Shop Local, Shop Chamber 2018

The holiday season is just around the corner and with that comes the opportunity to support your local businesses as you shop. Here are just a few ways you can shop local and help support Sarasota’s small businesses:

Custom_Social_Post_Image_V2Small Business Saturday

Communities thrive when small businesses succeed. Presented every year by American Express, Small Business Saturday follows Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 24. Support your fellow Chamber members on Saturday, November 24 by shopping local. Whether you’re downtown or searching around the many shopping plazas in Sarasota, there are plenty of small businesses to be found.

Making An Impact

In 2017, an estimated 108 million consumers reported shopping or dining at local independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday — generating roughly $12 billion in reported spend.

Find Retailers

Find local Chamber member retailers by visiting our online directory. You can view the directory on our website on your mobile device. Search for local retailers using keywords like “Shopping” to find the right destination for your holiday shopping list.

Coupons and Discounts

Before you wait in line on Black Friday or add items to your cart on Cyber Monday, don’t forget to check out the discounts and holiday specials your fellow Chamber members are offering this season. Visit the Coupons and Discounts section of The Chamber website to view the available offers by our members for our members.

Communities United

As shopping small catches on in communities everywhere, Small Business  Saturday goes from a cause to a day of community celebration.
90% of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community.

 

When you shop local, you shop Chamber. When you shop Chamber, you support the flourishing small businesses that keep our community afloat. We hope you’ll join the celebration of small businesses nationwide for Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 24.

Visit the Sarasota Chamber’s Membership Directory Here


Facts presented on this blogpost, are directly taken from American Express’ Small Business Saturday website. See more here.

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Siesta Key Crystal Classic Begins This Weekend!

Starting this Friday, November 9th-12th, twenty-four of the premier master sand sculptors from all over the world will be competing for 1st place on Siesta Beach. The festival will also have four additional sculptures this year for both the doubles and a new solo competition.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a visual and cultural arts festival now in its 9th year and has hosted over 260,000 attendees on the best beach in the USA!

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In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.

The festival will be open until 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday nights with live music, lighted sculpture displays, and drinks from the party tent. Reverend Barry & The Funk will be playing Saturday night with 22N taking the stage on Sunday night!

The festival also features live music all four days, a large shopping village, and a variety of food and drink vendors. Other activities include the “Quick Sand” speed sculpting competition, sand sculpting lessons & demos, and an amateur competition.

For more information and to view the festival schedule, visit the website: www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.

Ready for the Holidays? 5 Small Business Saturday Survival Tips

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After Thanksgiving, holiday shopping is in full swing, and it’s the busiest time of year for the retail industry.

For small businesses, the post-Thanksgiving weekend can be particularly important. Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24, 2018) encourages consumers to shop local and is a great opportunity for small retailers to increase their profits for the year.

Founded by American Express in 2010, this annual shopping day supports independently owned businesses that create jobs and make local economies thrive.

“Our ultimate goal is to help small businesses do more business, and for Small Business Saturday, that includes arming them with the tools to help make the day a success,” said Amy Marino, vice president and head of Small Business Saturday at American Express.

To help small business owners, American Express offers free business boot camps, online “SBS 101” education content, and customizable print and digital signage. Items such as event flyers, posters, save the dates, and social media assets are available for business owners to customize and download for free to promote their business (now available in Spanish).

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Below are some tips to help make Small Business Saturday a success for you.

Embrace Small Business Saturday. “This is one day out of the year where you can tell your story and harness the publicity that naturally surrounds the day,” said Brian Mattingly, CEO and founder of Welcomemat Services. Embrace the day by doing something unique and tell your existing customers about the day through email, mail, and social media.

Treat it as the beginning of your year. The start of the calendar year is a hectic time for small businesses. Use Small Business Saturday as an early opportunity to assess the state of your business, said Kevin Miller, chief marketing officer at Neat. Do you need to hire seasonal help? Is there new technology you can implement to streamline specific business workflows? Use Small Business Saturday to complete a holistic assessment of your business operations, Miller said.

