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WHAT'S NEXT: DeSoto seeks economic growth, asks Arcadia residents for ideas

Economic leaders want the public's input on what DeSoto County can add to help the area thrive.
Economic event in DeSoto County
Posted at 10:44 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 22:44:34-04

ARCADIA, Fla. — How should DeSoto County, and the City of Arcadia, continue to grow in the future?

I'm Victoria Scott, Arcadia's Community Correspondent. And when I found out economic leaders were hosting an open house Thursday to hear from residents, I made sure to stop by. I also hit downtown Arcadia, to get the perspectives of some of the business owners there.

Florida Farmhouse Coffee Arcadia
The Florida Farmhouse Coffee Shop opened in December 2023 in downtown Arcadia.

For Charity Ressor, downtown Arcadia has a kind of charm that's hard to resist.

"It has a lot of quirkiness to offer."

She opened the Florida Farmhouse Coffee Shop last December. And she had some thoughts about how to improve downtown.

For one thing, Ressor said the city should stay away from big-box stores.

Arcadia Florida Farmhouse Coffee Shop
Charity Ressor at work in the coffee shop she opened in downtown Arcadia.

"We definitely need more mom-and-pop businesses - businesses people really care about," Ressor said.

She also wants more business diversity and more jobs. "This city, especially the downtown, needs more diversity as far as the types of shops and types of establishments that we have," said Ressor.

However, there's one thing Reesor wants to see less of in Arcadia: "Right now, we're coming out of an era where everything was antique stores."

Desoto county economic development director
DeSoto County Economic Development Director Sondra Guffey.

The concerns Reesor brought up are the types of things DeSoto County Economic Development Director Sondra Guffey is listening for.

"Education is a big demand for improved education. They want better jobs. They want things to do. We're hearing about entertainment and retail and infrastructure."

And on Thursday, Guffey was listening carefully during that open house.

Arcadia economic development open house
People went through a priorities exercise at an open house in Arcadia, regarding how the city and DeSoto County leaders should grow the areas in the coming years.

"None of these things happen right away, but if we don't have a plan, if you don't have a strategy, we'll just be shooting at everything," she said.

At least they have as good a place as any, to start.

"We love our town," Charity Reesor told me. "It's awesome."