West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
 
West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Celebrating Extraordinary Women rescheduled to October 16

Tue, August 21, 2018

Celebrating Extraordinary Women rescheduled to October 16

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Due to a scheduling conflict, tonight's Celebrating Extraordinary Women event has been postponed. The event has been rescheduled to October 16 at Oakland Meeting Hall, and will still feature guest speaker Donna Orender of the WNBA, PGA Tour, and TEDx Talks. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Vote YES on Orange County schools one-mill property tax renewal

Fri, August 17, 2018

Vote YES on Orange County schools one-mill property tax renewal

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Posted By

Stina D’Uva

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The 2018 Florida primary election is rapidly approaching and there are many issues for voters to research. One of the most important issues this year concerns our local schools and students. I encourage Orange County voters to vote YES on the Orange County schools one-mill property tax renewal. 

The renewal of the one-mill property tax supports our school system by allowing OCPS to retain highly qualified teachers, protect arts and athletic programs, and support strong academic programs and student activities. As a past PTA, PTSA President and SAC Chair, I know how important community support for our schools is and will always be. With workforce development taking on ever-increasing importance, a successful school system is just one of the many assets we have that makes Orange County stand out in the region and state as a great place for business.

OCPS has shown that it is using these funds efficiently to improve the future for our local students. Since 2011, graduation rates have risen from 82.9% to 93.8%. OCPS is consistently recognized for its fiscal responsibility, receiving the Governor's Sterling award three times since 2014 for organizational efficiency.

Our community support for this tax has been invaluable and I hope we will support its renewal. I am proud that the West Orange Chamber Board of directors is supporting this initiative, so vote yes for the School Board Question on the August 28 primary ballot.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Orange County early voting begins Friday, August 17

Fri, August 17, 2018

Orange County early voting begins Friday, August 17

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As one of the convenient ways to vote, the Florida Legislature allows voters to cast a ballot prior to Election Day at any designated Early Voting Center. Unlike Election Day when a voter must vote in his or her designated polling place, a voter can vote at any Early Voting Center. In Orange County, early voting will take place from Friday, August 17 to Sunday, August 26 from 10am to 6pm. 

Find an Early Voting Center | View WOPA-endorsed candidates & issues

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Food + Prosperity “To Strengthen Our Core”

Tue, August 14, 2018

Food + Prosperity “To Strengthen Our Core”

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Prepared by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council

For five years, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council has been partnering with our local jurisdictions to conduct health impact assessments and food systems initiatives. It is through these partnerships that we have begun to explore the relationship between the built environment, health outcomes, and economic development in our region’s communities. With these analyses, the Council can harness what we learn and begin to integrate the data into other programs and identify opportunities to advance and grow our local food sector by expanding opportunities for a more broadly shared prosperity.

At the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council Board meeting in July, Luis Nieves-Ruiz detailed the progression of the aforementioned partnerships in health and wellbeing. As the only appointed ULI Health Leader from Florida, a founding member of Good Food Central Florida (a food policy council), and now one of eight nationally recognized regional fellows for food economies, Luis has brought to light a discussion about the ways in which we can strengthen regional food systems and how they can be harnessed to create economic development opportunities. By utilizing a whole-systems approach and working to inventory our eight county food production assets including agricultural lands, processor and packaging warehouses, distribution centers, and commercial kitchens, as well as policy barriers to system development, we can identify areas where investments can increase quality of life. Land use professionals can further discuss identified investments or modifications to the built environment as an opportunity to create land use policies and regulations that promote connectivity, walkability, and access that will improve community health outcomes. As a champion of urban agriculture, Commissioner Sheehan offered support by stating, “As someone who believes in local food systems, it is good to have the support of the Planning Council to offer a regional perspective that illustrates the impact of these new emerging ideas.” By providing this support in the form of best practices or direct technical assistance, the regional planning council can help to build capacity of local governments and facilitate policy alignment across jurisdictions.

