THIS IS MY GAINESVILLE

Born here, “maid” here

This young entrepreneur embraces her town's energy, talent


Published: Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.

I am Kristen Hadeed, 25-year-old founder of Student Maid cleaning service. I was born in Gainesville and moved to Flagler Beach at the age of 2, then came back for college at the University of Florida, where I majored in finance.

I started my company while in school, turned down a dream job in finance at graduation to stick with it, and the rest is history! We opened our second location in Pensacola in May, working with a large resort realty company in the area. The ultimate vision is to open Student Maid in college towns all over the country.

When I describe Gainesville I first mention …

I always tell others that Gainesville is a small town with a big town feel. We have access to so many resources and incredible opportunities, yet we are a very tight-knit community. It's a special place.

My favorite Gainesville neighborhood

I live in the Duck Pond, which I love because when I was born in Gainesville, we also lived in the Duck Pond and my parents had their wedding reception at the Thomas Center. To me, living in that area again is very sentimental.

A great Gainesville resource is …

The Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development — the business incubator where Student Maid began. Gainesville is home to some of the best incubators in the state (and beyond), which are instrumental in giving homegrown startups a chance to succeed and become sustainable companies that contribute tremendous value to our community.

When I have visitors I like to show them …

Lake Alice and the Bat House. Gets 'em every time!

A perfect weekend in Gainesville includes …

To me a perfect weekend would be Friday dinner downtown followed by a show at the Hippodrome; on Saturday morning going to the Haile Village Farmers Market followed by doing something active during the day (whether biking the Hawthorne Trail, walking through Paynes Prairie or running through campus) and then dinner at one of our great local restaurants; and on Sunday morning having brunch downtown with friends. (Can you tell I like to eat?)

My favorite annual Gainesville event is …

FreshSpark, an event put on by the Student Maid team. We had our first event in July 2013 and brought in 12 speakers from around the country who each shared their number one secret to success. We had about 500 people attend and are looking forward to the next one, which will be July 11, 2014.

If I could suggest one thing to bring to Gainesville it would be …

Uber taxi! We need a better taxi system for students and young professionals.

What I hope to contribute to Gainesville …

In addition to creating meaningful jobs for students, I hope to transform these young people into leaders who choose to stay in Gainesville after graduating. We need to keep our talent here.

What I've last read that I would recommend …

My favorite book is “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh. It's the story of Zappos.com and how committing to core values changed the culture of the company and led to phenomenal growth. I recommend this book to everyone who is in business!

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