Becoming a region begins with building a region
by Rick Marcum, Executive Director, Opportunity Florida
Last article, I discussed how this “band of counties” trying to become a regional voice is named Opportunity Florida. Well, Opportunity Florida’s story is very similar to a Dr. Seuss story I used to read to my kids -- Horton Hears a Who. In many ways Opportunity Florida is like the “Who-person” trying to get us all to shout that “We are here!! We are here!!” You can’t expand your economy if you’re not seen or heard. And today’s technology allows us to much more easily be seen and heard than ever before.
The Internet is today’s trade route. If you look at history, you will see that towns that prospered most sat on or about a “trade route.” Trade routes have included caravans, ocean and river routes, stagecoach routes, railroad lines, Interstate highways, etc. But today, the Internet allows someone to sell a product made in Bristol, Fla., to a consumer in Paris, France.
For example, if I live in Bristol and my business were raising and smoking turkeys, I could sell those turkeys from a Web site… with payment received and processed by a bank…put in my account…all in less than five minutes. Then all I have to do is make sure that my UPS or FedEX paperwork is correct….bingo bango…I am a dot com business. What d’ya think about that?
Well, know this…each month more business is conducted over the Internet than the month before and so on and so on. More and more people are learning how to buy products over the Internet with each month that passes. I call that a “trade route,” and we need to be active in it. (In an upcoming article I will tell you how Opportunity Florida is going to make it possible for every business…big or small… to have a Web page…dirt cheap!!)
Now this is where I need help. In building our regional Internet presence, I am trying to gather information/photos for our Web site, www.opportunityflorida.com . Every single incorporated town in the eight counties has a page with a place for valuable information…and that is where you can help. If you have any information that applies to the categories identified on the city pages, please send it to us.
We need photos of these communities, as well. Opportunity Florida is not paying for this stuff…cuz we’re doing it for the counties’ and towns’ benefit. So, if you want to be a part of our regional effort, send your information or photos (identify the scene on the back of the photo) to:
P. O. Box 60
Chipley, FL 32405
Please help us tell the world, “We are here…we are here!!” Stay tuned…much more to come.
John P. Gardner, Jr., is a third-generation attorney in South Carolina with 25 years' practice as a criminal attorney, eight years' experience in the S. C. General Assembly and four years service as a state highway commissioner. He also co-authored Chicken Soup for the Entrpreneurial Soul.
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