Legislative Session Begins and Local Businesses Take Note

Mar 5, 2013

Representative Cary Pigman (R-Sebring) stands among flowers given to lawmakers on the first day of session.
Credit The Florida Channel

The Legislators are coming! The Legislators are coming! It’s simple math: more people mean more business. And for the city of Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature starting this week means a quick injection to the local economy. Owner of Nic’s Toggery, Victor Gavalas, says it’s a welcome sight.

“Spring Time Tallahassee needs the legislature to… honestly do a lot of business.” Says Gavalas.

On Monroe Street, down just a block from the capitol, Nic’s Toggery greatly benefits from its location. Farther up Monroe Street, the people over at Blossoms florist shop were up late Monday night delivering vans of flowers to the capitol.

“I equivilate it to the end of Summer when all the students come rolling back into Tallahassee.” Says Metcalf.

That’s Blossoms’ Director of Operations, Lisa Metcalf. Because of the gift ban placed on legislators, and the exception being flowers, florists around Tallahassee look forward to session like the coming of Valentine’s Day.

“So, yes we had huge amount of orders going down to go in the chamber floors last night, but it doesn’t just stop there.” Says Metcalf.

But not every business sees such a boom. A short walk from Blossoms brings you to the Barber Shop on Lake Ella. Barber Matt Cornell, says he gets an extra haircut or two every out of it now and then.

“Not too much. I guesstimate probably a 10 to 15 percent increase during the session. We’re not right there in their backyard, but close enough to where they can find us.” Says Cornell.

Back at Nic’s Toggery, Gavalas is looking forward to this year as the big boom he didn’t get last Session.

“Last year, when session was earlier, it was just not as good a time. Inventories are slow, spring is not here. Nothing’s the same. I’m so happy to be back to the normal schedule I can’t tell you.” Says Gavalas.

With so many visiting legislators, staff and families the Tallahassee economy might see a bump, but Gray Stogner with Leon County Tourism Development says, his group doesn’t take the statesmen and women into account when figuring how to increase tourism revenue.

“Well, I mean, you know the legislators return home over the weekend so it doesn’t impact our operation that much. We focus our efforts on those available dates on the weekends and the rest of the year.” Says Stogner.

But Stogner says, Session does bring in so many people that hotels across Leon County are booked throughout spring. So welcome to Session, Tallahassee. Go forth and prosper.