Mayor tells owner ‘grow your business in Tallahassee’

Katrina Tuggerson, president of the Capital City Chamber of Commerce, discussed the Open to All campaign.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

As businesses weigh a comeback in the midst of a pandemic and prospective owners decide if they should start up business, Tallahassee’s mayor has a simple message for them.

Just do it. And, Mayor John Dailey wants them to find their spot in Tallahassee.

“This is where it’s going on,” Dailey said. “Right here in Tallahassee. So it makes sense to not only start a business in Tallahassee, but to grow your business in Tallahassee.”

All signs are pointing to Tallahassee as one of the  fastest growing cities in Florida, the mayor said. He stated his observation during a recent press conference where business owners were encouraged to join a nationwide campaign to pledge that they are open to all.

Katrina Tuggerson, president of the Capital City Chamber of Commerce, delivered the message.

“What we are trying to do from top down is get everybody included in this,” Tuggerson said, “become that city that we all so want to have.”

She encouraged business owners to visit to take the pledge. Other sites that she mentioned with a link to the pledge include the Chamber’s home page, the Office of Economic Vitality and

In part, the pledge calls for businesses to maintain a welcoming and safe environment for people, including employees, visitors, customers, vendors and clients. It added that race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion or disability shouldn’t figure into the decision to open to all.

The Open to All campaign is a non-profit project. It was started by the Movement Advancement Project. According to its website, the Movement Advancement Project is an “independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality and opportunity for all.”

Dailey and Tuggerson were joined at the press conference by City commissioner Diane Williams-Cox and Darryl Jones, deputy director at the Office of Economic Vitality. They expressed support for asking businesses to take the pledge.

“Come one, come all,” Williams-Cox said. “We are open to all.”

Williams-Cox took it farther, extending an invitation for people to come to the city, which was twice rated an All-America city. Football season would be an ideal time to visit, she said.

“Come then,” she said, “and we’re going to be ready for you.”

Jones’ remarks were geared more to businesses, reminding owners of the OEV’s support of minority and women-owned businesses.

Tuggerson said businesses that take the pledge will be connected to Yelp, a business review and network site. Notification of the businesses and the service it provides will be posted on the Yelp site, which also keeps a directory of businesses.

Several Tallahassee businesses are already in Yelp’s directory. There could be more, as Dailey noted ribbon-cutting ceremonies for three businesses that recently opened in the city.

“What we are seeing is growth in Tallahassee,” Dailey said. “We are seeing businesses thrive. Not everyone is at that point where they’re having the best economic year of their life, but at the same time we are seeing the growth in Tallahassee that we projected and it’s exciting. It really is.”

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