The cities and counties in this region are on the frontlines of nearly every global challenge and the planning council continues to bring together communities to develop strategies to collectively solve them. Bouncing Forward, resilience, requires intention to unite our systemic strengths.

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Mon, August 13, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Abacus Bookkeeping, LLC

AMD Care Management, Inc.

Corwin's Personal Chef & Catering Services 

Crown Property Holdings, Inc

Dragonfly Robata Grill and Sushi

DV8 Computing & Consulting, Inc.

Edward Jones - Robert J. Oglesby

Herring Consulting Co.

Lanah Publishing 

Roy's Restaurant

Vision Construction Company

ENHANCED

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Home2 Suites Orlando South Park

The Whole Enchilada

T-Mobile

ELITE

WonderWorks

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Bears Who Care

ASSOCIATE

Jodi Knapp - Suzi Karr Realty

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Barfield Insurance

Benchmark Real Estate Group, Inc.

Boyette, Cummins & Nailos, PLLC

Collison Carey Hand Funeral Home

Floor Coverings International

Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association

High Line Car Sales, Inc.

IHOP-Pine Hills

Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic

Latham, Shuker, Eden & Beaudine, LLP

Mark's Floors LLC

OVA/TBVA

Pat Orr with Beyond Beautiful 

RusTeak

Smart Fitness

Success Investment Realty

The Attic Door

Toll Brothers Inc.

Two Men And A Truck

UNO Chicago Grill - Winter Garden

Viking SupplyNet

West Orange Cinema

Windermere Allergy & Asthma

ENHANCED

American Liberty Mortgage

Charles Schwab

Coggan Realty LLC

European Wax Center

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Ocoee

Orange Irrigation and Drainage

PremierMED - Family and Sports Medicine

Signs Now Orlando

Sunbelt Rentals

Tremaine Boyd LLC

ELITE

Jeremiah's Italian Ice of Westside Shoppes

Marriott - TownePlace Suites 

Sonata West

Jeremiah's Italian Ice at The Grove

Marriott - SpringHill Suites

Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living

WithumSmith+Brown, PC

WSP USA

EXCLUSIVE

Waste Connections

American I.T. Solutions Inc.

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

West Orange Times & Observer

Windermere Observer

Observer Media Group

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Walmart Neighborhood Market #2499

Walmart Neighborhood Market #4211

Walmart Neighborhood Market #4425

Walmart Super Center #110

Walmart Super Center #1220

Walmart Super Center #4332

Walmart Super Center #4588

Walmart Super Center #908

Walmart Super Center #942

Walmart

COMMUNITY PARTNER

American Legion Post #63 - Hugh T. Gregory

HAPCO Music Foundation

Orange County Property Appraiser

West Orange Junior Service League

SCHOOL

Central Florida Preparatory School

Bridgewater Middle School

Kid's Community College

Lakeview Middle School

Office of the Chief of High Schools - OCPS

SunRidge Elementary School

ASSOCIATE

Claire Gaydos

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Your Opinion Matters:  Help Us Make Florida More Competitive in 2018

Wed, August 08, 2018

Your Opinion Matters:  Help Us Make Florida More Competitive in 2018

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From the Florida Chamber of Commerce

We realize there is an important election between now and next year’s legislative session, but our full time business advocacy team is already building the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 legislative and competitiveness agenda and we are seeking your important input. 

Each year, the Florida Chamber presents the legislature and executive branches of government with a policy roadmap for how to grow Florida’s economy. The Florida Chamber’s Business Agenda is a member-driven, pro-jobs agenda based on sound policy and built by thousands of chamber members, local chambers, and partnering associations.

During his eight years in office, Governor Rick Scott signed all 138 Florida Chamber-backed bills you helped us encourage the legislature to send him. With your guidance, we’ll keep fighting for policies that lower your costs and help you grow our economy.
 
