PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Downtown Pensacola is a thriving community of singles, families, and older adults. The city is an eclectic mix of night- and day-life, culture, dining, sports, and— unusual transportation. Businessman and entrepreneur Quint Studer is a catalyst behind the revitalization of what was once a tired downtown.
Studer says, “What happened years ago is that malls started coming when malls started coming, some retail that was downtown started moving out of downtown.”
Studer came to Pensacola in the 90’s as a hospital executive. When he and his wife Rishy decided to call Pensacola “home” he began looking for ways to make “home” more appealing. Especially for young people who were moving to greener pastures. He wanted to, “keep the talent, bring the talent back, get some new talent,” says Studer.
He says research showed that “People want a sense of place. They want that neighborhood feel again. They want a downtown. They want a walkable downtown. They want vibrancy.”
One of the biggest explosions in the downtown revitalization began right at the corner of Palafox and Main, after the Studers were told every downtown needs a great intersection. They bought and developed the intersection. They and other business people began building restaurants, retail shops, apartments, and even a baseball stadium. Not haphazardly, but with careful planning.
“Because people want to live work play and learn,” says Studer. “So you’ve got to really plan your community so your things all support each other. So when people leave Pilates, they can go get a cup of coffee. They can go to the woman’s dress shop. They can go get some sushi in the afternoon if they want. They can go get al fresco.”
And “community” seems to be the keyword in this rebirth of this downtown, where Studer says those who are investing their money.. are also investing their hearts… sharing this philosophy:
“I want a different type of return on investment. And the kind of return I want is a better community. A better place for my children, my grandchildren and so on.”
Many of the small businesses that move into Pensacola are mentored and given coaching in order to improve their odds of succeeding. For a link to Studer’s book on building vibrant communities, follow this link: https://studeri.org/building-a-vibrant-community