Shop Local, Shop Chamber 2016

15055689_891437900955955_7742470334414137963_nThe 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:

Small Business Saturday
Communities thrive when small businesses succeed. Presented every year by American Express, Small Business Saturday follows Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 26. Support your fellow Chamber members on Saturday, November 26 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.

In 2015, 95 million people went out to shop at small businesses on Small Business Saturday.

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 in the “Shopping and Specialty Retail” section to find the right shopping 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.

In 2014, an estimated $14.3 billion was spent at small independent businesses on the Small Business Saturday.


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 26.

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.

Congratulations Scott Rimmer, Ambassador of the Quarter!

Congratulations to Scott Rimmer, our Ambassador of the Quarter!

Scott Rimmer is an Advisor with SVN Commercial Advisory Group specializing in the lease and sale of industrial properties throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties with a focus on helping companies expand or relocate in Florida. He also handles othOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAer commercial property types such as Office and Retail.

Prior to joining SVN, Scott was Vice President of Business Attraction for the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC), a public/private partnership focused on growing and diversifying the economy of Sarasota County. At the EDC, Scott helped companies of all sizes relocate and expand in the area requiring a strong knowledge of the local commercial real estate environment, the regulations and many benefits affecting businesses and their owners in Florida, and the incentives offered to companies by State and Local government.

Earlier in his career, Scott held senior executive positions with JPMorgan, State Street Bank & Trust Company, Siemens, and Digital Equipment Corporation (now Hewlett-Packard). Scott uses his extensive knowledge of the corporate environment, and the many industries he became knowledgeable about while working at these firms, to better serve his clients in the decision-making process.

Scott moved to the City of Sarasota in 2003 from Boston and enjoys sailing, surfing, and other Suncoast activities with his wife, Rita.  He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Congratulations, Scott! We greatly appreciate the dedication that you give to The Chamber and to the Ambassadors. His knowledge of the community and engagement with the Chamber Ambassadors, welcoming and on-boarding of new members makes him a great representative of The Chamber. Thank you, Scott, & keep up the awesome work!

Interested in being a Chamber Ambassador?

Contact Craig McGonigal at (941) 556-4034 or, for more information on The Chamber Ambassadors program.

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 for the most up-to-date Chamber Events.

Member Tip Monday: Joining a Council

Members of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of both their business and the greater Sarasota community by serving on various Chamber council and committees. This opportunity is available not only to you personally but to all your staff as well. Volunteer services afford Chamber members a mean to become actively involved in community affairs. Even more importantly, it provides vehicles necessary to bring together the wealth of talent, experience and expertise within our membership ranks for the benefit of our business community.

See the listing below to discover ways to get involved, share your vision and have a voice in issues that affect your business.

2016-Chamber-MemberServices&SupportLogo-Hz.pngTo provide relevant and profitable events for the membership, fulfill/provide the services and benefits relating to membership and identify revenue sources in addition to membership dues.

2016-chamber-chamberambassadorslogo-hzMember Volunteers serve as customer relations representatives for the Chamber, visiting new members, contacting existing members to expand communications and involvement.


2016-chamber-governmentallogo-hzMonitors and develops public policy positions that are “pro-business and pro-greater Sarasota.”  Research is involved, as well as meeting with elected officials and experts on various topics as The Chamber’s positions are developed and then communicated and advocated.

2016-chamber-cityprioritieslogo-hzThe council focuses on strategic economic development planning, as well as on partnerships, that benefit the continuing revitalization of downtown Sarasota.

2016-chamber-ypglogo-hzCreates a platform for its members ranging in age from 21-40 to build relationships, develop professionally, become politically and philanthropically active, and contribute to the economic development and high-quality living of our community. (council appointed – membership & committees open)

By Invite-Only:

2016-chamber-leadershiplogo-hzThe Council is comprised of Leadership Sarasota County alumni who oversee the Adult and Youth programs, Alumni activities, Engage Sarasota and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. The mission is “Engaging, Developing, and Inspiring Community Leaders.” (participation by application/selection)

2016-chamber-financelogo-hzThis committee is invite-only. The committee monitors The Chamber’s finances.

For more information on joining one or more of the councils and committees below, contact Dillon Buckland, or (941) 556-4039.


Welcome to the 2016-2017 Board of Directors!

