SOUTH SARASOTA COUNTY – The forty second annual Venice Space Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year awards didn’t have an official theme but it surely simply might have been perseverance via the COVID-19 pandemic.
Well being & Wellness winner, Medical doctors Hospital of Sarasota, treated Florida’s COVID-19 “patient zero,” last year.
Each Hospitality & Tourism winner, BrewBurgers of Venice, and Skilled & Monetary winner Gulf Shores Realty, truly expanded in the course of the pandemic.
Service & Retail winner, the Venice Gondolier-Solar, helped hold folks within the south Sarasota County area linked, whereas Non-Revenue/Not-For-Revenue winner Household Promise of South Sarasota County, met the daunting problem of serving to to re-home space homeless households.
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Worker of the 12 months Heather Somers of Virasana Salon was lauded for a wide range of abilities, in addition to her volunteer efforts in styling the hair of victims of sex-trafficking who’re being helped by the non-profit Selah Freedom.
The how and why of success
The Venice Space Chamber of Commerce has virtually 1,000 members, representing 35,000 staff.
Fifty-nine of the 64 enterprise of the 12 months finalists have been represented at Friday’s occasion. They have been chargeable for greater than 3,600 full-time staff.
“Whereas speaking to our finalists, we heard about their ‘why’ and the way they utilized that to their mission assertion,” stated Angela Snyder of First Worldwide Title who, together with Nick Choat of Sport Clips Haircuts of South Sarasota, served as masters of ceremony for the awards. “We discovered about lots of the problem every enterprise confronted this previous 12 months dure to the pandemic and the way they needed to pivot to beat the challenges.
“All of their tales are value listening to and studying from and what retains them going is that they imagine in themselves their staff and their enterprise.
“Their resilience is exceptional.”
Well being care employees at Medical doctors Hospital, the winner from amongst 10 finalists for Well being & Wellness Enterprise of the 12 months, have been the primary to see the impacts of COVID-19, when the Facilities for Illness Management knowledgeable the hospital on Feb. 29, 2020 that a affected person there examined constructive with COVID-19.
“From that day ahead, there have been many many lengthy hours on the hospital however via it all of the well being and wellness of our group and our caregivers all the time got here first,” stated Monica Yadav, director of communications and group relations for the hospital, which was based by Sarasota docs in 1967.
Among the many hardest hit by the following financial shutdown was the hospitality business.
Thriving after hardship
“Every of this 12 months’s finalists are to be counseled for his or her resilience, “famous Virginia Haley president of Go to Sarasota County.
Michael Bacon, proprietor of BrewBurgers, which got here out tops amongst 9 finalists, identified that “all people within the class has had a tough 12 months.
“All people bonded collectively this 12 months to get via,” he added. “It’s been unbelievable the outpouring of help from our mates our neighbors.
“We have been nervous, we thought we have been going to exit of enterprise a pair instances.”
Nonetheless after that, Bacon opted to move its island of Venice restaurant to another storefront in the Venice Shopping Center on Tamiami Path, and convert its current storefront right into a New York Model pizza-and-bagel store Brew-Za-Bagels.
Whereas the brand new spot is being constructed out, the BrewBurgers meals truck is working on website as typically as attainable.
Wayne Welsh, dealer and proprietor of Gulf Shores Realty, an impartial actual property firm with deep roots in the neighborhood, stated. “Through the pandemic we took the chance to place our foot down on the accelerator and develop the enterprise.”
Gulf Shores added a brand new workplace and 10 extra brokers.
“Simply final week we’ve got doubled our income from final 12 months,” stated Welsh, whose firm gained over 9 different finalists.
Welsh attributed the expansion to the brokers and workers but additionally to the corporate’s group connections and relationships with different members of the chamber.
“You guys are the constructing blocks that we constructed our enterprise upon and all people on this room contributed,” Welsh stated.
Because the Service & Retail Enterprise of the 12 months, the Venice Gondolier-Solar was judged together with a retail shops and salons, in addition to Retailer 0769 for Walmart.
Its place as a group connector put the media firm in a novel place to assist all chamber companies develop, in addition to inform the group, famous Michael Pender Jr. of Cavanaugh & Firm, who introduced the award.
Adams Group Writer Mike Beatty joked that he had an extended speech deliberate however trimmed it to thanking workers and the group.
“That is our seventy fifth anniversary, so I am actually excited that we gained this this 12 months,” he added.
Providing hope and satisfaction
Jon Thaxton, senior vp of group funding for the Gulf Coast Group Basis continued a observe of awarding a $250 test to every of the 18 finalists within the Non Revenue/Not-For-Revenue class, in addition to a $500 test to Household Promise of South Sarasota County and Government Director Jennifer Fagenbaum.
Thaxton famous that via the work of Household Promise, “Households regain their satisfaction, youngsters are higher capable of succeed academically and the local people, it strengthens because it helps its most susceptible residents, our ALICE residents – standing for asset restricted, earnings constrained employed households – to ensure that them to obtain housing and everlasting monetary independence.”
Fagenbaum stated that they noticed a rise in want in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had to determine how we have been going to assist all these folks and I have to say that so lots of you within the room got here collectively to assist us do this,” stated Fagenbuam, who additionally famous that the necessity continues to be there. “I can’t even rely the variety of folks within the room who supported us and helped us do this.
Venice Space Chamber of Commerce board president Debbie LaPinska, the senior vp of human assets for PGT Improvements, famous that each one three finalists for worker of the 12 months exhibited commitments to teamwork, management and customer support.
Heather Somers, a stylist with Virsana Salon, famous that she began work in November, 2019 together with her greatest good friend, salon proprietor Shannon Trammell.
Nonetheless, Trammell stored Somers’ nomination secret till they arrived for the luncheon on the Plantation Golf & Nation Membership.
Somers credited Trammell for supporting her in the course of the pandemic.
“Shannon has all the time been my greatest good friend and now she’s my boss,” Somers stated. “So I get to work with my greatest good friend day by day and I get to work with purchasers who I like.
“I don’t see what I do as a job,” she added. “I see what I do as enjoyable and simply serving to different folks.”
Earle Kimel primarily covers south Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and will be reached at email@example.com. Assist native journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.