SWFL is Poised for International Business – Learn How Your Company Can Enter the Trade Arena

As the economy picks up and we begin to feel more confident in the recovery happening here in Southwest Florida we will continue working to diversify the economic base. To this end we have just announced the creation of a program focusing on educating the business community on International Trade opportunities in Panama. The breakfast event is set for Tuesday, May 6th from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and will be held at Shadow Wood Country Club – 22801 Oakwilde Boulevard in Bonita Springs.

The program will feature Todd Gates speaking about the GATES Construction Panama Division, Max Stewart, Director of International Trade Development for Enterprise Florida talking about entering a new international market, and Rick Michael, the Director of Lee County Economic Development Office announcing the initiation of a new grant program focused on International trade.

Our goal with this program is to open the eyes of regional businesses to the possibilities of creating an international customer base. By doing business internationally your company diversifies your revenue stream which provides for greater stability in the event of a downturn, and opens doors for exponential growth.

These presenters will provide you with information, real testimonials about Gates’ current operations and a view of the state’s international efforts. We hope you will attend and see that there are tremendous support services for this type of expansion and that it can be done, regardless of the size of your business. Opportunities abound for Florida because we are geographically poised for international business. All we need to do is seize the moment.

Christine Ross, MBA, MS, IOM,
President & CEO, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director, Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council

April 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

FEMA Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Overview

FEMA Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Overview

On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 into law.

This law repeals and modifies certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act,
which was enacted in 2012, and makes additional program changes to other aspects of the program not
covered by that Act. Many provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act remain and are
still being implemented.

While FEMA actively works to implement the new law, we encourage policyholders to maintain and
keep current flood insurance policies. FEMA does NOT recommend cancelling a flood insurance
policy. Cancelling flood insurance policies now will leave policyholders unprotected during spring flooding and
may cause policyholders to lose important discounts on their rate if they reinstate in the future.

April 8, 2014 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

10 Commandments for Social Media

To be successful in social media I recommend following these “10 commandments for social media.”

1. Develop a strategy. Once you decide to engage in social networking set your goals and develop a strategy for each platform. You may find that some platforms work better for your brand than others. Without goals you are unable to measure your success. Ask yourself … what do I consider success?

2. Daily care and feeding. Social media is about engaging with your audience and being ‘social.’ You cannot do this by posting once a week or once a month. I recommend posting something every day. It could be as simple as a photograph or a quote, but daily care and feeding is essential.

3. Consistency. If you have multiple social media accounts, ensure you are being consistent with your graphic design, messaging and image. If you post something in Facebook, post a shorter (140 characters or less) version in Twitter and yet another version of the same message in Google + and any other networks that are valuable to your brand.

4. Add value. Ensure everything you post adds value to your brand, business and your audience. Post photos that present your product in its best light, share news that relates to your product or brand, share fan photos of people enjoying your product.

5. Contests. Fans LOVE to engage with contests. There are many third party apps that are inexpensive (or free) and are excellent tools for building fan engagement, fan acquisition, etc. Each platform has slightly different functionality so research third party apps and how each platform allows contesting using native functions before you start.

6. Measurement. Once you set your goals (#1), you will need to measure them. Keep track of all of your pertinent statistics each month. Review posts that were extremely popular, review the timing of your posts. Review everything that is helping you be successful, or not. Without measurement you are unable to determine the effectiveness of your efforts.

7. Message testing. Test different messages by targeting specific audiences, specific demographics, different creative, different copy. You will soon learn which form of and which messages resonate with your audiences and you can tailor your future messaging to ensure you are engaging with your audience.

8. Current. Stay on top of current trends in social media. Social media changes every minute and stories no longer live and die by 24-hour news cycles. If the news or events have any relevancy to your brand or business, you can incorporate these events into your messaging.

9. Listen to your customers/fans. The public LOVES to vent, complain and offer compliments via social media. Ensure you are listening and responding to your fan base. Answer questions. Offer advice. Do not ignore them. Many times you can diffuse a difficult customer-service situation by communicating and listening.