The 2016-2017 Board of Directors

Suzanne Atwell | City of Sarasota

Michael Beaumier | Gilbane Building Co.

Jeff Benninghoff | WWSB – ABC 7

Charles B. Brown, III | Insignia Bank

Matt Buchanan | Sarasota Ford

Kelly Caldwell | Caldwell Trust Company

Paul Caragiulo | Sarasota County Government

Jennifer Compton | Shumaker, Loop, & Kendrick, LLP

John M. Cranor, III | Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen

Dr. Michael Crosby | Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Dean Crowley | Crowley Services, Inc.

Lee Delieto, Jr. | Michael Saunders & Company

Andrew Dorr | Githler Development, Inc.

Pat Dorsey | Herald-Tribune Media Group

Rae Dowling | Florida Power & Light

Shawn Dressler | Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.

Beth Ebersole | Kerkering, Barberio & Co.

Ted Ehlrichman | CareerSource Suncoast

Susan Flynn | Bon Eau Enterprises LLC

Chris Gallagher | Hoyt Architects

Rick Halloran | Sabal Palm Bank

Virginia Haley | Visit Sarasota County

Teri A. Hansen | Barancik Foundation

Tom Harmer | Sarasota County Government

Peter Hayes | Tandem Construction

Steven High | John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Fay Lynne Huang | Clayton’s Siesta Grille

Mark Huey | Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County

Jeff Jackson | PGT Industries

John LaCivita | Willis Smith Construction

David Lafferty | Tidewell Hospice

Ashley Leon | Northwestern Mutual

Lisl Liang | SRQ Media Group

Jeff Mayers | The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Bruce McDonald | Hyatt Regency Sarasota

Robert Meade | Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Phil Mott | Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Dennis Murphy | Gateway Bank of SW FL

Ursula Nixon | Zenith Insurance Company

Dr. Donal O’Shea | New College of Florida

Mark Pritchett | Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld | State College of Florida

Tom Roberts, CFP(R) | A New Approach Financial Planning

Myron Robinson | Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

David Rovine | Baltimore Orioles

Byron Shinn | Shinn & Company

Jim Shirley | Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County

Dr. Sandra Stone | USF Sarasota-Manatee

Dr. Larry R. Thompson | Ringling College of Art & Design

David Verinder | Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System

Richard S. Webb, IV | Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A.

Lori White | School Board of Sarasota County

Visit our website to see events and happenings at The Greater Sarasota Chamber.

Welcome September 2016 New Members!

The following local businesses joined The Chamber during the month of September in 2016. Please join us in welcoming these members at your next networking event.

Accredited Pet Care, LLC


Anderson York Inc.

Autumn Leaves on University Parkway

Direct Auto & Life Insurance

Ear-Resistable Hearing Centers

Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute

Hawk’s Flight Partners, LLC

Hunter, P.A.

Jonathan Herbert Studio LLC

Massage and Lypossage

Overture Grand Oaks

RSVP Sarasota

SensibleTec Solutions, Inc.

Shapes Fitness for Women Sarasota

The Coolinary Restaurant & Bar

THG Consultants

White Oaks Wealth Advisors, Inc.*


*Bold denotes trustee.

Interested in learning more about membership? Contact Matt Gower, at  for more information.

Learning how to maximize your membership? Visit us at our next Chamber 411, new member briefing and information session on Tuesday, November 15 from 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Member Tip: Press Release Tool

As a benefit to our members, this tool provides easy distribution of press releases to current media contacts in the greater Sarasota area. Our press release tool is a great stepping stone for you to make connections with our local media. Plus, non-date specific press releases submitted are considered for future Chamber communications. Before starting please check our best practices.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Login at with your member credentials.
  2. Click Press Release Tool on the right-hand side of your screen under Quick Links.
  3. Fill out the form and submit!


Other Tips

Tracking Your Press Release

The simplest way to track your coverage is to use Google Alerts. To set up a Google alert, visit and create an alert for each keyword you are interested in receiving a notification about. If you are entering phrases with multiple words, be sure to place quotation marks at the beginning and ending of the phrase. This will ensure that you receive notifications when something is published online with the entire phrase, rather than every individual word within the phrase.

Media Directory

Visit the Florida Public Relations Association – Central West Coast Chapter website for more details on how to purchase a complete Media Directory for the Sarasota-Manatee region.

