Town of Palm Beach News

Town of Palm Beach Officials Hear Concerns From Businesses

This past Monday gave way to a Town Hall meeting of the minds involving Town of Palm Beach officials and other local businesses and associations, gathered in the effort to save and inspire new localized commerce.

Representatives from the Frisbie Group, Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach Chamber, Royal Poinciana Plaza, and several others were in attendance to form a proverbial think-tank, addressing matters the town is currently facing relative to the fast-changing business climate.

Despite a median income of approximately $124,562 annually, Palm Beach is not immune to the effects of online marketplace which are felt in areas across the nation. Town officials were seeking solutions, so they invited comments and suggestions from attendees, who expressed their concerns about vanishing retail storefronts and gave valuable input for combating the issue.

According to Deputy Town Manager Jay Boodheshwar, “We’re constantly looking at how we can improve our processes, improve our procedures, and really the only way that we can get better is if we get feedback.” The ultimate goal is to build an ongoing dialogue between the Town and local merchants, which includes the possibility of installing an individual to serve as an intercessor, a position assigned to assist with business-related issues.

The wide range of topics discussed touched on opposite ends of the spectrum, from reintroducing slightly-enhanced historical sites, to implementing self-driving cars. The Frisbie Group’s Cody Crowell envisions a more high-tech town, to include a virtual tour app, allowing users to navigate the island with the option to make purchases.

Town contracted interior designer and architect company Glidden-Spina‘s CEO Keith Spina stated, “Retail is not dead but it could die if we don’t pay attention to it.”

Town of Palm Beach Officials Hear Concerns From Businesses

A lot of recommendations consisted of adding appealing signage, using more attractive colors and images, in order to liven the overall appearance to the Town. Design expert Ken Walker added, “There should be more diversity to these sorts of things so that when you’re around the town, it doesn’t look like everything is closed.”

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Breakers Hotel proprietor Paul Leone recalls a similar time in the past, when he had to make adjustments to keep up with the times, “If we hung on too tightly to the past, we wouldn’t be here.” The coming together of Town enterprise leaders provided a sense of urgency, and a push for more support. “This is really encouraging to me, I haven’t seen this kind of attention to the issue in the 33 years I’ve been here,” said Leone.

Outside of new ideas, people addressed existing issues which they feel need to be revisited. Like how Town regulations and policies are notorious for making it difficult to develop a thriving business. These and many other talking points from Monday’s meeting will be brought before Town Council on March 20th.

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Jeanette has written for online magazines run by some of the biggest regional newspapers, college newspapers, and for various companies. She is most interested in local politics, music, and the 'foodie' scene of Palm Beach.


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