10. Share your expertise. Share your knowledge on your brand or subject area freely. People can research ANY topic on the internet. If you are an expert in your business area, share your ideas, offer advice, provide tips all this will position you as an expert and keep them coming back for more.

-Julie Arnold, PR/Social Media Director for Look Marketing in Melbourne, FL

April 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Dish Depot To Bonita Springs With Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Dish Depot on Wednesday, April 2nd to celebrate the opening of their new location in Bonita Springs at 24830 S Tamiami Trail, Suite 3100, Bonita Springs, FL 34134.Image

Dish Depot Owners, Mark and Annette Schuetz, bring 17 years of satellite television expertise to Southwest Florida offering both DIRECTV and DISH Residential and Commercial Satellite services.  They give each of their customers a personal experience, using their own staff for sales, installation and service rather than subcontractors.  Customers can find all remotes, dishes, and satellite television accessories in stock in the store, with extra discounts available for local patrons. 

Owner, Mark Schuetz, says, “We are glad to be in a highly visible area and look forward to keeping our business local.”

Dish Depot prides themselves on superior customer service and vast product knowledge.  They invite new customers to stop in or call today. 

For more information on Dish Depot, visit their website at www.dishdepot.com, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DishDepotcom, follow them on Twitter @dishdepot, or call (239) 936-3474.


April 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Congratulations to the 2013-2014 Leadership Bonita Graduates!

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the graduation of the 15th anniversary class of the Leadership Bonita program. The 2013-2014 Leadership Bonita Class graduated on Friday, March 21st at a special ceremony hosted by Vi at Bentley Village.

Throughout the nine-month educational program, the Leadership Bonita Class covered various aspects of the community including, government, education, economic development, healthcare, tourism, public safety, and social issues. Designed to hone leadership skills, create the opportunity for personal growth, and help participants learn more about the Bonita Springs area, Leadership Bonita provided both fun and informative one-on-one networking with community leaders. 

The 27 graduates were selected based upon their leadership roles within their organization and within their community.  The class represented a cross-section of the community, including business, education, government, non-for-profit and also citizens at-large. The Leadership Bonita program is proud to boast more than 300 graduates of the program since its inception in 1999.

2013-2014 Leadership Bonita Graduating Class: 

Maria Berdusco, Leadership International

Tess Brennan, Healthy Grease Monkey

Tim Carson, Estero United Methodist

Jeff Dektas, Lee County Office of the Sheriff

Greg DeWitt, Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District

Stefanie Eakin, Sunstream Hotels & Resorts

Matt Feeney, City of Bonita Springs

Penny Fisher, Bonita Daily News/The Banner

Tom Foreman, The Client server, Inc.

David Glenn, Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled

Kathy Guyitt, Golden Remodeling, Inc.

Debra Haley, New Horizons of Southwest Florida

Michael Harris, The News-Press Media Group

Brandi Howell, Stroemer & Company, LLC – Fort Myers

Cindy J. Cedeno, First Citizens Bank

Peter Kitzerow, Free Market Financial

Allison Krider, Lee Physician Group

Cindy Kruesi, Cindy Kruesi, John R. Wood Properties

Sara McCallum, Bonita Community Health Center, Inc.

Steven Merkel, Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc.

Ceil Mosher, FineMark National Bank & Trust

Jacqui Schulz, Bonita Springs Utilities, Inc.

Chantal Sheehan, Team Holly CPA & Co.

Edward Smith, Cottrell Law & Title Group

Nicole Somsen, Summit Broadband

Ann Walsh, Vi at Bentley Village

Douglas E. Wiebel, Wiebel, Hennells & Carufe, PLLCImage

The Chamber would like to acknowledge their Leadership Stewards, Bonita Community Health Center, Summit Broadband, and Vi at Bentley Village for their support of the program.

