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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


Get The MOST Out Of Chamber Expo

As we near Chamber Expo 2016, the largest “Business After Hours” in the area, in partnership with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, exhibitors and attendees, alike, want to know how to get the most out of the trade show. Here are a few ways to get involved in Chamber Expo.


You’ve registered, put it on your calendar and are now preparing your booth and attend. Now what? We are here to give you some tips and feel free to use this as your checklist for the event.


1. Get your pitch down.

Use your pitch to engage the attendees. You may have a demo or giveaways but don’t let that distract from what you’re really there to do, make connections! But, it is recommended to have a give away to invite attendees to drop off business cards for you to follow up on later.

2. Make your booth inviting.

Don’t over pack your booth with lots of inventory and large items. Leave room for people to engage with you. Try placing your table on the side or in the back of your allotted space to invite them in. And visually, sometimes, less is more with a clean, simple booth that is eye-catching. Plan it out beforehand in your office space with tape on the floor if you need!


3. Cut costs & not corners – know when to embellish.

When planning for a trade show, make sure you are investing in materials that you can use for the long haul that will save you money over time.

4. Follow up and evaluate.

Made some new contacts from Chamber Expo? Make sure to follow up with those people! Look for opportunities to share upcoming news on your business. Following up with those you’ve made connections with isn’t just about closing the sale, it’s about determining your return on investment. Think about referrals, retail leads, media hits, etc.

Haven’t registered for your booth yet?

Hurry, there are only a few spaces left. Contact Brittany Lamont to secure your booth today.



This is why you are there! Talk to everyone – even on the way to the restroom. A simple “hello” and being nice can go a long way. Meet your neighboring booths and exhibitors because you never know when or where your next referral may come from.

For Exhibitors: Don’t leave your booth unattended, you may miss your best future customer!

Engage With Exhibitors.

Drop off your business cards with exhibitors and engage with demos. Make meaningful connections with businesses across two counties! After the Expo, make sure to follow up with those you have connected with.


We hope that you have found this article helpful in attending & exhibiting at Chamber Expo 2016, hosted by The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. To attend, there is a $5 entrance fee at the door.

Chamber Expo 2016
November 9, 2016 | 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Bradenton Area Convention Center
One Haben Boulevard
Palmetto, Florida 34221

Sponsored by: Sam’s Club


Visit SarasotaChamber.com for the most up-to-date Chamber Events.

Networking on a New Level

Recently, we surveyed our members to get your feedback on what type of events you’re interested in. In an effort to provide you quality, top-notch events where meaningful connections can be made, we made some changes and are introducing two new events!

We are excited to introduce to you…

Chamber Connect

The new Chamber Connect event will be replacing our monthly after hours, “Monday Mixer.” Make connections with Chamber business professionals at the new Chamber Connect event held bi-monthly at various locations throughout Greater Sarasota. Enjoy light appetizers, drink specials and door prizes in a laid back atmosphere perfect for meeting your next customer or client. Chamber Connect is typically held on the third Thursday bi-monthly, making it an event that you won’t want to miss!

Register for our first Chamber Connect at Around the Clock Fitness on October 20

State of the Community Lunch Series

The new “State of the Community Lunch Series,” brings presenters from around the Greater Sarasota area to share insider information with you over lunch. Topics range from new things coming to Sarasota, important happenings and issues our local businesses need to know. Enjoy local cuisine from various member restaurants, while great speakers keep you engaged with the happenings in Sarasota. The State of the Community Lunch Series is held quarterly on the last Friday of the month.

Register for our first State of the Community Lunch Series with the Executive Director of the 2017 World Rowing Championships on September 30th at Seasons 52

Visit sarasotachamber.com/events to register for these new events!

For more information on these new events or on hosting one of these, please contact Craig McGonigal, cmcgonigal@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4034.


Here’s What You Missed: New Overtime Pay Rule

Last week Wednesday, Attorney Dan Strader of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick packed The Chamber Boardroom with members ready to learn about the new overtime pay rules taking effect December 1st.

