STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The city of Stockton has its eye on the future after local businesses were hit hard by the pandemic. 

“The future is bright for Stockton,” said Mayor Kevin Lincoln. 

This week, the Stockton City Council voted to approve a six-point economic development plan. 

“The decisions that we make between now and the next 12 to 24 months are really going to determine what our community looks like decades from now,” Lincoln said. 

The mayor said the city is rolling out a roadmap for growth. 

“Telling our story, our rich history here in the city of Stockton,” Lincoln said. “How we’re committed to being a business-friendly community in a business-friendly city is what’s going to help us, again, not only retain our current businesses here in the city of Stockton but also attracting more businesses to come.”

The plan focuses on rebranding the city, supporting small businesses and attracting new business to the area. 

“In 2020, we had quite a few businesses close. But in 2021, we’ve seen a resurgence of businesses opening,” said Michael Huber, with the Downtown Stockton Alliance. 

Huber said many small businesses are still in need of support, even though growth is trending in the right direction. 

“They’re having a hard time staffing and they’re closing early because of that,” Huber said. “They’re having a hard time acquiring supplies and they’re having a hard time being able to recommit money that they make into their business for improvements.”

To recruit new businesses, the city said it will work to change negative perceptions and invest in workforce development. 

“Those efforts that are going to demonstrate to those businesses — that are looking at Stockton, that are interested in coming and talking, and that we can provide the workforce,” Lincoln said. 

Huber urged those businesses that are struggling to “hang in there because relief’s on the way.”