If consulting chef Johndavid Bartlett gets his way, many Tarrant County residents will be buying more local produce and eating differently.
Around May 1, Bartlett hopes to open a public market at an undisclosed location on Camp Bowie Boulevard.
It will feature producers within a 300-mile radius selling their cheeses, vegetables, fruit and meat directly to consumers. A wholesale arm will deliver these vittles to area restaurants who believe that local may be superior as well as fresher.
In the meantime, Bartlett's The Good Food Co. is negotiating the takeover of the sheds of the old, long-vacant downtown Public Market, to help transform the building into a functioning architectural landmark.
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Delays on that project is the reason for the Camp Bowie location. An anchor tenant dropped out of the deal, and Bartlett frankly admits, "We don't have a lot of money right now."
Now, if he can only keep his optimism green and growing. Stay tuned.
Inside track on contracts
North Texas businesses interested in a piece of the Super Bowl XLV pie might be advised to get into portable toilets, pyrotechnics or scaffolding -- and pronto.
As of midday Friday, 569 businesses had registered as women- or minority-owned and had their profiles published in a guide. The North Texas Super Bowl Committee is making the guide available to the National Football League, sponsors, hotels, event planners, municipalities, and convention and visitors bureaus for their use in awarding contracts connected to next year's Super Bowl in Arlington.
But among the 46 categories of businesses, there are no entries in portable toilets, pyro or scaffolding. And the deadline for registering at www.northtexasuperbowl.com is Wednesday.
There's also a May 31 deadline for those businesses to get certified as women- or minority-owned by one of four independent organizations.
The Business Resource Guide is available on the Super Bowl site for anyone to see. To get into it, businesses must register, be certified and fall under one of the categories. (See the Web site for more information on categories and certifying agencies.)
Some categories are already packed. They include printing and graphics, 91; novelties and promotional products, 86; event planning, 75; media and public relations, 60; signs and banners, 56; and employment agencies, 52.
Numerous categories have just a few approved entries. Linens? One so far. Same for pipe and drape.
Golf carts, tenting, trailers and sound had just three apiece as of Friday.
Payroll tax holiday
Congress isn't short these days on potential solutions to the country's economic problems.
Among the latest, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama: a temporary holiday on the payroll tax for employers. A business that hires someone who's been unemployed for at least 60 days doesn't have to pay the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December this year. It also gives employers a $1,000 credit if one of these new workers is still on the job after a year.
Will it work?
"I think it's probably a positive thing," said Don Neubauer of Siter-Neubauer & Associates, a management and executive recruiting firm in Fort Worth. "But I don't think it's going to be huge. I don't see employers out there saying, 'OK, now I get to hire because I get a tax break.' They're not hiring because they don't have the revenues."
For companies that are starting to see a bump up in business, "and some are," Neubauer said, "this may incentivize them to hire a little sooner than they normally would. But I don't think it's going to incentivize them to hire if they weren't already thinking about it."
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727
Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808
Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718