Get your free Insider's Guide

Search

 

The Allure of the Coast

The Pensacola Bay Area boasts one of the best business climates in the Southeast.

By Robin Rashard

 

Pensacola, like a lot of coastal towns, has a magnetic pull to her that is at times unexplainable and often unavoidable. To some degree, this pull is an intentional effort to make the city into a community where locals have a sense of place, bolstered with the pride knowing anyone can live, work and play here. It is also a push to make sure that anyone who visits her beautiful beaches and experiences her rich culture, historic places, diverse people, unique entertainment venues and wide-ranging culinary spots walks away with an unforgettable experience that lures them to return again and again. 

To be sure, people want to come here. They want to live here. They want to play here. They want to work here. 

Frederique Beroset

For centuries, the Pensacola region has boasted one of the best business climates in the Southeast due to its trade and commerce significance. Major industries, such as aerospace and defense, cyber security, advanced manufacturing and professional services, benefit from the stable economy and low cost of doing business in the Pensacola Bay Area. 

“You can’t beat my office. Every day it is different and gorgeous,” Beroset said. “I couldn’t dream of a better place to work.” 

 

The region is home to more than 500 companies, a strong manufacturing workforce and experienced entrepreneurs. The Pensacola Bay Area boasts the youngest labor force in the state, as millennials enjoy living and working in a community that allows them to connect and collaborate with others. Pensacola’s vibrant, walkable downtown — with dog-friendly cafés, markets, craft breweries and a culture of collaboration — creates the right energy for ideas to thrive. 

 

population 314k13.5k businesseslabor force 156k0% income tax

Data source: Florida's Great Northwest, Applied Geographic Solutions and GIS Planning 2018

 

That vibrant energy is what drew Frederique Beroset from Paris, France, to move here. Beroset came for a three-month visit with a childhood friend and discovered a new place for her passion and profession as a biologist and environmentalist. While on vacation, she was offered a position to do research and grow plants for the coastal environment. “I grew sea oats and developed other species that were not being used along the coast,” said Beroset. Along the way, she started up Dune Doctors and made it her business to preserve the coastal dune ecosystem, protect people and property, from Perdido Key to Pensacola Beach and beyond, through dune restoration, and develop beach resiliency projects. 

Helping to maintain the beach for people, plants, animals and the environment drives her to make a difference. Her lofty goal is to help people understand the importance of the dunes, driven by a passion for the beach. But, the best reason for Beroset is the simplest one yet. “You can’t beat my office. Every day it is different and gorgeous,” Beroset said. “I couldn’t dream of a better place to work.” 

Lloyd ReshardStarting out as a tourist to Pensacola over 30 years ago inspired Lloyd Reshard, an electrical engineer-turned-entrepreneur, to set roots in one of Pensacola’s iconic historic neighborhoods — Belmont- DeVilliers. For Reshard, Pensacola is a great place to live. “That I work and socialize in Belmont-DeVilliers, a place of rebirth and creativity, is the best of both worlds,” he said. 

“That I work and socialize in Belmont-DeVilliers, a place of rebirth and creativity, is the best of both worlds,” Reshard said.

 

As CEO of Cognitive Big Data Systems — a company that uses artificial intelligence to detect security threats — he thrives in getting connected with local business resources like other tech companies, the universities, media and the chambers of commerce. “In addition to the local resources at my fingertips, I can easily connect to national resources as well because of the ease of travel by air and auto locally, and our close proximity to larger metropolis areas.” 

Bill Dearman

Bill Dearman, hailing from Madison, Mississippi, has been a professional jet ski racer for over 25 years. He and his wife, Toni, first discovered the natural beauty and relaxed charm of Perdido Key during a watercross competition, and the island has enamored them ever since. In 2008, he sold his business and decided to venture into real estate along the Florida Gulf Coast. 

“We love that Perdido Key is not over commercialized, it’s not too crowded,” said Dearman.

 

Dearmancorp Properties is currently constructing a new, waterfront development on Perdido Key called Mallory Square North. The resort community is designed to emulate historic Key West and will feature five free-standing cottages, a resort-style swimming pool, a pier, and boat garages. The resort is expected to complete by end of summer 2018. 

“Toni and I really love this area, my kids enjoy the beach so much,” said Dearman. “We love that Perdido Key is not over commercialized, it’s not too crowded. It has this laid-back atmosphere and small town charm to it that you can’t find elsewhere. We’ve looked.” 

With its many different resources, Pensacola offers partnership and business growth opportunities, a balanced active lifestyle and an energetic innovation ecosystem. 

The FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance works collaboratively with businesses and industries interested in establishing a presence in the Pensacola Bay Area.