The city of Clearwater’s Economic Development Division and Community Redevelopment Agency are helpful business resources for those who plan to expand, build, or move their organization to our sunny, burgeoning Gulf Coast. Get to know some of the newer smiling faces who are here to help your business thrive.
Economic Development Coordinator
Business Retention & Expansion/Small Business Development
Stephanie began with the city of Clearwater in October 2019. Previously, she worked in Zoning and Economic Development at the city of Pinellas Park and has a background in business development, accounting and marketing. Her day-to-day focus is meeting with business owners to connect them with available resources and facilitating personal introductions. Stephanie is known as the “Face of the City” for business support. She assists in small business development through Clearwater Business SPARK, a network of service providers committed to attracting, developing, and growing an innovative and diverse business and entrepreneurial community that has access to the resources needed to succeed in Clearwater and the Tampa Bay region.
Visit https://www.clearwaterbusinessspark.com/ to learn more about the SPARK partners.
Since March, Stephanie has been focused on supporting businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 through the city’s Back to Business Grant and Professional Services Program. She serves as a liaison connecting business owners with the precise resources they need during these types of current challenges. She should be on every Clearwater business owner’s speed dial.
Sr. Economic Development Coordinator
Business Recruitment & Property Development
Phil began with the city of Clearwater in February 2020. Previously, he spent over 30 years in commercial real estate development, brokerage and construction. Using his substantial commercial experience, he elected to work in the public sector to help expand commercial development in Clearwater. He has found that his private sector experience gives him the ability to analyze opportunities from both private and public perspectives. This experience has helped him identify opportunities to develop properties and see opportunities that meet the needs of multiple businesses which can potentially lead to larger scale projects.
Clearwater’s goal is to attract businesses that hire well-paid workers and expand the commercial real estate tax base in order to be less dependent on the current residential real estate tax base. His day-to-day focus is to advocate for business owners and assist in the facilitation of a smooth planning and permitting process. To assist in attracting businesses to the area, Phil personally contacts individuals who are involved in relocation processes such as site selectors, brokers, developers, accounting firms, law firms and consulting firms and serves as their main point of contact with the City.
Business Assistance Administrator | Community Redevelopment Agency
Howard began with the City of Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency in November 2019. Previously, he worked with The Home Builders Institute (link: https://www.hbi.org/) for 17 years. The CRA aims to promote Downtown Clearwater’s ongoing neighborhood revitalization through programs and initiatives that strengthen and stimulate the local economy and environment. Howard’s main focus is to support downtown businesses and encourage more residents and tourists to visit the downtown area and shop local. He spearheaded the successful Cleveland Street Closure program, working with merchants and the CRA on the logistics, and taking into consideration the traffic, engineering, and sanitation shifts.
The city implemented necessary signage, tables and chairs for the increased foot traffic. Once the Cleveland Street Closure project was launched, Howard moved on to the Meal Voucher Program in July, which provided 2500 “shop local” vouchers to locals and has increased profits for the participating merchants. The next project on Howard’s agenda is the Holiday Extravaganza, running November 28 through the end of December throughout Downtown Clearwater. Folks can enjoy holiday movies on weekends, Santa’s Mailbox at the post office, decorated downtown storefronts, and more festive happenings currently in the works.
Howard also conducts a Monthly Digital Meetup for Merchant Q&A the last Thursday of each month from 10am to noon, www.downtownclearwater.com/doing-business/opportunities/
The City of Clearwater’s https://www.myclearwater.com/ sole purpose is to provide the right resources to help local businesses flourish. Reach out to Stephanie to get plugged in to the tools, programs and assets that are provided to aid business owners through every stage of growth.
Have an AWESOME day!
By Jodi McLean