Kevin Jon Kieft, President/CEO
Lake Wales Area Business
Because of its convenient Central Florida location and low cost of living, the Lake Wales area offers outstanding opportunities for economic growth. The intersection of U.S. 27 and S.R. 60 at Lake Wales makes an excellent hub from which goods may be transported easily to all points in Florida and beyond.
Lake Wales residents and businesses truly have the best of both worlds. Just a short commute from Orlando and Tampa, Lake Wales offers a friendly down-home atmosphere where work and school are near, wherever you live. Just down the road, Lake Wales residents can enjoy the amenities of big-city life by visiting, without having to deal with the daily congestion and traffic. Lake Wales has a wide variety of places to play, shop, dine, attend school, and receive health care.
Although citrus and tourism have long been an important part of the area’s economy, more business and industry are relocating to the area. A public private partnership resulted in the construction of Longleaf Business Park (Now known as the Lake Wales Commerce and Technology center)just 2 miles south of Lake Wales on Highway 27. Kegel, the park’s first tenant, manufactures bowling equipment and cleaning supplies that are marketed worldwide and has a state-of-the-art training facility utilized by bowling professionals, college teams and bowling enthusiasts. The park is now also home to Merlin Entertainments, TruGreen, Studio 41b, Soval, Citizen’s Bank and Trust, Vertpac and others.
Additional emphasis by the City has been on the location of light manufacturing and distribution companies west of Lake Wales along S.R. 60, to take advantage of the new CSX intermodal logistics center that is now operational. The City also has completed the extension of its airport runway to accommodate larger aircraft.
Retailers and professionals have a variety of options – from the downtown commercial district, strip centers and Scenic Highway to the SR 60 corridor. New commercial development locating near the Eagle Ridge Mall at the north end of Lake Wales along U.S. Highway 27 includes the Shoppes on the Ridge, Bob Evans, IHOP, Wawa, Aldi, Bealls Outlet, Chili’s, Home Depot, Lowes, Dunkin Donuts, Anytime Fitness, Dairy Queen and Kohl’s and many others. Lake Wales also has two hotels in this area – Hampton Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express – located north on US 27, about 15 minutes from LEGOLAND. This popular theme park is attracting other development to the area.
Working together to create a new Economic Development Plan to guide development efforts, the City of Lake Wales and the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce have pulled together community business executives and other leaders to form a new Lake Wales Area Economic Development Council.
Lake Wales is at the center of it all and expects a bright future with significant new development.