Please take a few minutes to tell us what your business needs from your elected officials to help your company and employees prosper. Please complete our short survey and help us set Florida’s 2019 Business Agenda today.

If you have any questions about the Florida Chamber’s 2019 Business Agenda or about how the Florida Chamber can help you, please contact me at (850) 521-1288 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Do Your Part to Help Secure Florida's Future

Click HERE or the button below and help shape Florida's future.

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Candidates make final pitch at 2018 Hob Nob & Straw Poll

Thu, August 02, 2018

Candidates make final pitch at 2018 Hob Nob & Straw Poll

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The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) hosted its 2018 Hob Nob & Straw Poll on August 2, 2018, providing candidates with a platform to state their case to potential voters. Over 250 attendees cast their votes in the Straw Poll that utilized voting machines provided by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. This event was the final Straw Poll held in the area before the August 28 Florida primary election. As in years past, the results of this Straw Poll are viewed as a gauge for the primary. The results of the Straw Poll were as follows:

  • U.S. Senator: Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente 10, Bill Nelson 101, Rick Scott 145
  • U.S. Representative District 10: Wade Darius 49, Val Demings 171
  • Governor: Ron DeSantis 56, Andrew Gillum 21, Gwen Graham 45, Jeff Greene 8, Chris King 17, Philip Levine 12, Adam H. Putnam 97
  • Attorney General: Ashley Moody 131, Sean Shaw 45, Ryan Torrens 23, Frank White 34
  • Chief Financial Officer: Jimmy Patronis 127, Jeremy Ring 81
  • Commissioner of Agriculture: Matt Caldwell 47, Nicole “Nikki” Fried 54, Denise Grimsley 53, Mike McCalister 14, Jeffrey Duane Porter 9, Baxter Troutman 15, Roy David Walker 10
  • State Representative District 44: Margaret Melanie Gold 49, Robert “Bobby O” Olszewski 97, Geraldine F. Thompson 89
  • Sheriff: Jose “Joe” Lopez 75, John W. Mina 149, Darryl B. Sheppard 17
  • 9th Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 15: Jeff Ashton 146, Howard Friedman 84
  • 9th Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 26: Joseph Haynes Davis 60, Tom Young 135
  • 9th Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 41: Lorraine Elizabeth DeYoung 11, Dean Mosley 90, Laura Shaffer 101
  • County Judge Group 11: Adam McGinnis 145, Doricia “Dori” Miller Rivas 54
  • Orange County Mayor: Pete Clarke 60, Jerry L. Demings 129, Rob Panepinto 64
  • Orange County Commissioner, District 2: Fred Brummer 48, Mark Byrd 86, Christine Moore 66, Patricia Rumph 27
  • Orange County Commissioner, District 3: Pete Crotty 72, Bobby Lance 27, Bill Moore 22, Eric Rollings 28, Mayra Uribe 61, Randy Whiting 2
  • Orange County Commissioner, District 4: Kevin Ballinger 27, Maribel Gomez Cordero 24, Susan Makowski 98, Gina Perez-Calhoun 26, Nicolette Springer 23
  • Orange County Commissioner, District 6: Robin Denise Harris 72, Victoria Siplin 132
  • School Board Chair: Matthew J. Fitzpatrick 34, Teresa Jacobs 133, Robert Allen Prater 11, Nancy Robbinson 70
  • School Board Member District 1: Angie Gallo 98, Terry Rooth 23, Heather Traynham 51
  • School Board Member District 2: Sara Au 39, Jacqueline Centeno 20, David Grimm 14, Chadwick Hardee 67, Johanna Lopez 31, Eric S. “Lighthouse” Martin 8
  • School Board Member District 3: Michael Daniels 40, Linda Kobert 132
  • School Board Member District 6: Karen Castor Dentel 87, Patricia Fox 77, Charlene Roberts Norato 20
  • School Board Member District 7: Chan-Denise Budhoo 24, Melissa Mitchell Byrd 94, Jeffery Lynn Richardson 7, Eric Schwalbach 70
  • Soil and Water Conservation District 4: Dawn C. Curtis 67, Derek Ryan 104
  • School Board Question - The School Board of Orange County, Florida Ad Valorem Millage Election: Yes 175, No 51
  • No. 1 Constitutional Amendment - Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption: Yes 121, No 83
  • No. 2 Constitutional Amendment - Limitations on Property Tax Assessments: Yes 124, No 66
  • No. 3 Constitutional Amendment - Voter Control of Gambling in Florida: Yes 136, No 60
  • No. 4 Constitutional Amendment - Voting Restoration Amendment: Yes 119, No 76
  • No. 5 Constitutional Amendment - Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees: Yes 112, No 80
  • No. 6 Constitutional Revision - Rights of Crime Victims; Judges: Yes 122, No 67
  • No. 7 Constitutional Revision - First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities: Yes 139, No 57
  • No. 8 Constitutional Revision - Schools Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools: Yes 130, No 72
  • No. 9 Constitutional Revision - Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces: Yes 109, No 88
  • No. 10 Constitutional Revision - State and Local Government Structure and Operation: Yes 108, No 76
  • No. 11 Constitutional Revision - Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes: Yes 110, No 73
  • No. 12 Constitutional Revision - Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers: Yes 133, No 59
  • No. 13 Constitutional Revision - Ends Dog Racing: Yes 119, No 80

