An Orlando businessman speaks on the city, the opportunities and the power of giving back.
may be synonymous with sunburned tourists, but it has lot more to offer than
beaches and theme parks.
proof, look beyond the sand to a 6,800-square-foot building in downtown
Orlando. Here, in 1988, Walter Carpenter and his business partner, Tom Pinel
Sr., carved out a space for Pinel & Carpenter, Inc. Today, the real estate
consulting and appraisal firm in central Florida has 19 employees.
is a great city for a small business owner, thanks to weather, location and
access to talent, says Carpenter, an NFIB member.
course everyone thinks of Orlando in terms of tourism, but we also have the
second largest university in the U.S.—University of Central Florida—which is a
feeder for small and large businesses,” he says. “This results in Orlando
typically having one of the highest employment rates in the state.”
& Carpenter appraise a variety of properties—from residences, offices and
farms to water parks, resorts and theaters, plus many more—but the firm specializes
in the valuation and consulting for complex properties, such as the reuse of
large military bases and transportation corridors/systems (think roads, rail
Became a Small Business Owner
father, a commercial mortgage banker, and his mother, a residential broker, had
worked with real estate appraisers throughout their careers. They had always
found the appraisal process interesting and encouraged Carpenter to take appraisal
courses at the University of Florida when he was a freshman.
there, he was hooked. He majored in real estate and minored in finance and
graduated with a Business Administration degree in 1975.
graduating, Carpenter joined Rex-McGill Investment/Rex McGill Realty. Carpenter
was offered an ownership position in 1983 and, after a series of name changes,
the firm took its current name in 1985. Ten years later, Carpenter became the
sole owner of the small business.
Business in Orlando
is not unusual with regard to regulatory laws, Carpenter says, but small
businesses are subject to similar levels of government oversight as larger
companies. Becoming familiar with these laws is one of the first steps when
launching a small business. Check out the city of Orlando’s website for a variety of resources.
city of Orlando, as well as Orange County, is very supportive of new and
expanding businesses,” Carpenter says. “Job growth is key, and they often
provide tax incentives for adding new jobs.”
Business Giving Back to the Community
believes small businesses should give back to the community.
example, the Downtown Orlando Partnership awarded his firm a “Golden Brick
Award” for its revitalization efforts of its downtown property. His employees
are also active in serving their community. They volunteer with many national
and local charitable organizations, including the House of Hope, Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Central Florida, Easter Seals Florida, American Cancer Society, American
Diabetes Association and more.
Learn more about NFIB in Florida.