Jim Anderson believes there are many business owners like himself in Citrus County who would like to bid on a county or school project, but are either intimidated by the process or don’t quite know how to go about it.
Anderson, owner of Gemini Graphics Printing in Homosassa, has been bidding on contracts in Hillsborough County for years and wants to do the same thing in Citrus County.
So, on Thursday morning, Anderson dropped by the Crystal River Welcome Center to attend the Business Bid One-Stop Trade Show. This was the second annual event that is a collaboration among the the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, county government and the school district.
The whole point was to show locals how to navigate the government procurement process and keep money in the county instead of handing out contracts to out-of-area businesses.
Anderson said Citrus County business owners need to step out of their comfort zone and explore the financial benefits on bidding on some of these government and school contracts. It can lead to more businesses coming to Citrus and realizing the opportunities, he said.
“Diversification is the key,” Anderson said.
For 90 minutes, business owners visited tables set up in the center and talked with county and school board staffers.
The chamber received feedback forms from 15 companies, and estimated about 30 people attended.
James Malloy, operations manager for A-Line Fire & Safety Inc., drove the hour from his Leesburg business to find out how Citrus County’s process works. He already does work in the county and wants to expand into government or school projects.
“It’s not difficult,” Malloy said.
It’s only a matter, he said, of learning the process because every county’s procurement system varies.
County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith told the crowd the entire county benefits when local businesses compete for projects.
“We need to make sure tax dollars are spent as close to home as possible,” Smith said. “We want you to get those contracts.”
Anderson said he has this advice for business owners on the fence about bidding on government or school projects: “Wake up, because the opportunities are here for you.”