Stock up on potentially popular items. The last thing you’ll want is to run out of your most popular merchandise before the season is over. That’s why it’s critical to understand your product or service demands during the holiday season, said David Gilbert, CEO of small business lender National Funding. Plan strategically in advance, he said, and stock up on popular items.

Offer special discounts and offers. Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a great day to offer special deals to entice customers. A 2016 survey by Infusionsoft and Pollfish.com found that the most popular Small Business Saturday promotions in 2015 were limited time offers (24 percent), free gift offers (21 percent), coupon discounts (20 percent) and buy one, get one free offers (19 percent).

Reinvest in social media. When your small business gets busy, social media is often the first thing to get pushed aside. But it should be critical part of your marketing plan. Mattingly suggests creating a story on social media with pictures that speak to the purpose of your business. “Creative and purposeful content can capture the attention of consumers, which, in turn, creates shares and engagement,” he told Business News Daily.

Boost your other marketing strategies. Aside from social media, take the time to rethink your marketing strategy and increase your advertising plans, said Gilbert. He recommends that business owners create a comprehensive marketing campaign that will draw customers to their store.

For more tips on creating a great holiday season marketing plan, read this Business News Daily article.


saige driverThe article was written by Saige Driver

Saige Driver graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. She started her career at a radio station in Indiana and is currently the social media strategist at Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.

Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan and Jennifer Post. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Click here for the original article on Business News Daily.

 

Member Spotlight: Grapevine Communications

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In good times business people want to advertise. In bad times they have to.

For 16 years, Grapevine Communications has been the Suncoast’s go-to agency for local businesses of all stripes to attract more customers, get more exposure and build a brand that resonates.

Grapevine -18018-InfoRelease-EblastThere’s a huge misconception about hiring an ad agency: Cost. With Grapevine, you select and control the amount you want to spend for the breadth of services you receive. Every project is touched with the same high-quality, results-oriented white glove service by the creative hands and minds of Grapevine’s longstanding core of 17 on-site professional writers, designers, web developers, digital strategists, account executives, and public relations experts. “Whether someone spends $500 or $5 million, we give them the same top-notch service,” said Grapevine Owner and President Allison Imre. “We hold ourselves accountable for each job we do.”

From doctors, dentists and dermatologists to self-storage facilities, sunshade manufacturers and surrogacy specialists – and everything in between – Grapevine gets to know the ins and outs of their clients’ industries. They then build strategic multi-media plans to not only target their clients’ specific audiences but reach them with a message that makes an impact.

As the region’s only full-service advertising agency, Grapevine is in the business of grabbing attention, creating awareness, and delivering on a promise of outstanding results. If you’re looking for Creativity, Strategy, and Accountability in your advertising, marketing, public relations, and social & digital media, it’s time to Grow with Grapevine.

“We’re not just your neighbors in the community, we’re your partner in ensuring a brighter future for your business.”

5 Tips for Attending Chamber Expo

While we’ve been preparing for and getting the word out for the 2018 Chamber Expo next month, Exhibitors have been busy behind the scenes prepping their booths. But, as an attendee, you can also benefit from having a solid game plan in place before the show. Here are our top tips for attending a trade show:

SET A GOAL AND STRATEGY

Before you attend any event, know why you’re doing it. Why are you attending? What problems are you hoping to solve for your business? Knowing what you need will help you take advantage of Chamber Expo.

Once you have your points of interest in mind, jot down the top 5 or 10 industries that you absolutely must make time for.

BALANCE YOUR TIME

There are two ways to spend time at a tradeshow: seeking out vendors on your list or wandering to see what you discover. It’s a good idea to make time for both, but know which one you’re most interested in.