March 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Award Winning Salon Cuts the Ribbon for Their New Name

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for As You Like Salon, Aveda on Wednesday, March 26th to celebrate their rebranding efforts in Bonita Springs. As You Like Salon Aveda is located at 26831 S. Tamiami Trail #46 Bonita Springs, FL 34134.

Formerly known as Corrine’s As You Like Salon, Owner, Corinne Kleinberger, has renamed her business to As You Like it Salon, Aveda.  Kleinberger said, “It’s the same great people providing stellar service.  It was time to take my name off it and promote my talented staff.”

Originally from Leonardo, NJ, Corinne moved to FL in 1988 and opened her salon in 1997. She chose the salon industry because of an early fascination with every type of hair styling and makeup tool, “The industry is constantly growing and changing, there is so much potential behind and beyond the chair,” Corinne says.

Furthermore, Corrine developed and implemented a business system that benefits both the stylist and the guest, and because of her efforts, As You Like It Salon was recognized with the Salon Today 200 award for business growth of nearly 60% by Salon Today.  As You Like It Salon, Aveda is one of the top 200 salons in the country and one of only four winners in their category of planned profitability.

Changing the name to Aveda means that they will continue performing at the highest level, and giving back to the community. To date, the salon has donated $1,200 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, $1,200 to the Everglades Foundation, and $400 to Global Green Grants for clean water. Ultimately, their goal is to achieve what the guest wants.

As You Like It, Aveda provides a wide range of services. They offer full hair services, facial waxing, Vomor hair extensions, makeup, custom created perfume, sensory journey, and stress relief treatments that are free with every service. They also provide point rewards on services and product purchases, and these can be redeemed for services, products, merchandise, and travel destinations. As You Like It Salon, Aveda is open 6 days a week from 9-7 and every other Sun. 9-5. For more information, visit their website www.asyoulikeitsalonaveda.com or call 239-949-0500.

March 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

Pioneering Innovative Medical Technology in Bonita Springs

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Premier Women’s Radiology on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 to celebrate their opening of their Bonita Springs location at 27160 Bay Landing Drive, Suite #201, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

Offering superior technology with accurate results, Premier Women’s Radiology is the only center in Southwest Florida to offer 3D Mammography needed for a Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, an innovative new technique which can find abnormalities that cannot otherwise be detected.  Founder and Medical Director of Premier Women’s Radiology, Harmindar Gill, MD, is passionate about her field and pioneering new technology in the region.  Offering a range of services from male mammographic studies and whole body ultrasounds to MRI guided core breast biopsies and thyroid fine needle aspiration, Premier Women’s Radiology is committed to providing patients with comfortable, safe, and proficient service.  A complete list of their services can be found on their website located at www.premierwomensradiology.com.

Raised in Singapore, Dr. Gill moved to Maryland when she was 13 years old.  She initially wanted to work in the neurosciences but was asked by a mentor to consider the field of women’s imaging.  Taking part in a great deal of research in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Dr. Gill wanted to be part of the work in women’s health issues.  Ironically, her sister is an OBGYN.  Prior to moving to Bonita Springs in 2004, Dr. Gill was on faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine since July 2000 where she currently remains on faculty in the department on diagnostic radiology.  


Dr. Gill says, “I believe in teaching girls and women to empower themselves in their lives through education and that includes healthcare.  My grandmother was the head mistress of a middle school.  My mother is a math/computer science professor, and though born in 1942, she is ahead of her time.  She has a BS and MS from American University in math and physics and a PhD in information systems.  My grandfather insisted she go to school in the rugged northern mountains of India like her brothers, and look what education has done for her!”

Premier Women’s Radiology is always accepting new patients and wants all women to know that when obtaining imaging studies including a mammogram, breast, or pelvic ultrasound, to always consult with a women’s imager who is fellowship trained in the field.

For more information on Premier Women’s Radiology, please click here.Image

March 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

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