OLDSMAR – In June 2016, Empower Adventures Tampa Bay opened the first zipline aerial adventure park in Pinellas County at Mobbly Bayou Preserve in Oldsmar.
A few weeks ago, the Oldsmar City Council agreed to an amendment to the use agreement that will allow EATB to consolidate its operations at the park, located at 423 Lafayette Blvd., by opening a small office space at the Lynn Rives Environmental Education Center. The company will pay the city $250/month to rent the space.
The 200-square-foot office will allow the company to have personnel onsite at all times, an arrangement that will be beneficial to everyone involved, according to EATB founder and president, Joe DeRing.
“Our business address is actually 420 Lafayette Blvd., the actual address of the park, but we’ve been maintaining our office on State Street, so it’s been split apart,” DeRing told the City Council on Tuesday, May 1. “Now we can bring them both together and be there during business hours throughout the entire day, seven days a week, to not only provide service to our customers but to provide concierge service to park goers.”
The request was met with unanimous approval from the council, with Mayor Doug Bevis stating he liked the deal and council member Eric Seidel saying he’s a “huge fan” of the work EA has done in the city, although he noted he would’ve asked for more money for the space if it weren’t for the company’s rapid growth.
“I would propose an amendment to charge you more, but that fact that you’re growing by double digits, and we share in that revenue, I do think that you’ll end up with more business by being on site,” Seidel said after DeRing noted they were paying about $80 per day for their current office space on State Street.
Under the terms of the original lease agreement, which expires in 2025, EA was to pay the city 5 percent of its gross annual sales; deRing reported the company was up about 10 percent from its first year and expects profits to be up 15 percent when he presents the second-year numbers to the council next month. The amendment calls for the sum to be paid quarterly so as to keep better track of the company’s contributions to the city and also allows additional signage for the company at the facility.
Prior to voting on the item, council member Jerry Beverland said “I was totally against them building an office out there. But the way they’re doing it, I’m all for it.”
After the motion to approve passed by a vote of 5-0, Bevis spoke about the council’s decision.
“I think it’s a good deal,” Bevis said by phone. “You don’t know what kind of potential revenue you’re losing with no one being there, plus from a partnership standpoint it helps us with what we want to do there, directing park goers and having someone there at all times. It just makes sense for everyone.”
DeRing said they hope to have the new onsite office open in about 60 days.