In February 2013, Tim and Sara Hale stood in the lobby of the Hammock Beach Discovery Center surrounded by Gov. Rick Scott and several local officials to open their company, Coastal Cloud. At the time, Tim Hale said the high-tech company hoped to have 100 employees in three years.
“We’ve achieved that,” Hale said. “Now we’re setting our sights on what’s next.”
Part of what’s next is investing even more in Flagler County, with the purchase of the Discovery Center building. The Hales closed the deal on March 31, paying $2,175,000 for the property, according to public records.
Hale said the company recently held an “all hands” meeting with employees from Palm Coast and other locations to talk about the future. The company provides cloud-based computing and IT services.
“We did that two weeks ago and announced plans to add another 150 to 200 people in the next three years,” he said.
With that kind of growth in the works, company leaders needed to plan for the future. When the couple came to Flagler County and leased space in the Hammock Beach Discovery Center building, the plan was to eventually build their own corporate facility. They even purchased property in Flagler Beach for that purpose. But the company’s success soon made it apparent that site was too small.
“We bought a lot at the time, which we still own and don’t intend to sell,” Hale said. “It’s a beautiful location and consistent with the vibe we are trying to set, but it just has a limited footprint. We’ve grown and expect to continue growing at a pace that would eclipse what that lot could handle.”
The opportunity to purchase the Hammock Beach Discovery Center property came up late last year and the Hales jumped at it. The building was originally built to showcase homes in The Hammock by developer Bobby Ginn. After the collapse of the housing market in Flagler County, the building was sold as part of a bankruptcy and was purchased by another owner.
“The owner approached us in December and said he was interested in selling and asked if we would be interested in buying,” Hale said. “It’s a great location for us.” In addition to the prime location, the opportunity to own their own facility and not have to build appealed to the Hales.
“We’d be focusing on the build and not on our company,” said Sara Hale. “This made it much easier and we can stay focused on growing the business.” Coastal Cloud occupies the second floor of the building and the first floor is occupied by two tenants, a Coldwell Banker real estate office and property management company May Management. News of Coastal Cloud’s investment in the community was hailed by local officials.
“Coastal Cloud has found great success in Flagler County as well as opportunities throughout the state,” said Helga van Eckert, executive director of the Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity. “We’re thrilled they are part of our business community.”
Tim Hale said the company expects to maintain its strong growth as the IT and computer services industry continues to grow.
“More and more companies are getting rid of their on-premises computers and servers and going to the cloud,” he said. “We just continue to see great demand for those services and that is what is fueling our growth.”