City to create directory of Midtown businesses

The Daytona project’s goal is to boost business in the area.

The Jet Set Restaurant

The Jet Set Restaurant is one of the businesses that will be included in the Midtown directory.

Finding a place in Daytona Beach’s Midtown to eat, drink, get a haircut, hairdo, car wash, tires and more soon could be easier.

At the end of this month, an effort to create a directory of businesses in Midtown will begin.

City representatives will go door to door to businesses along Orange Avenue, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard with a goal of obtaining basic contact information, including business name, owner’s name, address, phone number, email address, website, business type. This will be done in two phases over a 12-week period.

The City of Daytona Beach hired Gold Marketing Communications, an advertisement agency with a long history of working with the city’s Downtown Development Authority, to conduct the project.

Businesses on board

Black-owned businesses welcome the idea and hope that it boosts business.

Maurice Hymes owns Back to Life Barbershop at 727 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd (historically Second Avenue), next to the popular eatery Bethune Grille.

“I do think it is a good idea. I think it could help bring more business to the area, which is much needed for the small businesses in this area,” Hymes said.

Lakendric Flowers owns Jet Set by Chef Kiki at 854 Orange Ave., next to D-Town Food Store.

“I think it’s excellent. They need to have something like in Orlando where they have Orlando Magic night with all the restaurants and a set menu. We should do something like that to promote all the businesses over in this area and the city needs to promote it,” Flowers responded.

Jessica Foreman co-owns Saute Kingz By Chef Count with her husband, Count Foreman, at 200 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Their business also has a food truck, caters events throughout the area and has been featured on the Food Network’s “Food Truck Wars.’’

Foreman told the Daytona Times, “It’s a good idea, but that is something that I have been advocating for a long time. I think it needs to be taken a step further. We need more promotion, signage and advertising of what is over here.”

Lakendric Flowers

Lakendric Flowers of Jet Set by Chef Kiki would like to see more events coming to the area to boost business.

More signage urged

Black-owned businesses in Midtown often feel overlooked and say more needs to be done to ensure their sustainability.

“They need signage on International Speedway [Boulevard] telling what businesses are here on MLK and these other streets. Over here on MLK, we don’t feel like we’re a part of Midtown. Now, of course, they dress up the Avenue, you have too, because Bethune-Cookman University is over there, but this area needs that too as well as other events to attract people over here to the businesses,” expressed Foreman.

Flowers noted, “It’s bad in this area. We need signs saying what is here. We’re dead. We don’t have much generating business for us. Small businesses are suffering. We aren’t saying it. We need more events like the seafood festival and others to bring more people to our businesses in this area.”

Surveys, special events

The main goal of the directory is to boost business.

“We are hoping and anticipating this exercise will produce an increase in new businesses and an investment in Midtown,’’ commented Ken Thomas, Daytona Beach’s Redevelopment & Neighborhood Services director.

“If we know who is operating where, it will give us a roadmap to who is offering what services in the Midtown community. Once this phase is done, we will have a database of businesses that we can communicate with on a regular basis.’’

He added, “We will use this information to create surveys, special events, customer promotional programs and more to generate more activities in the area. This program was a collective idea of the Midtown Redevelopment Advisory Board members and Midtown staff collaborating on how to increase the customer base for Midtown businesses.”

Once a database is populated, businesses can be contacted regularly via email regarding the development of a strategic marketing plan, branding and promotional programs for the Midtown area. If a business is closed or owners aren’t available, a perforated door hanger will be left, which can be mailed to the city.

Financial assistance

Once the database of Midtown businesses is completed, Thomas wants to expand the effort to Main Street. There is already an established directory of businesses for the downtown area.

The directory’s need was also recognized when the city provided hurricane relief funds from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, which awarded businesses up to $3,000 and residents up to $9,000.

“When the city offered financial assistance following last year’s storms, we had difficulty getting the word out to business owners. The Midtown Re-development Board and staff requested the development of a business directory so we can easily and effectively share information with them, and, in turn, help grow their businesses,” said Thomas.

Midtown covers Daytona’s historic Black community between North Street to Shady Avenue and Ridgewood to Nova Road. It is comprised of the historic African American neighborhoods of Midway, Newtown and Waycross.

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