By Cecil G. Brumley
All reports point to a great Bike Week for area businesses this year, but it will be awhile before statistical reports are available to gauge just how helpful the biker rally was for the Volusia County economy this year.
Meanwhile, the employment picture is starting to look much better for some areas. In a tale of two job fairs, New Smyrna Beach saw a light turnout while Deltona was packed. Granted it may have something to do with the population of the two areas, but it also could be showing that Southeast Volusia is doing better while Southwest Volusia is lagging.
Overall, Volusia is continuing to improve. There were 1,449 workers applying for unemployment compensation in February, down 13.5 percent from 1,675 in February 2012, according to the latest report from the state labor department. The closer it gets down to 1,000, the better. There are two reports on the labor market coming out that will help us gauge exactly how well Volusia and the entire state is doing.
With the special events period, some areas of Volusia business tend to slow way down, such as real estate. It's difficult to get a lot done with so many distractions. Still there are a few new things happening.
Deltona is getting another Subway sandwich shop, this one at Courtland Plaza at Courtland and Fort Smith boulevards. So far, Subway is the only big sandwich chain with shops in Deltona, but you can bet that will change soon. For entrepreneurs, it might be a good idea to look at starting an independent shop or hooking up with one of the big chains for a franchise there.
In other restaurant news, another place is trying the old Skyline building at the New Smyrna Beach Airport. GrantLee's Tavern & Grill is opening Saturday on U.S. 1. It's the second of the Civil War-themed restaurants. The other one is in Farmington, Maine. It has an unusual menu, mixing northern and southern cuisine.
The Trails shopping center, one of the few with upscale shops in Volusia, is getting European Wax Center. I have a feeling it has nothing to do with candles. The Trails has a lot of empty spaces, so when it starts filling up, you can start really feeling good about the economy.
Construction has begun on Mullinax Ford's new place on State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach near Home Depot. It includes a 6,350-square-foot service building and a 23,000-square-foot dealership building.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business in Volusia County for 16 years. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.