SAVE ROOM FOR EXISTING CONNECTIONS

Most people attend trade shows in search of something new. But, it’s a good idea to visit some vendors you already know. Reconnect and see what new projects they’re working on. This gives you the opportunity to verify they’re still the best fit for your business and builds a relationship by connecting face to face periodically.

BE SOCIAL

Yes, you’re most likely there for business purposes. But Chamber Expo also acts as the largest Business After Hours in the area and is an excellent place to network. You can meet other people working in your industry and collect recommendations from them of who to seek out during Chamber Expo.

ENJOY YOURSELF

This may seem silly, but don’t forget to have fun. You’re there to expand your experience and contribute to your business but you also get to make some friends while you’re at it!

We hope to see you Chamber Expo on November 7!

Presenting Sponsor:

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The Siesta Key Crystal Classis Returns for its 9th Year

This November 9th-12th, twenty-four of the premier master sand sculptors from all over the world will be competing for 1st place on Siesta Beach. The festival will also have four additional sculptures this year for both the doubles and a new solo competition.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a visual and cultural arts festival now in its 9th year and has hosted over 260,000 attendees on the best beach in the USA!

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In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.

The festival will be open until 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday nights with live music, lighted sculpture displays, and drinks from the party tent. Reverend Barry & The Funk will be playing Saturday night with 22N taking the stage on Sunday night!

Siesta Key CC 2

The festival also features live music all four days, a large shopping village, and a variety of food and drink vendors. Other activities include the “Quick Sand” speed sculpting competition, sand sculpting lessons & demos, and an amateur competition.

More information, partnership opportunities, pre-sale tickets and reserved parking passes are all available at the website: www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.

Member Tip: Posting Your Coupons

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In the slow months of the summer, you’re probably asking yourself “how can I support our local small businesses in Sarasota?” The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is partnering up with Sarasota County to promote our local businesses.

What we are encouraging you to do:

As a Chamber Member, you have the opportunity to post coupons and discounts to your business through our website. We have now partnered with Sarasota County to promote our Member Coupons/Discounts this to their 3,500+ employees! This is a great opportunity to gain exposure, reward your most loyal customers, and build up a consistent customer base by offering exclusive discounts on The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Don’t have a discount to offer? That’s okay, you can still be a part of this program by searching the discounts and utilizing Chamber members for products and services. Buy Local, Buy Chamber.

You can add coupons here!

Here are directions on how to Add a Coupon:

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  • Type in your Username & Password to access the Members Only section and click LOGIN

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  • On the Member Portal Home, select ADD A COUPON on the top right in the blue box

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  • When on the ADD A COUPON page, select NEW COUPON in the bright blue box

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  • After you select NEW COUPON, this form will appear. Fill out the information for your coupon and hit SAVE. (Note: You have two options for the Coupon Type.  You can select GENERAL, which allows anyone who visits the Chamber Website to access it or you can select MEMBER TO MEMBER COUPON, which is designated for Chamber Members only and requires you to be logged in to see. General Coupons are best to get the most exposure of your brand)

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  • Once you hit SAVE, your coupon is live on the Chamber Website. You can always edit your coupon or delete it if need be. Otherwise, the coupon will disappear from the Chamber Website once the expiration date you set is up or if your membership is inactive

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To see your Coupon and others, you can access it 3 different ways (Note: The Coupon will also appear on your directory listing in the Member Directory as well):

  • Select VIEW COUPONS AND DISCOUNTS on the Members Only portal when you hit ADD A COUPON

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  • Select BUSINESS DIRECTORY on the top tabs and once you’re there, select COUPONS AND DISCOUNTS

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  • Select MEMBERSHIP on the top tabs and from the drop down, go to MEMBER BENEFITS and then MEMBER2MEMBER DISCOUNTS

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  • If you access the COUPONS AND DISCOUNTS page at any point, you will see the different ones listed by General and by Member To Member (if logged-in).  Simply click on the “Title” of the Coupon to see more details and directions!

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In partnership with:

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