FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast and Palm Coast BAC Help Entertainment and Training Company Successfully Navigate City Approvals
May 30, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or HThayer@ucf.edu
Ray Peter, Area Manager, FSBDC at UCF – Palm Coast, 386.986.4786 or Ray.Peter@ucf.edu
Orlando, FL – Building a business, particularly one that offers a unique, new, unfamiliar product or service, is the definition of a challenge, if not impossible. For a business concept that is completely novel with no precedents in place, the government regulations, permits, licenses and approvals alone can be too high a hurdle for many.
Fortunately for Palm Coast and Flagler County, Jessica and Steve Sherman are pioneers who saw an opportunity in bringing a new form of entertainment to the area, something beyond the existing movie theatre and bowling alley, that had a family development and team building element to it. But, after doing their initial market research, they realized they couldn’t do it without some help. And so they turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) office in Palm Coast and its area manager and consultant, Ray Peter.
With the help of the FSBDC, the Sherman’s set about to launch Twisted Minds Escape Rooms, an indoor entertainment facility featuring mental and physical adventure-based “escape games” in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. It’s a fun and exciting way to bring people together, a place “Where Friends become Family, and Family Become Friends” as the Twisted Minds Escape Rooms tag line goes.
The City of Palm Coast had never seen anything like it, and there was no playbook for what regulations, permits, licenses, etc. might apply. But the City does have the Palm Coast Business Assistance Center (BAC), a partner in the FSBDC at UCF and a new program called Business Navigation Services. Designed to guide new and existing businesses through the process of securing development project approvals, such as federal, state and local permitting and licensing requirements. As implemented by the FSBDC, the navigation services were exactly what the Sherman’s and Twisted Minds Escape Rooms needed.
“When we started, it seemed like it wasn’t going to work,” recalls Steve Sherman. “Then we met with Ray Peter at the FSBDC. Ray was able to coordinate with the decision makers anytime we had an issue. He was able to get the right meetings set up with the right City departments. And we worked with those folks to get the thumbs up we needed.”
“Working with the FSBDC was great. Having them there as the focal point to guide us made it so much easier,” says Jessica Sherman. “They were able to give us direction, guidance, take us through the process step-by-step. It made a huge difference for us to have someone in town who had our backs. We would absolutely recommend working with the FSBDC. It was probably the best resource we had and the best decision we made.”
“Today Twisted Minds Escape Rooms is open for business. We have two games available, one opening soon and six more planned,” concluded Steve Sherman. “It’s been fantastic since Day One. We’ve been able to double our revenues month after month, and we’re getting 5 Star ratings across the board.”
For information about Twisted Minds Escape Rooms, please visit www.TwistedMinds.com.
— FSBDC —
About the FSBDC at UCF
Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation and the Florida SBDC Network.
The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.
In 2017, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,450 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 5,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $623 million in sales growth; $23 million in capital formation; $32 million in government contract awards; and 71 new businesses started.
About the Florida SBDC Network
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.
In 2017, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,750 client businesses, resulting in more than 28,800 jobs impacted; $3.2 billion in sales generated; $145.6 million in government contracts acquired; $135.4 million in capital accessed; and 335 new businesses started.
A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.