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Watch our first installment of #StinaSays!

Thu, August 02, 2018

Watch our first installment of #StinaSays!

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We hope you enjoy the first edition of #StinaSays! This month, Stina encourages you to vote YES on the renewal of a one-mill property tax to support Orange County Public Schools, get ready for our next Celebrating Extraordinary Women event, featuring Donna Orender, and more!

Helpful links:

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Take advantage of the 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

Tue, July 24, 2018

Take advantage of the 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

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The 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. This sales tax holiday begins Friday, August 3, 2018, and runs through Sunday, August 5, 2018.

During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including: certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item.

For more information and a list of qualifying items, please click here.

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » The West Orange Chamber facilitates leadership opportunities

Tue, July 24, 2018

The West Orange Chamber facilitates leadership opportunities

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As you know, the West Orange Chamber’s motto is “Facilitating Opportunity,” and right now, the Chamber is offering a pair of terrific opportunities for you to take the next step as a leader in the West Orange Community.

Would you like to be at the forefront of change and progress in West Orange County? If you are a Chamber member interested in taking an active role leading our local business community, please consider applying for the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) 2019 Board of Directors. This is your opportunity to make a difference in West Orange County and contribute to an organization that works for you every day.

To begin your journey as a potential WOCC Board of Director, download the Expression of Interest Form here. Completed forms can be faxed to 407-656-0221 or emailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The deadline for application is August 16, 2018 by 12:00pm.

Looking to build leadership experience and take a leap forward in your career? The West Orange Foundation’s Leadership West Orange program, facilitated by the West Orange Chamber, could be the perfect opportunity for you. Leadership West Orange is an annual program that brings a group of Chamber members together for a variety of sessions. These sessions are held monthly and the primary mission is to raise the awareness of the key segments of the total West Orange community. Days are a combination of lectures, tours, hands-on experience and behind-the-scenes activities.

This program began in 1994 and has been experienced by more than 400 local leaders. The mission of the Leadership West Orange program is, “To educate business leaders to better serve the West Orange community; To develop leaders and build a quality community.”  Each month the class focuses on a certain aspect of West Orange County, examining the environment, economic development, government, media, healthcare and education by participating in a monthly field trip.

For more information about the Leadership West Orange program, contact Krista Carter at 407-656-1304 ext. 6 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

Joe Alarie, WOCC ChairmanSincerely,

Joe Alarie

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Orange County Supervisor of Elections announces polling place changes

Wed, July 18, 2018

Orange County Supervisor of Elections announces polling place changes

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On Monday, July 16, the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office began mailing new voter information cards to Orange County voters whose polling places have changed for the 2018 elections.

