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Orange entrepreneur calls out regulations, and regulators

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  • | 5:00 a.m. August 27, 2012
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  • Coffee Talk
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Dean Mixon, in an effort to squeeze more sales out of his prominent family-run orange grove in north Manatee County, is taking his cause to TV.

But this isn't a spot to plug Mixon Fruit Farms, the citrus outlet and entertainment center Mixon and his family have run for 73 years. Mixon instead stars in a new multimillion-dollar statewide ad campaign designed to put a voice to the overregulation pleas of Florida business owners. To watch the video click here.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a Washington D.C.-based lobbying group, launched the Florida-focused TV and Internet campaign Aug. 17. “We are not totally against regulation,” Mixon tells Coffee Talk. “But we need sensible regulations. We should not have one net for everybody.”

Mixon says he has delayed equipment purchases and other big-ticket expenditures until there are changes to the regulatory climate. He says other business owners he talks to tell him the same thing. Still, while his ire is directed toward Washington, D.C., Mixon insists his activism isn't about political parties.

“People can take this anyway they want,” he says. “If it was a Republican in office with this happening I'd be doing the same thing. The Washington establishment needs to know how tough it is.”

The 60-second ad follows Mixon around the farm talking about overregulation. In addition to a large-scale orange operation, Mixon Fruit Farms includes a 3,000-square-foot souvenir store and cafe. There's also a 66-seat tram for tours and a large entertainment area for weddings and concerts. The Mixons spent $3 million to expand the farm and the facilities in 2008.

“It's not any one particular regulation that is killing us,” Mixon says in the ad. “It's a conglomeration of all of them. The biggest thing is the fear of not knowing what's coming ... We need government to get out of the way and just let us grow our business.”


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