Busi­ness own­ers go places where se­niors went

Some looked at the de­mo­graph­ics and opened com­pa­nies in Florida, Arizona or California.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Joyce M. Rosen­berg

Some small busi­ness own­ers look­ing for cus­tomers are fol­low­ing the nation’s chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics — lit­er­ally. They’re mov­ing long dis­tances to places like Florida, Arizona and California, ex­pect­ing re­tir­ing baby boomers to mi­grate to warmer cli­mates.

Jeff Trem­blay re­lo­cated to Florida to open a se­nior care busi­ness af­ter liv­ing for 25 years in north­ern New Jersey. His SYN­ERGY Home­care fran­chise helps se­niors with tasks like house­keep­ing, cook­ing, shop­ping and daily per­sonal care.

“I thought, if I’m go­ing to do this busi­ness, it re­ally makes sense to go where ev­ery­one else is re­tir­ing,” Trem­blay said. He’d owned self-stor­age and con­struc­tion busi­nesses be­fore, but he had rel­a­tives in the se­nior care busi­ness and de­cided it was a good next step.

Trem­blay looked at de­mo­graphic fig­ures be­fore de­cid­ing where to set­tle, and found that the Sara­sota area is ex­pected to have strong growth in the com­ing years. He opened his busi­ness April 1.

Other small busi­ness own­ers see the pos­si­bil­i­ties. In a sur­vey of Florida own­ers by TD Bank, nearly 30 per­cent in the cen­tral part of the state and a quar­ter of those in the south­ern part cited the grow­ing re­tiree pop­u­la­tion as a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.

Busi­nesses like home health care providers, restau­rants, clean­ing ser­vices and lawn main­te­nance com­pa­nies are those most likely to be needed by re­tirees, said Jay Des­marteau, a busi­ness bank­ing ex­ec­u­tive at TD Bank. Re­tirees want to re­lax rather than do chores and many need as­sis­tance when they be­gin having med­i­cal is­sues.

The se­nior pop­u­la­tion across the coun­try is ex­pected to soar in the com­ing decade and be­yond as baby boomers born be­tween 1946 and 1964 re­tire. Warm-weather states are fore­cast to have tremen­dous growth:

• Florida of­fi­cials es­ti­mate that by 2030, the num­ber of peo­ple 65 and over will have in­creased about 80 per­cent from 2010 cen­sus fig­ures, reach­ing about 6 mil­lion.

• Arizona es­ti­mates that its pop­u­la­tion 65 and over will grow 60 per­cent to more than 1.7 mil­lion peo­ple by 2030 from cur­rent lev­els.

• California projects its se­nior pop­u­la­tion in 2030 will more than dou­ble from 2010, ris­ing to more than 8.6 mil­lion.

Even if an en­tre­pre­neur is fa­mil­iar with an area, they do re­search be­fore they uproot them­selves. Scotty Bai­ley had spent 30 years in con­sumer lend­ing in Mis­sis­sippi, but va­ca­tioned every year in the Florida Pan­han­dle.

“I’ve seen it de­velop and grow and could see where it was headed,” Bai­ley said.

When he grew tired of his work and thought about start­ing a busi­ness, he looked at pop­u­la­tion and hous­ing trends and found that re­tirees were mov­ing into the Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., area. Bai­ley de­cided that buy­ing a Tikiz Shaved Ice & Ice Cream truck would be a good busi­ness — not only would the grow­ing num­ber of res­i­dents want ice cream, re­tirees also would want to treat their grand­chil­dren. In the three months since he be­gan op­er­at­ing the truck, he es­ti­mates that 40 per­cent of the pur­chases have been made by re­tirees.

Rob Dunn and his wife moved to Yuma, Ariz., from South Carolina in 2013 — also to open a fran­chise of SYN­ERGY, which de­scribes the in­dus­try as the fastest-grow­ing in the nation. The Dunns chose Arizona af­ter an ex­ploratory trip in De­cem­ber 2012 be­cause they saw plenty of older peo­ple, but fewer home care busi­nesses to com­pete with than in re­tire­ment mec­cas in Florida.

Along with the ris­ing num­ber of U.S. cit­i­zens mov­ing to the state, thou­sands of so­called snow­birds go to Arizona for part of the year to es­cape the harsh weather.

“You never see many young per­sons in the area. We knew right away it was a good place for us,” said Dunn, who spent 22 years sell­ing cars.

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