A little history on FLSA

FLSA was enacted in 1938 providing federal minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, and pay at time-and-a-half for overtime hours. The law created several exemptions including “white collar” exemptions for Executive (e.g. Supervisory, Management), Administrative (e.g. HR Professionals, Insurance Adjusters), and Professional (e.g. Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants). In order to fall within one of the exemptions, an employee must meet the two-part test: Duties Test and Salary Basis. If an employee does not meet any of these exemptions (“non-exempt”), they must be paid for all hours worked plus overtime for any hours over 40 in a work week.

IMG_0887.JPGNew Overtime Regulations Timeline

On March 13, 2014, President Obama directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to update overtime regulations which would create the first salary increase since 2004. On July 6, 2015, the DOL issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and on May 18, 2016 the final rules were released with a December 1, 2016 effective date.

What’s in the new rules?

The new regulations doubled the minimum salary (Salary Bas
is) for exempt employees to  $47,476 annually (or $913 per week).  This means that any employees classified as exempt must meet this minimum salary requirement, in addition to the Duties Test, to continue in an exempt capacity.  The new regulations also provide for automatic annual adjustment of exempt salary levels. The Duties Test did not change.

So what’s your game plan?

  • Provide notice to management/ownership of issue
  • Analyze your workforce and identify who will be affected
  • Begin tracking hours of exempt employees at issue
  • Begin tracking outside/electronic device hours of exempt employees at issue
  • Consider alternatives
  • Development employee messaging

For additional information, please visit the Department of Labor website.

Information in this post on the new regulations effecting FLSA comes from Daniel R. Strader, Attorney of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP who presented to The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce at a Chamber University program on Thursday, August 4, 2016.

For any questions regarding the information, please contact dstrader@slk-law.com, (941) 366-6660. Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP: www.slk-law.com

Save the Date for Chamber Fun this Fall!

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is bringing the fun this Fall Season for Annual Events! We’ve got an event lineup that is sure to bring fun times for our members!

First up!

Greater Sarasota Chamber Bowling TournamentBowling Logo 1 Vert.

Wednesday, August 17 | 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sarasota Lanes
2250 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34237

The Greater Sarasota Chamber is excited to roll in a new bowling event for all ages and skill levels on Wednesday, August 17, at Sarasota Lanes. Registration begins at 5 p.m. and bowling will begin rolling at 5:30 p.m.

This event includes networking, 2 games of bowling, contests and prizes, team bonding and much more. We hope you join us for a fun bowling night in your “spare-time!”

To register, click here!

Sarasota Chamber Golf Classic2016 Golf Classic New

Friday, September 16 | 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
TPC Prestancia
4409 Tournament Players Club Drive
Sarasota, FL 34238

The 2016 Sarasota Chamber Golf Classic welcomes golfers of all skill levels on Friday, September 16, at TPC Prestancia. Registration and lunch will begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m.

This exciting day includes networking, 18-hole game and cart, complimentary beverages and snacks, a cook out lunch, contests and prizes, award reception and much more! The tournament is a scramble format, allowing golfers of all skill levels to participate.

To register, click here!

96th Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon2016-AnnualMeeting-SaluteToBusiness-LogoNew.png

Friday, October 7 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
1000 Blvd. of the Arts
Sarasota, FL 34236
Hyatt Regency Sarasota

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce will recognize the achievement of its members at its 96th Annual Meeting Friday, October 7.

Outstanding top member businesses, which have hired our neighbors, invested in the future and reached a milestone anniversary of local service to our area, will be celebrated on stage and honored for their achievement.

To register, click here!

Chamber Expo 2016 with Manatee Chamber of Commerce2016 Chamber Expo Logo

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Bradenton Area Convention Center One Haben Blvd
Palmetto, FL
Bradenton Area Convention Center

With over 175 exhibitors and over 1000 attendees, Chamber Expo is a three-hour, power-packed event where you can boost your brand awareness and meet your next customers. Hosted by the Sarasota and Manatee Chambers of Commerce, Chamber Expo is the area’s largest “Business After Hours” trade show of the year.

