Sandwiched between Groveland, Clermont, and Minneola is Hunt Industrial Park, a business that has developed into more than just rented space for companies, but a de facto business incubator for 78 companies across 24 acres since its start in 2004.
On Friday, the South Lake Chamber of Commerce named the park at 15360 C.R. 565 in Groveland its "Small Business of the Year." Ownership is now seeking more land in Lake County to expand.
Businesses tend to start small and grow big in the park, with a number of companies having moved several times into progressively larger spaces, says Donnie Hunt, whose family built Hunt Industrial Park in three phases. Hunt's dad, Don, and sister, Darcie, also are involved in the business.
The range of businesses occupying the park's 205,000 square feet is diverse enough to serve a small city.
In Hunt you can buy a car or get one fixed, painted, or tricked out for off-road use.
You can purchase honey, or a Kona ice, smell coffee roasting at Golden Hills Coffee roasters, and eat breakfast and lunch at Jackie's Catering. On Friday, Chik-Fil-A shows up to serve lunch.
Locks a little long? There's a barbershop on site. At night, soon, you will be able to take painting lessons from popular artist Danna S. Dewberry, of the "One Stroke" painting technique fame.
There are also two furniture repair shops, a company that will sell you granite countertops and kitchen and bathroom remodels, and another that will take care of your homes' glass windows, doors and shower enclosure needs.
When heading to the woods or the shooting range, Hunt Industrial has a bullet manufacturer.
There's a medical lab in the space, with clean rooms and a repairer of airplane parts.
And soon you can move your own little business to the newest section of Hunt Industrial Park, where you can rent your own office suite that comes with use of two conference rooms and a receptionist to take your calls.
If you don't need a whole office, you can rent a virtual one without office space, but including a mailing address, the receptionists' services for call-taking and the conference room use.
Need a fork lift every once in a while? There are communal forklifts for tenants to use. Occasionally need a loading dock? There are those as well.
"It's astonishing to me that I've got companies that have grown so large," Hunt said. "I'm a little shocked that they haven't gone out and got their own space. But they say 'Why would we leave? We have everything here: maintenance, community items like the forklifts, a gated atmosphere, and they feel safe."
"We are not an average industrial park," he continued. "I'm not a landlord that you just hand a check to."
The only problem Hunt Industrial Park has now is that it's running out of land. The company is looking for more.
"I never knew I would grow as big as we did," Hunt said. "I've already started to look at a couple of other pieces in Lake County."
While the current site, which isn't on a major road in the area, might seem like a bad location, it is actually fairly well located, close to U.S. 27 and a few miles from S.R. 50 in Minneola. The Florida Turnpike also is close.
"We are near the very center of the state," Hunt said.
Plus, because the site isn't on any of the higher-priced land along major roads, prices can be kept lower, he added.
Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955, or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com.