“We encourage everyone to check their registration information and update their voter record before election day, if needed,” said Bill Cowles, Orange County Supervisor of Elections. “This will save the voter time on election day and will ensure they receive important election mailings.”

All voters affected by the below polling place changes will receive a new voter information card and official sample ballot reflecting this new information. Voters can also find their sample ballot at orangcountyvotes.com. Voters can review and update their information at any time on the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website – orangecountyvotes.com – or call the office at (407) 836-VOTE (8683).

Polling place changes affect the following West Orange precincts:

  • Precinct 130 will move to Lake Whitney Elementary School at 1351 Windermere Road from Windermere Seventh Day Adventist Church.
  • Precinct 138 will move to Stoneybrook West Golf Club at 15501 Towne Commons Boulevard from Oasis Community Church.
  • Precinct 140 will move to Water Conserv II Distribution Center at 17498 McKinney Road from Orange County National Golf Center.
  • Precinct 215 will move to New Life Church at 3311 N Powers Drive from Orlando Baptist Temple.
  • Precinct 219 will move to West Oaks Mall at 9401 W Colonial Drive from New Life Church.
  • Precinct 220 will move to Woman’s Club of Ocoee at 4 N Lakewood Avenue from Ocoee Lakeshore Center.

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Axiom Bank designated as SBA “Preferred Lender”

Fri, July 13, 2018

Axiom Bank designated as SBA “Preferred Lender”

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Axiom Bank, N.A., a leading community bank headquartered in Maitland, was recently named a “Preferred Lender” by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This designation allows it to expedite the loan-approval process for commercial customers.

Customers seeking an SBA 7(a) loan typically must wait up to several weeks for the SBA to approve loan requests, after preliminary approval from the bank. The Preferred Lender program streamlines the process by granting the bank the final authority to underwrite and approve the loan on behalf of SBA. To achieve this designation, Axiom Bank was required to meet specific metrics demonstrating its expertise and ability to handle a large volume of SBA loans. The bank maintains dedicated resources to SBA. Its VP, SBA Manager is Scott Amatuccio.

“Time is money, and by removing uncertainty from the equation, we empower our customers to confidently take the steps they need to grow their businesses,” said Ted Sheppe, Executive Vice President of commercial banking for Axiom Bank. “This designation is a testament to Axiom Bank’s financial strength and our commitment to helping small businesses prosper.”

Achieving Preferred Lender status is part of Axiom Bank’s ongoing growth strategy, which also includes acquisitions; branch expansions (the most recent of which is located in Orange County’s Hamlin development); the launch of AxiomGO, a checkless checking account with a cutting-edge mobile banking app; and the addition of staff with specialty expertise.

To contact Scott Amatuccio about SBA qualifications and loans, call 407-636-8439, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Apply to the WOCC Board of Directors to expand your influence in the West Orange business community

Tue, July 10, 2018

Apply to the WOCC Board of Directors to expand your influence in the West Orange business community

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Would you like to be at the forefront of change and progress in West Orange County? If you are a Chamber Member who is passionate about our local business community, please consider applying for the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) 2019 Board of Directors. This is your opportunity to make a difference in West Orange County and contribute to an organization that works for you every day.

The Board of Directors is the policy-making panel for the WOCC. Its members include a diverse mix of 33 business professionals from large, medium and small companies that represent the entire West Orange business community. Being a part of the WOCC Board of Directors empowers you to help make decisions that will impact the future of the WOCC and West Orange County, and to build long lasting relationships with local business leaders and elected officials.

