Central Florida Roundup
Business in a Box
Business in a Box
Ben Gaskill and Dan Doromal, both veterans of food service manufacturing, founded Everest Ice & Water Systems seven years ago. Their Apopka-based ice machine company has sold almost 1,000 of its patented ice vending machines, and Gaskill predicts they’ll double sales this year.
Most customers are budding entrepreneurs. “We’ve got everybody from stay-at-home dads to accountants and physicians and truck drivers,” Gaskill says.
Although he declined to share the cost of their ice vending machines, Gaskill says Everest’s equipment is “on the low end” of an industry scale that runs anywhere from $50,000 to $175,000 per machine. With each bag of ice costing about 20 cents to produce and a typical sales price of $2.50 to $3, machine owners in a typical location can generate a return on investment within one to two years, according to Everest’s website.
Owners have to scout out their own locations to place the machines.
To keep up with demand, Everest has tripled its staff to 60 employees over the past year and expanded its workspace to nearly 20,000 square feet. “Demand is increasing for a lot of reasons. People saw COVID, people losing their jobs, people being laid off, not making any money in their market and thought, ‘I’d like to open my own business,’ so at the end of the day, what we sell is a business in a box,” says Gaskill.
- Orlando Health’s Jewett Orthopedic Institute opened this month. Located on Orlando Health’s downtown campus, the facility includes an orthopedic specialty hospital, an ambulatory surgery center and a medical office pavilion. Orlando Health plans to build a free-standing emergency room in east Orange County to serve Waterford Lakes and other nearby communities.
- Fountain Life, a preventive health and longevity company that leverages AI and diagnostic testing to diagnose cancer, heart problems and other diseases at their earliest stages, plans to open a center in Lake Nona.
- Gary Cain, the longtime president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida, is retiring. He will continue to serve until a successor is named and will then move to an emeritus role, working on special projects.
- Orlando cybersecurity firm ThreatLocker moved its headquarters into the Maitland offices that used to house Electronic Arts. The move comes after the company raised $100 million last April that allowed it to double its staff. GenH2, a Titusville-based company specializing in hydrogen infrastructure, recently launched its LS20 Mobile Liquid Hydrogen System, a liquefaction and storage system. The mobile unit can be used in a range of applications, from transportation to energy backup to accelerating the use of liquid hydrogen through pilot projects and testing. Metris Global, an Arizona-based training solutions company that works with the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard and other clients, relocated its headquarters to Orlando and plans to add 10 to 20 jobs over the next two years. Miami-based Kaseya, an information technology unicorn, has expanded into Central Florida and plans to grow its staff of 125 in Orlando to 1,000 by the end of 2024. Qualytics, an Orlando-based startup that provides data quality surveillance for companies through its cloud-based platform, raised $2.5 million led by venture capital firm Tech Square Ventures, with participation from Engage, Knoll Ventures, SaaS Ventures and GRI Ventures. It will use the money to scale up the company to meet growing demand from Fortune 500 companies.
Matthew Adler was promoted from senior vice president of finance to chief investment officer of Zom Living, an Orlando-based developer of apartment buildings. He replaces Trip Stephens, who recently retired after 36 years with the company. Lisa Hill, a broker associate at Keller Williams at the Parks, is the Orlando Regional Realtor Association’s 2023 president. Orlando Reunion Development has secured financing from Miami-based LV Lending for the first phase of a $1-billion expansion of Reunion Resort, a vacation rental resort in Kissimmee that will include a 1,800-unit, mixed-use development around the resort’s Crystal Lagoon. Groundbreaking is slated for 2024. The Onicx Group, a Tampa-based private real estate firm, and Aries Capital bought 40 acres in DeLand from HY-EM USA Properties for $3.8 million and plan to build a 240,000-sq.-ft. industrial park on the property. It marks the companies’ second industrial park development in Volusia County. Mississippi-based MMI Hospitality Group purchased the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills for an undisclosed price and plans to begin property enhancements.