WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - The economy seems to be on the mend in Polk County, partially in thanks to businesses relocating to the area. But the relocations aren't from nearby counties, or even states.
Polk County has become a relocation destination for overseas businesses.
There are an estimated 155 foreign-based businesses with owners who traded their homeland for a chance to chase the American dream.
Central Florida Development Council President David Petr says Polk County is quickly becoming a coveted location for companies looking to relocate.
"Typically, they're finding us instead of us finding them. That could be online or through a trade show," Petr said.
The reasoning, Petr said, is simple: Polk County looks good on paper.
"We're an incredibly pro-business county. We're a pro-business state. We're located amazingly well in the center of Florida. We have a low-cost, high skilled workforce," Petr explained.
Brad and Tricia Hohn moved their ski boat-building business to Winter Haven from Australia. They said it was as much about business as it was about lifestyle.
"At the end of the day, it helps us sell boats. We came over here for the lifestyle as well," Brad Hohn said Monday.
And business is good. Since their move, they have hired two new employees. They said their future in the center of the Sunshine State looks bright.
"We're here for good!" Tricia smiled.
The Central Florida Development Council doesn't act alone in recruiting big businesses to the area. Economic development councils from Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Haines City all work hand-in-hand to recruit industry to the area.