Businesses on the way back to Poinciana.

The new Race Trac gas station and convenience store had its grand opening on Thursday. (Photo by Dave Raith).

POINCIANA – As Poinciana marks its 40th year as a community in 2012, residents have the opportunity to look back on how the 10 villages here have grown and changed.
At the same time, residents can also celebrate everything new that gets welcomed into the community, things they didn’t have before but which help make their lives a lot more convenient.
So it was on Thursday, when Poinciana residents gathered around the newest business to have a grand opening in their community, the new Race Trac gas station and convenience store.
For a community that underwent a building boom in the past decade, with a lot of new homes being built but commercial retailers slower to follow, the new 6,000 square foot store was a welcome addition to the community.
“It’s really a very nice facility,” said Nick Murdock, who lives close by in the Solivita development. “They have food services in there, and all the snacks and goodies. It’s good for the community to have them here. It’s definitely a welcome addition to Poinciana.”
Murdock is the chairman of the Poinciana Economic Development Alliance, a non-profit organization that has been working to bring more jobs and businesses to the community of 84,000 residents that crosses both Polk and Osceola counties.
Poinciana rode the wave of a building boom when the housing market was soaring between 2004 and 2007, but went the market crashed, the community was left with a high inventory of unsold homes, a high home foreclosure rate, and an equally soaring unemployment rate.
The shock of the housing market collapse also caused numerous local businesses to close their doors.
The fact that a leading retailer like Race Trac sees a promising future in Poinciana is a sign that the community is turning the corner, Murdock said, which is just one reason why so many residents turned out on Thursday for the grand opening ceremony. More than 100 local residents came by to see the new store open its doors.
“The biggest thing to happen this week was the open of the Race Trac,” Murdock said. “It’s really very positive for the community, and they’re going to be a major player with PEDA and we’re really excited about that. Chip Clark is their regional representative, and he definitely wants to be on board with us.”
Clark, who handles community marketing for Race Trac, said the company definitely wants to be a good corporate neighbor in Poinciana. The turnout on the opening day, he said, shows they made the right decision in building in Poinciana.
“It was great, and we had a great time,” he said. “It was such a large crowd, and we had a great turnout from our corporate office as well. It’s a great looking store and we’re really proud of it.”
The store is unique, he said, in that it offers a full selection of frozen yogurt, and a larger selection of food altogether.
The location in Poinciana was chosen because the company’s demographic studies have indicated that this is a fast-growing consumer market with a lot of potential for a company like Race Trac. The store is located at the intersection of Cypress Parkway and Southport Road, and right off the exit for Poinciana Boulevard – a prime location for motorists.
In addition, Osceola County has started on a new project there, the widening of Poinciana Boulevard to help alleviate traffic congestion there.
At the same time, the company also plans to become a firm partner in the community, Clark said, with partnership opportunities with the local schools and organizations like PEDA now being planned.
“We feel like we’ve done a lot for the community already,” Clark said, “and I’d like to do a lot more.”

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