By Steve Lee
ZEPHYRHILLS — The city has been expanding of late, with new residential developments and chain restaurants popping up along main thoroughfares. And a new corridor recently opened with the extension of State Road 56 from Wesley Chapel to Zephyrhills.
Now it’s time for small businesses to get a boost.
Zephyrhills has an incubator for start-up businesses, thanks in part to the business acumen of Sam Turgeon and his wife, Winifred. The couple from Connecticut purchased a historic downtown office building in April for about $290,000. It once housed the city police station and an interim city hall. Now it houses office space, conference rooms and other amenities for small businesses.
The Turgeons, both 44, moved their Sunlight Realty into the building and are offering 15 additional offices for rent. Hourly office or conference room rentals are available for other professionals who need a place to meet with clients.
“It’s going pretty well,” said Turgeon, noting that the Fraternal Order of Eagles plans to lease space, and he is hashing out details with several attorneys and other business professionals. “We’re just starting to lease now.”
The Zephyrhills Executive Offices, located at 5344 Ninth St., is renting interior offices at $450 monthly, with higher rates for corner and window offices. A three-unit suite is going for $1,700. Utilities are included.
Melonie Monson, executive director of the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce, said that transforming a building just one block from Main Street could be a game-changer for local entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“To allow young entrepreneurs to have a place to start a business out is something we’ve wanted for a long time,” she said. “This opens doors.”
City planner Todd Vande Berg concurred.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for business and economic development," he said. "There’s a need for incubator business space. It’s a great opportunity for start-up businesses, and we’re excited about that.”
Turgeon has been active in the community since he arrived in Zephyrhills in 2014. He is on the Chamber’s board of directors and serves as president of the Daybreak Rotary. His wife is involved in the Chamber and the Woman’s Club of Zephyrhills.
“He hit the ground running when he moved here five years ago,” Monson said.
Turgeon and his wife considered Zephyrhills, Dade City and Dunedin when seeking a location for their incubator. They opted for Zephyrhills, he said, because of its quaint downtown, proximity to Tampa and Wesley Chapel, and growth potential.
“I like where I live,” he said. “We live here, we work here and Zephyrhills is home to us now. We wanted to do something that was meaningful downtown and re-purpose it.”
The Turgeons plan to maintain the historical theme of the building by decorating the inside with photographs of Zephyrhills in days past.
This is not the first time the Turgeons have been involved in a small business rental agreement.
“We started our business in an incubator situation in Lutz,” he said. “It was an easy way for us to get started. You get to know your neighbors. There’s a symbiotic relationship that develops.”
For further details or to inquire about leasing an office, visit zephyrhillsexecutiveoffices.com or call (203) 623-7794.