Why Exhibit? Great opportunity to showcase your business to hundreds of business owners and decision makers from Manatee and Sarasota counties at this combined Expo and Business After Hours.

Exhibitor Space includes 8-foot skirted table, two chairs, curtain backdrop and sides, identification sign, and four complimentary admissions to event. Corner booths and sponsorships available.

To register, click here!

Contact Brittany Lamont for Sponsorship Opportunities at blamont@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4040.

Visit sarasotachamber.com/events to register.

Chamber to Honor Small Businesses this Friday

This Friday, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce will honor six businesses/individuals at the 2016 Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business Awards at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Popular comedian, Les McCurdy, will be returning at emcee for the awards luncheon.

In its 26th year, The Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business Awards recognizes member businesses and individuals with locally owned and operated business in six categories. Named in honor of the late Frank G. Berlin Sr., whose legacy in the community and untiring support of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce epitomized the hopes and dreams of contemporary business entrepreneurs. We thank the Berlin Foundation for lending his name and financial support to our Small Business Awards program.

This year’s finalists include:

2016 Small Business Awards

Small Business of the Year
Sponsored by: Herald-Tribune Media Group 
Gorilla Kleen
Osprey Biotechnics
Sean McCutcheon Air Conditioning
Young Professional of the Year
Sponsored by: Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP.
Gigi Kovach
Nick Owens
Heather Williams
Cultural Organization of the Year
Sponsored by: Hyatt Regency Sarasota 
Asolo Repertory Theatre
The Circus Arts Conservatory
West Coast Black Theatre Troupe
Retail Business of the Year
Sponsored by: Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
The Posh Plum
Woman’s Exchange
Health Care/Wellness Organization of the Year
Sponsored by: Lakewood Ranch Medical Center
Danee Barnett Weight Loss
HearCare Audiology Center
Team Tony Cancer Foundation
Non-Profit Organization of the Year
Sponsored by: Kerkering Barberio & Co.
Cat Depot
Loveland Center
Selah Freedom
For more information, please visit our website.

Save the Date! Annual Events Coming Soon

A new year brings new events. With anywhere from 100 to 500 people at each, our annual events provide some of the best networking opportunities, as well as some of the most fun! Here’s a look at what you can expect this year.

Annual Kick-Off Breakfast


Friday, February 19, 2016 I 7:30 – 9 a.m. I Polo Grill
A breakfast event featuring an innovative key speaker and announcements about new Chamber member benefits and enhanced Chamber opportunities and goals for the upcoming year. This year we welcome Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation. This interactive presentation will stimulate strategic thinking about Florida’s future and engage business and community leaders in identifying key trends and the factors that drive our local economy. The Annual Kick-Off Breakfast is presented by Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick.

Continue reading “Save the Date! Annual Events Coming Soon”

How to Choose the Right Event to Attend

The Chamber is proud to offer you over 100 networking opportunities each year. From committees and councils to monthly and annual events, there’s no shortage of opportunities to get involved.

With so many Chamber events each year, how do you decide which one is right for you? Let’s take a moment to briefly review each of them:

Monday MixerMonday Mixer WEB
Start your week at Monday Mixer, an after-hours networking reception with light appetizers, drinks and door prizes. Connect with 50 to 60 like-minded business people at a local Chamber business or organization each month. Stop by anytime between 5 and 6:30 p.m. and build relationships at this cocktail reception.

Continue reading “How to Choose the Right Event to Attend”

Summer at Prime Time

The room was filled with the sound of reggae music and businesses connecting. Cocktail umbrellas adorned our drinks and leis were draped around our necks. Free to the public, the Sarasota Prime Time event packed in over 200 guests to enjoy their last bit of summer at The Chamber’s “End of the Summer Bash” on August 19 at the Sahib Shrine.Print

The Sarasota Prime Time is an after-hours tradeshow exhibit, offering business exposure for participating members as well as networking opportunities for all attendees. Presented by PayServ Systems, the event brought in nearly 40 member booths, many of them getting festive with the summer theme and offering raffle prizes and giveaways for lucky attendees.

Continue reading “Summer at Prime Time”