Bradenton Means Business: Community All-Stars

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Our last community all-star should be no surprise.

Drum roll please… it’s the Bradenton residents!

Yes, you! Seeing everyone rally together in these complicated and difficult times has brought hope and light to dark, unknown places.

There were so many acts of kindness that I’ve personally witnessed. I could write a book about it. As a community, we realized early on that we were in this together. This is a time in history that we will share and tell our grandchildren about. Although we’re not completely out of the woods, the Bradenton community has given in ways that will be felt for a long time to come.

Here are a few reasons why you should give yourself a pat on the back:

Supporting local businesses

As businesses began to shut down in mid-March to fight COVID-19, there was a lot of uncertainty whether some, especially restaurants, would survive on just takeout menus alone. Fortunately, Bradenton residents came out in droves to let our local eateries know that we had their backs. Now that COVID restrictions are loosening, restaurants are able to serve inside at 50% capacity and 100% capacity outdoors with social distancing. Now that restaurants are beginning to reopen, let’s keep the same energy and spread the word about our remarkable food and beverage scene.

Acts of Kindness

Just last week, a new Facebook page was created called  Support Sarasota-Manatee Black-Owned Businesses by James Minor. In just over a week, the group now has over 8,100 members and counting. The group was started as a way to highlight and promote black-owned businesses in Sarasota and Manatee counties. You’ll find local food vendors, event planners, musicians, artists and so many other industries spotlight their businesses. So many black business owners have already seen an uptick in customers. Last Tuesday, I stopped in to visit Paula Tromp of Happy Soul Vegan to get an order of her amazing vegan nachos. Let me tell you, once you have them, you’ll be begging for more.  

With so much civil unrest going on in our country, it’s great to see these acts of kindness and support. In this case, they took shape in the form of a Facebook group.

Me with Paula Tromp (right) I am a “happy soul!”

We are Stronger Together

If our current state of events has taught us one thing, it’s that we are stronger together. When we band together as a team, we can get through anything. Life is precious and we are seeing on a daily basis that everyday is a gift. We shouldn’t take even the smallest things for granted. Our families have spent more time together in the last few months than ever before. We learned how to be patient, how to teach, how to love, how to settle disagreements, how to have extremely tough conversations about race relations and how to embrace our differences and emphasize with people who are hurting. That is a lot of growth in such a short time. Although we have a long road ahead of us, we are heading in the right direction. Let’s continue to help those who need our help, listen to those who need to talk, give grace and understand that every person is on their own personal journey. I can’t wait to see where we are as a community a year from now.

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