Land, ho: Here's what this Winter Park firm plans to do next
- January 23, 2020
- / Ryan Lynch
- / Media Coverage
By: Ryan Lynch
For Greg Spencer, a move from Aspen, Colorado, to Winter Park means continuing his company's growth — and now he has an eye on buying up land for expansion in Florida.
The CEO of Timbers Resort Management LLC — known as Timbers Resorts — moved his company from Colorado in November 2018 into a Winter Park coworking space. Since then, the company has shifted into an 8,000-square-foot office at 1031 W. Morse Blvd. and brought in 32 employees, including 28 new hires, as it continues to grow, Spencer told Orlando Business Journal.
As the company has gotten settled into its new digs, it has plans to expand its 16-resort footprint. The company is looking at properties in Vero Beach, Naples and the Palm Beach area, as well as fundraising for its second phase of expansion in Hawaii.
There is also the potential for some new lines of business, which could help the company ramp up to the 80 total jobs it is looking to create in the area by 2021.
Here, Spencer spoke more with OBJ on the move as well as what his company is planning long term:
What differences have you seen since moving from Colorado? It’s pretty night and day. The business community, to be fair to Aspen, is not a business community. It’s a great community, but it's a resort-oriented community. Even though you have a lot of business-minded folks, the frame of mind you have is skiing and having fun. It’s been refreshing to be in an environment that people care about business. It’s not that they don't care about family or having fun, but it's very business-focused, too. Bill Dymond with Lowndes and [RiverBridge Capital LLC's] Tom Sittema have been phenomenal in addition to other folks in the community. We’ve started right off the bat with the Orlando Economic Partnership because they were so great to work with and we wanted to give back. We already have had a couple of meetings with prospective businesses looking to move here because I was so fresh from making the change.
What was the biggest challenge you found in making the move? I probably put too much pressure on my family and put them in temporary housing for a year. I should have been more focused on that, but I was so focused on getting together the office and hiring people that I put that second. Now we are in a house in Windsong. I have to admit, there’s a lot of housing in Orlando, but for a lot of us who are in the Orlando area, we wanted to be adjacent. Winter Park’s housing market is tight, there is not a lot of inventory. That was a little bit of a surprise, I would have thought it would be easier to get a home. I probably should have been more aggressive on getting folks into their permanent housing because we still had a few people relocate who are just moving into their homes who have been here since December. I would have given more of a runway for people to move to the area.
What are some of the long-term goals for Timbers as it settles into Winter Park? I want to get more properties in Florida. Hopefully by the end of next year, we have identified one or two new resort locations in Florida. It’s tough right now because land prices are super high and people are swinging for the fences with the price they want, along with construction prices being through the roof. My other goal, which would kick up our job creation, is getting our new business lines launched. Our average customer has a net worth of $16 million. We look at a lot of properties and a lot don’t fit at that level. It doesn’t mean they are bad properties, they are just a different product. That’s what we are trying to push, getting some secondary and even tertiary business lines. We have the opportunity to look at a lot of great properties, we probably look at 100 in a year and pursue six. Of those six, we get one or two that come to fruition. For the Timbers Resorts brand, if we come up with some complementary brands, maybe of that 100 we look at, we can evaluate 26 instead of six. Maybe instead of picking just one, we can pick five. That will help us expand the hiring because we want to leverage a lot of what we have with architecture and interior design, but we also would like to have different marketing teams engaged and separate the development team.