PLEASE NOTE: The Sarasota Chamber is not responsible for what our local media picks up or doesn’t pick up. However, we do know they like good news, like new hires, ribbon cuttings, grand openings, etc. 

If you have any questions about using the Press Release Tool or submitting, please contact Dillon Buckland, Communications Coordinator at or (941) 556-4039.

Meet Our Members: CareerSource Suncoast

Career Source.png
Give us a brief history of your business/organization.

Previously known as Jobs Etc. and Suncoast Workforce Board, CareerSource Suncoast is nonprofit employment agency serving job seekers and employers in Manatee and Sarasota counties. We’re part of the CareerSource network which includes 23 other local boards with a 100 offices statewide. All 24 regions rebranded under the CareerSource umbrella in 2014.

What are your business/organization’s core values, goals, and overall mission?

To help recruit, train and retain talent for employers on the Suncoast

How long have you been in business in the Greater Sarasota Community?

There have been workforce programs in the community dating all the way back to the enactment of the Wagner-Peyser Act in 1933, which is still in existence. Prior to becoming the Suncoast Workforce Board, the Manasota Industry Council ran workforce programs in Sarasota starting in 1983.

In a nutshell, what does your business/organization provide its customers/clients?

We provide services to meet their employment needs. For employers, that can range from hiring events and job postings to training grants and labor market data. For job seekers, we have 3 offices across the two counties to assist with job applications, unemployment filings, a networking group and a series of workshops to write better resumes and to perform better in interviews.

Complete this sentence: “When a customer/client walks into my business/office, they can expect…”

A bright colorful atmosphere staffed by some very caring and dedicated professionals.

What makes your business/organization unique?

Anyone can be our customer. Job seekers, businesses, schools, we work collaboratively with all of them to connect employers and job seekers in our community.

What benefit(s) attracted you to The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce?

The ability to reach so many businesses in our community to talk about helping them find and manage their talent to grow the business and the prosperity of their staff.

Is your company/organization involved in any community/civic activities?

We sit on the boards of many other community partners such as the United Way, ELC, the EDC and so many others. We’re also active in advisory groups at the high schools and technical college for their career education programs.

Where do you see your organization in five years?

Fulfilling our vision of bringing increased economic prosperity to the businesses and individuals who reside on the Suncoast by providing great education on careers and the labor market in our local area

What are three things your business/organization can’t live without?

We can’t live without collaboration, community, and chocolate.

For more information about CareerSource Suncoast, visit their website, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Your business or organization could be featured in The Chamber Buzz. “Meet Our Members” is a member spotlight feature on The Chamber Buzz blog and e-newsletter, showcasing our member businesses, their products, and services. To be considered for the spotlight, simply complete this form.

Member Tip Monday – Submit a Community Event

Submitting an event to The Chamber’s Community Events Calendar is one of the many benefits your Chamber Membership offers. Utilizing the community calendar provides your event with more visibility to members and visitors coming to the area. Submitting an event is exclusive to our members and must be done through the members only section. In this post, we will walk you through posting your community event to The Chamber website.

  • First, login with your Chamber Login username and password to login to the “Member’s Only” portal. (Don’t have your login credentials? Contact Craig McGonigal,



  • After you’ve successfully logged on, select “Submit an Event” from the Quick Links Menu on the left side of your screen.


  • Complete & submit the form and your event will then be included in our Community Events Calendar. Don’t forget to place registration directions in the event description. (Remember to select COMMUNITY EVENT)


For questions or concerns using the website, please contact Dillon Buckland, Communications Coordinator at or (941) 556-4039.

Welcome New Members – August 2016

The following local businesses joined The Chamber during the month of August in 2016. Please join us in welcoming these members at your next networking event.

August 2016 New Members

Approved Home Health
Chili’s – Tamiami Trail
Christine Nicole Photography
Cityside Apartments
First Page Advantage
Florida Affordable Air*
Glorious Beautiful Hair Supply & Training Center
Gulf Coast Wealth Advisors
K2 Insurance PLLC
McMullen Properties
Rasheen Davis Author Lecturer
Springs at Bee Ridge
Suncoast Credit Union

*Bold denotes Trustee

Interested in learning more about membership? Contact Matt Gower, at or Sarah Felder, at, for more information.

Learning how to maximize your membership? Visit us at our next Chamber 411, new member briefing and information session on Tuesday, September 20 from 3 – 4:30 p.m.