for which they are designated, so every aspect has been carefully discussed and weighed. We initially broke into sub-committees to share ideas and then met almost bi-weekly to discuss the many different ways to accomplish the goals as well as sustainable methods to achieve long term economic recovery and continued development.
The goals of the committee have been established in a broad sense. We are creating targets that involve strategic economic development planning (short-, mid- and long-term) goals. The plan is to utilize the existing partnerships and provide the BOCC with recommendations on economic development projects and workforce assessments for implementation.
The concierge approach was named “Citrus One-Stop Recovery & Economic Business Center” (CORE). CORE’s mission is “to provide an economic development hub for existing and prospective businesses to obtain all necessary resources to start, grow, and maintain a strong and healthy business paradigm.” CORE will be administered by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce as was approved in April by the BOCC. The Business Center will be in the former Visitor Center in downtown Inverness.
We look forward to serving Citrus County small businesses as the CORE doors open in July and will strive to fulfill the needs of our community. It’s been a difficult year for so many businesses that employ our citizens. Whether it is resources, education, mentoring, or networking, CORE will be available to help.