Zephyrhills is part of the greater Tampa Bay region; with about 2.7 million residents, Tampa Bay is the second-largest metropolitan statistical area in the state and fourth-largest in the Southeast, trailing only Miami, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
The region is less than a seven-hour drive from Atlanta, Macon, GA and Savannah, GA, and less than five hours from Miami, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. It is about an hour away from Walt Disney World in Orlando, to the east, and the state's world-famous sun-splashed beaches to the west.
The area also is home to several major professional sports franchises, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League, Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.
Thanks to its strategic location, as well as local and state incentives, low shipping costs and availability of skilled labor, economists and officials see Zephyrhills as the prime area in the business-friendly Tampa Bay region for attracting industry.
Tampa Bay is connected nationally and internationally by ample highway and rail lines around the state, as well as the Port of Tampa. A map of the state's highway systems and rail lines reveals Tampa Bay as an advantageous location for industries looking to start, grow or relocate. Zephyrhills is directly in the middle of the region with quick access to major highways, local and international airports, rail lines and sea lanes.
According to the latest statistics, Pasco County, where Zephyrhills is located, is now younger, more diverse, wealthier and better-educated than ever.
Within the Tampa Bay region, which also includes Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Polk and Pinellas counties, Pasco had the highest surge in population from 2000 to 2010, growing 35 percent.
Businesses have taken note of opportunities available around the region.
In 2011, Pasco County commissioners approved a multimillion-dollar slate of incentives that brought Raymond James Financial to Wiregrass Ranch in Wesley Chapel, just west of Zephyrhills. Headquartered in Tampa, Raymond James in return agreed to build two 100,000-square-foot offices and bring 750 jobs.
The county also has had recent success in luring investment giant T. Rowe Price to Land O' Lakes, just west of Wesley Chapel. The company has purchased a 90-acre parcel, where a 450,000-square-foot facility is expected to eventually employ 1,600 workers.