To begin your journey as a potential WOCC Board of Director, download the Expression of Interest Form here. Completed forms can be faxed to 407-656-0221 or emailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The deadline for application is August 16, 2018 by 12:00pm. 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Mon, July 09, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

ACH of America

Brewed Coffee and Tea Service

Jake Carris Financial Planning, LLC

LDC. Juice

MidFlorida Credit Union

RSVP Publications of Orlando/Integrated Marketing Solutions of Florida

ENHANCED

1950Films

24 Hour Fitness

CynerGreen Hospitality and Development

Paradise Grills Direct - Windermere

Soultry Lounge

Ultrazone

ELITE

City Furniture - Ocoee

Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas Hamlin

City Furniture

Millennium Grounds and Waters

Topgolf

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Garden Community Choir, Inc.

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

9 Round Winter Garden

Crooked Can Brewing Company

More Than Conquerors Counseling

RentCare Property Management

Ronald W. Sikes, Attorneys, PLLC

The Roberson

Wealth Management Strategies of Central Florida

LaPorte Financial, LLC

Law 4 Vets, LLC

Mulligan Constructors, Inc.

Pressure Cleaning Orlando

Salon Technologies International Inc

Stockworth Realty Group

Strombeck Consulting, CPA's

West Orange Country Club

West Orange Nephrology

Winter Garden Senior Home Care

ENHANCED

Bella Italia Ristorante

New York Life - Orlando

Princesses and Princes

Club Champion

I-Drive NASCAR

Ocoee Tire & Auto Service

ELITE

Greenberg Traurig

The Franchise Edge, LLC

WellCare Health Plans

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House

Ranger Construction, Inc.

Black Rock Bar & Grill

Fairwinds Credit Union

EXCLUSIVE

Don Mealey Chevrolet

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

CenturyLink

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Shutts & Bowen LLP

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Orange County Commissioner Rod Love

Citrus Church

St. Luke's UMC Community Initiative in East Winter Garden

Community Based Care of Central Florida

SCHOOL

Orange County Public Schools

Innovation Montessori Ocoee

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Prepare for Election Season with the WOCC

Tue, June 26, 2018

Prepare for Election Season with the WOCC

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The Florida primaries are racing toward us and many are shifting their attention toward getting to know the candidates who will earn the right to represent our region in the coming years. On Thursday, August 2, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce presents its biennial Hob Nob and Straw Poll, presented by Orlando Health and hosted by Manheim Orlando. The event provides potential voters with one more opportunity to meet the candidates and learn more about their positions, allowing them to make an informed decision in the August 28 primary.

Now is the time for candidates to take advantage of this high-profile opportunity to share their message with voters. Reserve your candidate table by July 11 to save with our early-bird special. Do you live or work in West Orange County? This event provides the perfect opportunity to speak to the candidates and become more involved in the community. Save $10 by purchasing your tickets in advance, or take advantage of even greater savings with a corporate package of ten tickets. We hope you will join us for this meaningful, informative event.

You have probably seen the Chamber and our president, Stina D’Uva, in the news lately. The Chamber has made tremendous progress in its advocacy efforts for a “doggie dining” ordinance, the Voter Control of Gambling amendment, the Pine Hills Overlay ordinance and much more. Learn more about these efforts on our website.

The West Orange Chamber will continue to position itself to facilitate opportunities for each of our nearly 1,100 members. Whether advocating for pro-commerce issues, providing partnership and business-to-business opportunities or connecting those new to our area to local businesses, we will continue to work for a successful, prosperous business community.

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » SeaWorld donates 131 electric scooters to Goodwill

Mon, June 11, 2018

SeaWorld donates 131 electric scooters to Goodwill

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Goodwill Industries of Central Florida recently recognized SeaWorld Orlando for its donation of 131 electric scooters to improve mobility for local residents.

“This donation allows us to reinforce our mission of conservation and sustainability,” said Marcus VanVleet, vice president of merchandising at SeaWorld Orlando. “We are keeping waste out of local landfills while supporting Goodwill’s efforts to empower differently abled Central Floridians with employment opportunities.”

