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Arcadia shows economic growth as more businesses flock to area

Several new businesses are making their mark in the rural city
Arcadia Historic District
Posted at 10:12 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 23:28:49-05

ARCADIA, Fla. — Construction is seen front and center along SR-70 in Arcadia.

"We're standing right here at Take 5 Oil Change which is having its grand opening this Saturday," said Sondra Guffey, Economic Development Director at DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners. "Then right down the street here, Culver's is opening very soon."

Guffey said about 13,000 cars drive along SR-70 on a daily basis in the area. She also reported 12-to-14,000 vehicles pass along Hwy 17 every day.

However, tax incentives are also attracting businesses to the area.

"We don’t have impact fees, and those can be very expensive from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars," Guffey said.

Downtown Arcadia is also becoming a hub for small businesses. Local residents say a majority of the buildings they come across aren't vacant anymore.

“Most of the buildings here are occupied," Arcadia resident William Hackney said. "Now, there’s a little bit of diversity.”

Diversity is put on full display in Downtown Arcadia. It's one of Southwest Florida's minority-majority cities.

Midnight Dove owner Alyssa Mikesh told Fox 4 she chose Arcadia because of its welcoming environment. It opened in November in the Heard Opera House on Oak Street.

"There's more people interested in metaphysicals and stuff than you would really expect in a quiet town like this."

People will see businesses in Arcadia open their doors in the coming days and weeks, such as Magnolia Street Seafood & Grill.