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Business numbers also down

By Staff | Sep 27, 2008

There were 439 fewer new and active businesses in Cape Coral in 2007 than in 2006 and, with the announcement this week of the closing of two more establishments, there may be even fewer in 2008.

Ada’s Natural & Organic Foods Supermarket & Deli, located on Pine Island Road near Chiquita Boulevard, closed Friday, following the closing of the TCBY on Del Prado Boulevard earlier in the week.

According to data from the city’s Economic Development Office, there were 10,022 licenses given to new and active businesses in 2006, and 9,583 handed out in 2007. Christy Vogt, business development coordinator with the EDO, said statistics for 2008 won’t be available until two or three weeks after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

As the economy sours and puts added pressure on local businesses, the EDO is shifting its approach to lure different types of businesses to the Cape.

“We’re marketing to targeted businesses, ones that have high-tech; the type of work and jobs with high salaries,” Vogt said.

Vogt said the office also is helping existing businesses stay afloat.

“Some have asked for suggestions or help in getting capital,” Vogt said.

The down economic climate for Cape businesses means the cost of rents and leases for commercial properties will continue to plummet, according to Gary Tasman, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Southwest Florida office.

“We could see as much as a 50 percent reduction” from the recent boom times, Tasman said.

He attributed a misjudgment of the nature of business in addition to the general economic malaise as the reasons for recent failures.

“Sometimes on the upside of a business cycle we don’t realize that business is a cycle. If the market says ‘hold,’ you can’t say ‘giddy-up,'” Tasman said.

Tasman maintains, however, that proper planning now can put entrepreneurs in a favorable position when the positive side of the business cycle rolls around again.

“Most importantly you’ve got to prepare for the up times in the down times,” he said.