Small businesses operate as the heart and soul of Eatonville

Big-name corporations call Eatonville home, but the large corporations, WESH included aren’t the heart and soul of this town. That distinction belongs to small businesses. Molene George owns the Mad Crab restaurant on Kennedy Boulevard. She’s been serving up seafood and wings for nearly nine years. George said, “It has its ups and downs. You know, the positive part is the relationships I’ve built with my loyal customers as well as the individuals and the community that support me so that’s really a good thing. It makes it easy for us to open up the doors every day. ”But while Mad Crab is a nonstop door of customers from to go and delivery service, most of her clients don’t live here in Eatonville.“ Honestly not But mostly we get a lot of travelers, we get a lot of people that are coming from a different parts of the country, ”George said. That is a major problem according to LaVonda Wilder, th “When you have an opportunity to do business with your neighbor and communities, do business with them, invite them over,” Wilder said.Businesses have struggled in the past to sustain local customers. There’s a “We market for our members, we market for the community. Also, we’re into relationship building. That’s our main focus. We’re here to make sure that the communities know that. certain businesses exist, ”Wilder said.Councilwoman Wanda Randolph has lived here for the last forty years and owns her own local business.She says there’s a big difference in how things are going right now.“ But the difference now is that I think most So I’m looking for this opportunity as well as other business owners to promote growth, of the businesses are very excited about what is going to happen here in Eatonville, Florida, the time has come for Eatonville to move on and to move forward. to p romote more revenue to our town, and also to be functioning as well as other surrounding areas, ”Wilder said.That optimism comes in the form of a major development: The Hungerford Project, sitting on the grounds that’s coupled next to the school bearing the Those are things Eatonville currently doesn’t have. Randolph said, “We want to see change. And we embrace the plan for what we have for the Hungerford property. We have one. And what it’s going to do is going to lessen the burden of hardship of the taxpayers of our community. ”Randolph and other leaders have heard from many who have reservations about the new development. of the things I think some of the residents are concerned about is losing their identity as far as Eatonville being the oldest African American city here township in the United States, Incorporated, “Randolph said.” And what I tell them is that you don’ t hav e to worry about that. Because what we are is what we are, it’s not going to lose our identity. The only thing that’s going to bring about change and as more businesses, more wealth, and also a better life for everybody. ”Nicole Oriol is the Deputy Executive Director of an organization called HELP. The main focus is keeping people who own homes in Eatonville in their homes and planning how their homes will stay in family hands. She says the increased amount of people, can only help. For our business, I think it would help with the community, I think it would be more so the community coming out and having some place to go and to hang out together. I think that’s what we’re going to see more of once the town center is built. And once the new places are put in place, ”Oriol said.Like every developing area there are some inherent challenges. Traffic snarls easily as vehicles navigate the two-lane road. When it rains, the roads pool water in some areas. Increasing residents won’t make those things easier. Challenges and a small town combined can be used to your advantage. “So I think in other communities, you can’t just reach out and touch someone. But in a small community like Eatonville, you can actually call the mayor if You have concerns. You can call the council people if you have concerns. So I think that can help pave the way for people to that want to do business in the community, ”Lavonda Wilder said.For George and Mad Crab, she’s ambitious and I’ve had this wanting to grow but when COVID hit it did a lot — know it kind of you know, slow me down a little bit. But I would definitely have to leave the town of Eatonville in order to grow. I would say the growth of the property that they’re building right now, that will be the one thing that would make me stay, “George said.” I love the community. I love But it’s about growth. And sometimes you reach a point where you’re stagn And once you’re stagnant, and you can’t do it anymore. It’s time to you know, it’s time to keep moving. ”The Hungerford Project is expected to bring in more than $ 4 billion in impact for the construction alone — money local companies hope to cash in on.

Big-name corporations call Eatonville home, but the large corporations, WESH included aren’t the heart and soul of this town. That distinction belongs to small businesses.

Molene George owns the Mad Crab restaurant on Kennedy Boulevard. She’s been serving up seafood and wings for nearly nine years.

George said, “It has its ups and downs. You know, the positive part is the relationships I’ve built with my loyal customers as well as the individuals and the community that support me so that’s really a good thing. It makes it easy for us to open up the doors every day. ”

But while Mad Crab is a nonstop door of customers from to go and delivery service, most of her clients don’t live here in Eatonville.

“Honestly not very many the majority of my customers are outsiders, so they come from outside of Eatonville. But mostly we get a lot of travelers, we get a lot of people that are coming from a different parts of the country,” George said ..

That is a major problem according to LaVonda Wilder, the founder of the Eatonville chamber of commerce.

“When you have an opportunity to do business with your neighbor and communities, do business with them, invite them over,” Wilder said.

Businesses have struggled in the past to sustain local customers. There’s a new focus to change the past by bringing businesses together.

“We market for our members, we market for the community. Also, we’re into relationship building. That’s our main focus. We’re here to make sure that the communities know that certain businesses exist,” Wilder said.

Councilwoman Wanda Randolph has lived here for the last forty years and owns her own local business.

She says there’s a big difference in how things are going right now.

“But the difference now is that I think most of the businesses are very excited about what is going to happen here in Eatonville, Florida, the time has come for Eatonville to move on and to move forward. So I’m looking for this opportunity. as well as other business owners to promote growth, to promote more revenue to our town, and also to be functioning as well as other surrounding areas, ”Wilder said.

That optimism comes in the form of a major development: The Hungerford Project, sitting on the grounds that’s coupled next to the school bearing the same name, would bring shops, housing, a grocery store. Those are things Eatonville currently doesn’t have.

Randolph said, “We want to see change. And we embrace the plan for what we have for the Hungerford property. We have one of the highest property tax base in Orange County. And what it’s going to do is going to lessen the burden of hardship of the taxpayers of our community. ”

Randolph and other leaders have heard from many who have reservations about the new development.

“One of the things I think some of the residents are concerned about is losing their identity as far as Eatonville being the oldest African American city here township in the United States, Incorporated,” Randolph said. Because what we are is what we are, it’s not going to lose our identity. The only thing that’s going to bring about change and as more businesses, more wealth, and also a better life for everybody . ””

Nicole Oriol is the Deputy Executive Director of an organization called HELP. The main focus is keeping people who own homes in Eatonville in their homes and planning how their homes will stay in family hands. She says the increased amount of people, can only help.

“For our business, I think it would help with the community, I think it would be more so the community coming out and having some place to go and to hang out together. I think that’s what we’re going to see more of once. the town center is built. And once the new places are put in place, ”Oriol said.

Traffic snarls easily as vehicles navigate the two-lane road. When it rains, the roads pool water in some areas. Increasing residents won’t make those things easier. Challenges and a small town combined can be used to your advantage.

“So I think in other communities, you can’t just reach out and touch someone. But in a small community like Eatonville, you can actually call the mayor if you have concerns. You can call the council people if you have concerns. So I think that can help pave the way for people to that want to do business in the community, ”Lavonda Wilder said.

For George and Mad Crab, she’s ambitious and wants to grow.

“I would have to leave to grow. I’ve had this wanting to grow but when COVID hit it did a lot — know it kind of you know, slow me down a little bit. But I would definitely have to leave the town of Eatonville in order to grow. I would say the growth of the property that they’re building right now, that will be the one thing that would make me stay, “George said.” I love the community. I love the people in the But it’s about growth. And sometimes you reach a point where you’re stagnant. And once you’re stagnant, and you can’t do it anymore. It’s time to you know, it’s time to keep moving. ”

The Hungerford Project is expected to bring in more than $ 4 billion in impact for the construction alone — money local companies hope to cash in on.