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EDC announces new businesses, budget at second meeting

EDC announces new businesses, budget at second meeting

The newly formed Plant City Economic Development Corp. hosted its second meeting Monday, Jan. 11, at Stingray Chevrolet. During its meeting, several businesses announced plans to move their facilities to Plant City.

Those businesses include SparkleSkirts and AgFreeze.

As business in Plant City continues to grow, so does the EDC. It announced that it is up to 40 members. Publix is its newest. 

“I think we’re on a good track to having a well-funded organization,” President and CEO Jake Austin said. 

The EDC also approved its first budget at the meeting. This year, the EDC has a total expected revenue of $395,000. Of that, $195,700 will be used for fixed expenses, including salaries. A total of $95,280 will be used for operating expenses, and $40,000 will be used for start-up expenses. The remaining $64,020 will be used as the organization’s reserves. 

The organization’s next meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at Sunshine Bank. Following the February meeting, the EDC will move its meetings from the second Monday of the month to the third Monday of the month. 


SparkleSkirts, a rapidly growing athletic wear company, will be moving into 15,000 square feet at the corner of U.S. Highway 92 and County Line Road. 

The facility is currently under construction by Central Florida Development. That same corner, located near the Interstate 4 corridor, is host to Fitlife Foods and Appalachian Insulation. 

SparkleSkirts currently has 20 employees and sells athletic, anti-ride skirts for women. The skirts are geared toward women who compete in running events, such as half marathons, but the company’s market is growing. With pockets and customizable options, the skirts are being purchased by women for a variety of sports: golf, tennis, yoga and more. The company currently has sewing facilities in St. Petersburg, Miami and California but will use the Florida location to make custom and relay team skirts.     


A prospective company, AgFreeze, also announced that it hopes to build roots in Plant City. Co-founders Rob Rieke and Amy Entress are interested in freezing fresh fruit, especially Plant City strawberries, to reduce the amount of fresh produce that is thrown away each year. The company’s ultimate goal is to have zero waste. 

“We can put a lot of money back in Florida growers’ pockets by doing this,” Rieke said. 

The company hopes to be open for freezing by Oct. 1. Though they have no definitive address yet, both Rieke and Entress have Plant City as their primary location on their business cards. 

Once open, the company plans to operate year-round, primarily focusing on freezing strawberries, blueberries, peaches and mangoes. 

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