The city of Bradenton is in a unique position to generate its own economic recovery separate from the national and state efforts. An early, local recovery would require active and energetic leadership at the helm of the city to pursue a multiple-part, visionary plan. My four-part plan to stimulate a local recovery is a coordinated effort to encourage local citizens to shop and buy Bradenton-made products and sample and frequent locally-owned, independent restaurants.
By supporting locally-owned businesses, we help create opportunities for more local hiring. The city can also play a major role connecting established and potential economic drivers in Bradenton (hospitals, Port Manatee, I.M.G and sports, construction and development, education, government, Tropicana and agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and service industry, technology, and green energy) who will be or are currently hiring with job placement services, organizations like CareerEdge, and local High Schools, Technical Schools, Colleges and Universities. These four programs, each unique, can play a role in generating jobs and helping sparks the local economy.
1. DINE BRADENTON
With close to 100 local and independently-owned restaurants throughout the Bradenton area, we should encourage ourselves as a community to dine and support these businesses. Local restaurant owners are more likely to buy their supplies and hire locally, and they also give to local charities and support our communities in so many other ways. The City can also facilitate visitors and locals who want to know restaurant types, food types and geographically-concentrated locations through a program to identify and encourage local dining. And by using a variety of media (social media, apps, mail-outs, flyers, etc.) the City can help to promote these restaurants.
2. BUY BRADENTON
Local farms that grow our produce and local businesses, artists, and artisans who fabricate or otherwise create products in Bradenton should have a means to differentiate their products when they are sold in the community. The City of Bradenton should provide a “Made in Bradenton” stamp to be applied to these products for the ease of customer identification and support of the local economy. A program to encourage purchasing locally will be rolled out in coordination with this initiative.
3. SHOP BRADENTON
We will work within our community and with other agencies to create a marketing campaign to identify specific geographic shopping areas and specific, niche products and service-related businesses unique to Bradenton. We can work with the Chamber of Commerce and the E.D.C. to create new sources of funding through potential grants to advertise the various attractions and businesses of Bradenton will help to attract day visitors and out-of-state tourists. Furthermore, a portion of the “bed tax” can be used more effectively to its purpose to encourage and promote tourism locally and target those shops, boutiques, businesses, and services here in town.
4. HIRE BRADENTON
Several of our local companies that hire regularly, often will hire applicants from outside the area as part of their normal hiring practice. The city leadership of Bradenton can identify the top hiring companies and facilitate organizations like CareerEdge to help locals train and interview for open positions. If we raise the percentage of people hired locally by local Human Resource departments by 10-20% it can mean hundreds to thousands of local jobs and a significant reduction in our unemployment rate.
This Locally-Focused Recovery Plan, in conjunction with a wide scope review of how efficiently the City’s resources and services are managed and allocated, will put Bradenton on track to achieving its potential as a great city to live and work.
Candidate for Mayor
City of Bradenton