This new entity, headed by Robert Clancey, is positioned to move forward economic development projects that will benefit the city. It is also important to note that as Bartow approaches the 20,000 population threshold, it becomes a target for national chains. Present commitments include south Polk County’s first Starbucks and new Hardee’s Restaurant, Marco’s Pizza, Waffle House and recent inquiries from Chili’s and other national chain restaurants.
The Bartow Economic Development Council has begun reaching out to area companies to partner in bringing forth new business and industry. Bartow is already home to PalletOne, the country’s largest pallet manufacturer. Other manufacturers include Ideal Cabinetry with its recent expansion that now boasts 150,00 square feet of warehousing and manufacturing of kitchen, bath and closet cabinetry.
AAF Flanders also operates an air filter manufacturing company on west Main Street that employs more than 400 people. The company is presently looking to expand and is considering the Bartow area.
Downtown Bartow has recently experienced the acquisition of several major historic buildings that are being, or have already been renovated. Over the past six months, eight new shops have opened in the downtown core.