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Bagelheads: airport restaurants should be local
The decision who will have restaurants at the Pensacola International Airport is at a stand-still.
A group representing national chains like Chick-fil-A won the bid but City Council shot that down. Now they are looking at starting the whole process over.
But during the first round of bids there was another group competing and they represented local restaurants now one of those restaurants is speaking out.
When you first sit down at Bagelheads, you will notice signs like this one, on just about every table, at first it looks like a thank you note to the customers, but if you keep reading , you realize it's actually a political message.
The letter accuses Mayor Ashton Hayward of being anti- local business. It states Hayward feels local businesses aren't up to par to major brands. It also accuses him of petty politics. Bagelheads owner Rob Mackey says this letter partially stems from losing the airport concessions contract. They were part of a local restaurant group bidding to open in the airport.
"He seems to have an agenda thats against local busineses thats against local businesses, and really want to promote out of town companies for some reason."
He says he feels the cards were stacked against them so we took the letter to Mayor Hayward. He says the bid process was more than fair.
"I'm sure they are disapponited they lost the bid at the airport, they didnt protest the process or the RFP, I cant do favors for friends with taxpayer dollars, I guess they just dont understand it."
The mayor says the reason the other group won.
"It was a better deal because they were going to give us more money, a million dollars more, more improvements."
Bagelheads ultimately wants our airport to reflect who we are as a community. Mackey said, "If you don't want a Fish House or a Bagelheads. There's a dozen good concepts in this town, versus a national chain, so our airport just looks like blah, cookie cutter, like another Montgomery ....just something reflective of the community"
Thank you. We appreciate you making making the choice to come to Bagelheads, we know you have many dining options to choose from, and for over 15 years we consider ourselves lucky to be among those. Choosing a small business likes our in which to spend you money is what keeps our local economy going. Local businesses like Bagelheads and other small businesses spend twice as much money in the local economy as national brands. Our businesses support local charities and organizations that make Pensacola a better place to live. We believe that collectively, locally owned businesses are the backbone of the community. Unfortunately our Mayor seems to believe otherwise. He feels local businesses are not up to par to major brands, that they're somehow not as"cool" or "in demand" as chain stores. He recently attacked a landmark local business with legal threats, and media leaks. Why, for what purpose, petty politics? If you think that the Mayors stance against local business is wrong, please call him at 850-435-1626, or email him at email@example.com. Let him know that the best way to grow our community and economy is to promote and support local businesses, not diminish and discourage them. Thank you, Rob and Jan Mackey.