It Works! founder buys 680 acres in Myakka City

mjohnson@bradenton.comMarch 13, 2014 

MANATEE -- The CEO and founder of It Works! Global, a Bradenton- and Palmetto-based direct-sales company, has purchased more than 680 acres of ranch land in Myakka City.

His day job is leaving just enough time to do some cattle ranching.

Mark Pentecost purchased the acreage for $3.75 million from the Dick Lee Revocable Trust on March 2, according to Manatee County records. The purchase includes eight contiguous parcels near State Route 70, Sixby Road, and Boyd Road. The property links with 325 acres Pentecost purchased for $500,000 on Ballard Road in late 2011.

Pentecost said he bought the new acreage to make room for a larger cattle operation. He has been running a beef cattle breeding ranch on his original Myakka City acreage for the past two years. The now-1,000-acre-plus ranch will soon be home to a herd of about 300 Texas Longhorn and Brangus cattle.

"I'm actually enjoying being a rancher," Pentecost said. "We needed more land for more cattle."

While Pentecost runs a working ranch, his Myakka City land has a substantial recreational component. Guests can stay overnight in a custom bunkhouse built on the property, and they ride in a swamp buggy to tour wetlands and portions of the Myakka River running through the property.

"'Duck Dynasty' has nothing on us," Pentecost said.

The ranching gig is decidedly part time. It Works! notched about $450 million in sales in 2013, up from about $200 million the year before. Those sales came from the company's primary products, dietary supplements and a body shaping system.

It Works! moved from Michigan to Manatee County in 2011, leasing space for its headquarters on East State Road 64. The company will move its headquarters into Palmetto's Riverside Plaza building in the first week in May. It Works! purchased the 82,000-square-foot, former retail building for $3.125 million in December 2012.

Pentecost's ranch is not his only business- and recreation-oriented property holding. In late 2010, he purchased Stoneybrook Golf Course at Heritage Harbor in East Manatee for $3.475 million from Lennar Homes.

Ranch land purchases in rural Florida have been selling well over the past year. Dean Saunders, an agricultural land specialist with Coldwell Banker Commercial in Lakeland, said land like the acreage Pentecost purchased is becoming more popular. Saunders has a number of listings in Myakka City.

"For the ranch lands, we're seeing increased demand, particularly those with a recreational component," he said.

The ranch is not quite home for Pentecost. He and his wife, Cindy, live in The Reserve at the Inlets in Bradenton. The couple owns two Regatta Way lots on the banks of the Manatee River.

However, the ranch is always a draw at the end of the work day.

"You go out that way for a half hour and it's just awesome," he said.

Pentecost said he plans to keep his land in its current condition. He also anticipates purchasing more nearby lands to increase the size of the ranch.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtTwitter.

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