Downtown Tallahassee businesses booming as legislative session begins
January 13, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Local businesses in Tallahassee's downtown see a major economic impact when Florida's lawmakers come to town for the annual legislative session.
The session brings many people to town, putting heads in beds at hotels, and hungry people in restaurants.
Businesses located downtown have an influx of people right in their backyards.
"Everything picks up, everything's busier. It goes up 20%, 30% from our normal sales," said Metro Deli owner Rob Bazemore. "We get a real big pop in the beginning, and then it kind of steadies, and then it goes crazy at the end for a little while."
Metro Deli is now on its 17th legislative session.
"Even if it's not busy inside, typically we have five guys running delivery," said Bazemore.
Bazemore says he appreciates his veteran employees during the busy time, who have learned to be ready for anything.
"A lot of the staff has been here from year to year but we gear up with a little extra staff for lunch, extra product, extra everything basically just to be ready for what, we know what's coming!" he said.
Bazemore says he doesn't rely on these two months to make the year, but they certainly help. He's happy to have session, and see lawmakers keep coming back to his business.
"A lot of them are kind of used to the system, used to the menu. It is funny to see some of the new people come in, it's kind of hectic, but it's controlled chaos," he said.
Across the street from Metro Deli, Il Lusso is on its second legislative session.
"Our location is very beneficial to benefit from the traffic that session generates," said co-owner Craig Richardson.
Richardson says, by looking at reservations alone, it's clear that this week will be busy.
"Representatives that are elected and their staffs, and the people coming up to promote their causes, there's going to definitely be a lot of people in town so we hope to benefit from that," Richardson said.
Bazemore offered advice for new businesses when navigating the busy time.
"Be ready to kind of roll with the punches, don't be too set in how you think it's going to go. Be flexible."