The scooters, once used in SeaWorld parks, will be distributed among Goodwill’s 28 retail stores in Central Florida, where they will be sold. Sales revenue will help fund Goodwill’s job training and employment assistance programs.

“The community can support our efforts to provide job training and placement to Central Floridians who have barriers to employment in several ways, including dropping off household items and making in-kind donations,” said Karla Radka, chief operating officer at Goodwill. “We’re grateful for the generosity of corporate partners like SeaWorld who help us continue building lives that work.”

To support Goodwill, residents can donate clothing, shoes, books, household goods and electronics at their nearest retail store or Donation Xpress. A list of locations can be found at www.goodwillcfl.org.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Shepherd’s Hope receives grant from Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics

Mon, June 04, 2018

Shepherd’s Hope receives grant from Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics

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Shepherd’s Hope was among 20 recipients to be awarded a grant from Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC).  Over 1.8 Million was awarded through this grant program to support Free and Charitable Clinics in Florida and Texas that were affected last year by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. 

These grants were distributed through the Hurricane Community Health Fund, which was set up by Direct Relief in the aftermath of the Hurricanes to be used solely for the benefit of hurricane-affected communities and people – particularly those who have low incomes, lack insurance, and are among the most vulnerable residents.

"Recovery from major disasters continues long after the headlines disappear," said Damon Taugher, Director of U.S. Programs for Direct Relief. "With the start of the 2018 hurricane season just days away, many communities are still healing from 2017's devastating storms. Direct Relief's hope with this latest round of funding is that free clinics will not only be able to repair and recover from past emergencies but become more resilient to disasters in the future."

Shepherd’s Hope received a $121,115 grant to support their outstanding Hurricane Irma relief efforts.  “These significant grant dollars come at a critical time as our agency has struggled to keep up with patient capacity demands for the 1 in 4 uninsured in Central Florida still struggling with the after effects of the Hurricanes,” said Marni Stahlman, Shepherd’s Hope’s President & CEO, “It is a recognition, at a national level, that the mission of Shepherd’s Hope is vital to the healthcare continuum in our community and the health and well-being of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

“The NAFC is proud to partner with Direct Relief to provide much needed funds to Free and Charitable Clinics that were and continue to be impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC President & CEO. “In communities throughout the country, Free and Charitable Clinics are among the first health care responders, both in everyday life as well as in the face of disasters. This funding will assist member organizations as they continue to rebuild, recover lost supplies and medication and most importantly allow them to continue and expand providing care to their patients and communities, many of whom are still dealing with the aftermath of these storms.”

Grants from the Hurricane Community Health Fund are being distributed to Free and Charitable Clinics to support continued recovery efforts, to recoup expenses and/or reinforce emergency preparedness efforts related to the hurricanes which will allow for the continuity of crucial life-saving care to those most vulnerable in their communities.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Visit Florida unveils new cooperative marketing program

Mon, June 04, 2018

Visit Florida unveils new cooperative marketing program

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Last week, VISIT FLORIDA unveiled its new and improved cooperative marketing program to over 12,000 small, medium and large industry partners across the state. The new cooperative program, developed in conjunction with Miles Partnership, allows industry partners of VISIT FLORIDA to buy into a number of shared marketing opportunities that VISIT FLORIDA takes a lead role in to extend their marketing dollars. The program features over 200 opportunities and over 80 small business programs.

Ken Lawson, President & CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said "With our new cooperative marketing program, we've created some of the most dynamic and affordable programs in VISIT FLORIDA's history for our partners. Our new offerings allow all of our small, medium and large partners across the state to buy into unique opportunities that fit their needs and maximize their budgets. I'd like to thank Miles Partnership for their collaboration on this effort. I look forward to working with our 12,000 industry partners to cooperatively market Florida and continue to set visitation records to the Sunshine State."

