JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Wallethub.com, a personal finance social network, has ranked Jacksonville No. 1 out of 150 cities in the country as the best place to start a business.
They used 14 measurements and ranked Jacksonville first because it had the second-highest five-year small business success rate, as well as attractive corporate tax rates, a bountiful work force and fairly accessible small business funding.
Bernie Zitomer owns Bernie's Wine Stop on Edgewood Avenue in Murray Hill. He started it nine months ago after working for a wine sales chain for years. He believes it to be true that Jacksonville is one of the best places to start a business.
"There is a lot of need here for all kinds of businesses. Obviously I am a small, kind of a specialized business."
Zitomer said he's having fun running his business and the locals are very supportive.
"People want small, locally owned business and they want to have relationships with the local merchants, definitely. The attitudes here are positive and people are willing to give businesses a shot."
Lara McFall has been open at The Growing Tree, a child's clothing resale business, for just over a year. She was surprised by the No. 1 ranking because it was difficult to get funding for her to get started , but once in, she said things have worked out.
"I have had so many people reach out to me and want to help me and want nothing but my success, and I think that probably proves that Jacksonville is very community oriented, once you do get here, people are more than willing to help you succeed. They want to shop local and do the best that you can."
McFall said you have to have a plan and be willing to stick it out for one to two years to be a success.
"I don't care if you have the greatest idea, it just does not happen overnight.."
McFall said one woman's daughter outgrew her store as she tops out at sizes 10-12, but the woman came back to visit and bring her fresh baked bread. "You can't beat that."
Cape Coral, Fla., and Port St. Lucie, Fla., were in the top 13, 9th and 13th respectively. Tampa made the list at No. 32 and Tallahassee was ranked 33rd.