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Time flies when you are having fun

March 14, 2022

Quite often, time goes by in a blink of an eye. Here at the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, we are already half way through our 2021-2022 fiscal. Looking back on what has been accomplished in the past six months on behalf of our members, has been nothing short of amazing.

We celebrated our 96th Annual Meeting Lunch with a strong turnout of over 200 members. We awarded our Large Business of the Year: Roger D. Eaton, Charlotte County Clerk of Circuit Court and County Comptroller; Medium Business of the Year: Nix & Associates Real Estate; Small Business of the Year: Rita’s Italian Ice; Nonprofit Business of the Year: Virginia B Andes Volunteer Community Clinic and the Pacesetter Award Honoree: Christy Smith, Sunrise Kiwanis, Shoes for Kids Project.

The 33rd Annual Leadership Charlotte Class of 2022 has been selected and the class will graduate in June 2022. As a result, the class project will be a Glow Gala Event (get your 80s outfit ready). The beneficiaries of the event will be Guardian Ad Litem, Family Services Center, Charlotte Behavioral Health Care, and the Animal Welfare League. The overall theme is “Mental Health Matters.” Leadership Charlotte is the premier initiative of the Charlotte County Chamber in which 25 members get selected each year through an application process.

We had our 43rd Annual Christmas Parade, which was a smashing success! We had over 70 entries of floats, trucks, cars, and marching bands that entertained thousands of spectators who lined the sidewalks of downtown Punta Gorda.

Our 11th Annual Business Expo is always a beneficial and productive event. There were 80 exhibitors showcasing their products and services to 500-plus attendees. We conducted our first “State of the County Address.” Chamber members had the opportunity to hear directly from the economic drivers of our community. Definitely keep your eyes and ears open for the next one.

There were two new member orientations. This is an excellent format for our new members to get a solid understanding of the full suite of benefits that is accessible to them to ensure they get a strong return from their annual investment. We do open this up to our existing members as well for a good refresher course. As a new initiative, we’ve had two New Member Showcases, conducted quarterly at our Third Wednesday Coffee. It gives our new members the opportunity to set up a table to display their products and services and meet our existing members. It is very interactive and hundreds of new business connections have been made.

We have held 18 ribbon-cuttings for our members, celebrating new memberships, new locations, and milestone anniversaries. Last but certainly not least, to date we have had the pleasure of welcoming 96 new members to our chamber family. So yes, I would say the last six months has been fun and look forward to all the exciting initiatives to come in the next six months.

Chamber Member Networking Activities

Business Card Exchange: Thursday, March 24, 5–7 p.m. Dunkin’s Diamonds, 1441 Tamiami Trail, Unit 575C (Port Charlotte Town mall). There will be snacks, beverages and raffle prizes. Make sure to bring a gift to promote your business and plenty of business cards.

Member Event

Ribbon cuttings are a great way to meet the business owners (and fellow chamber members) in an informal atmosphere and develop those connections. Plus, you get familiar with their products and services provided. If your schedule allows, please take the time to attend our ribbon cuttings.

M’Xuma Tacos – Mexican Grill (grand opening): Saturday, March 19, 4 p.m., 42091 Cypress Parkway, Suite 9, Punta Gorda. There will be a Mariachi Band, DJ, Snacks and Giveaways. They are located in the Crescent B Common shopping center at Babcock Ranch.

Essence Nail Spa: Wednesday, March 23, 10 a.m., at 19451 Cochran Blvd., Unit 400, Port Charlotte. Grand opening – 20% off specials. Beverages will be provided.

Anderson Interiors (grand opening): Friday, March 25, 5:30 p.m., 2705 Tamiami Trail, Unit 315, Punta Gorda. Appetizers, refreshments, and door prizes will be available.

Osceola Puppies: Thursday, March 31, 5:30 p.m., at 2686 Tamiami Trail, Unit 3A, Port Charlotte. Grand opening.

Bob White is executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.