The late May release of the new cooperative marketing program marks the earliest availability of these programs in VISIT FLORIDA's history. This allows our partners to choose cooperative opportunities as they plan for the upcoming fiscal year. In creating this new program, VISIT FLORIDA and Miles Partnership relied heavily on the collaboration, input and feedback from industry partners at Leadership Summit this past December. The program is also the most affordable in VISIT FLORIDA's history, with opportunities starting as low as $500. 

Ursula Boll, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships of Miles Partnership, said "Our team at Miles Partnership is proud to work with VISIT FLORIDA and its partners on this new cooperative marketing program. It's an exciting opportunity for us to help VISIT FLORIDA increase tourism and build our state economy - and as a founding partner of VISIT FLORIDA, and a home-grown Florida tourism business, we know how vital successful tourism marketing is to our state."

The new cooperative program includes marketing opportunities in five categories: Non-traditional, such as a Google Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) content optimization program; North America, which includes tried and true sanctioned print and digital programs in publications such as AAA, Wall Street Journal, and Golf Digest; International, which includes new Brand USA program packages; Regional, which focuses on brand development of regional parts of the state to build successful media plans; and Small Business, such as a video content production program to allow businesses to tell their own unique stories. 

Nelson Mongiovi, Chief Marketing Officer of VISIT FLORIDA, said "With the help of Miles Partnership and our partners, our marketing team has developed some of the most creative, affordable and timely cooperative marketing opportunities in VISIT FLORIDA's history. The opportunities include some of the best programs of the past, such as our sanctioned print and digital placements, with some innovative new opportunities, such as our non-traditional co-op. I'm proud of the program we've created, and we look forward to working together with our partners to market Florida better than ever before."

To view the new cooperative marketing program, click HERE.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Fri, June 01, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

All About People

EliteScape

Florida Community Bank

FormTech Fitness LLC

Munroe Haas, P.A.

TeamLogicIT

ENHANCED

Beltone Hearing Care Center

Cherry Blow Dry Bar

Flippers Pizzeria Westside Shoppes

Local Door Coupons Winter Garden

Naile Computer Systems

Nemours Children's Health System

Rhino Decor

Rx Meds Pharmacy

Windermere Collision Center

ELITE

Terralina Crafted Italian

Occasions by Shangri-La

EXCLUSIVE

Axiom Bank - Goldwyn Branch

Axiom Bank - John Young Branch

Axiom Bank - Kirkman Branch

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida

Orange County Comptroller's Office

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

The Savvy Sitter

Aquaterra Development, Inc.

Chernoff Newman

Core Wealth Consultants LLC

Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.

Juice Plus

Natural Solutions LLC - Shaklee Distributors

River of Life Osteopathic

Southwest Orlando Bulletin

Talbot Asset Management

Advanced Disposal Services

AutoNation Collision Center

Edward Jones - Robert Smith

Griffith Financial Services

Mortgage Solutions of Central Florida NMLS #292284 

Omegascapes, Inc 

Palm Casual

Stewart Title Company

Sweetwater Car Wash

Yellow Dog Eats Cafe

ENHANCED

Precision Background Screeners

Table Top Catering

Victory Martial Arts - Ocoee

Ample Insurance Company LLC

Florida Business Systems

My City Social

Peach Valley Cafe

ELITE

Computer Repair Shoppe

Office Depot/OfficeMax - Dr. Phillips Blvd.

Fresh Express

Paddlefish

Orlando City Soccer Club

Village Inn

Office Depot/OfficeMax - W. Colonial Dr.

Orlando Pride 

Performance MSP

Terralina Crafted Italian

EXCLUSIVE

Suzi Karr Realty

LYNX

Keene's Pointe Realty

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

CEMEX

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Universal Orlando

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Lift Disability Network

Oakland Nature Preserve, Inc.

West Orange Boys & Girls Club

Home At Last

People of Faith Lutheran Church

Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

SCHOOL

Children's Lighthouse

Thornebrooke Elementary

West Learning Community

Whispering Oak Elementary

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Innovative new non-profit launches

Tue, May 22, 2018

Innovative new non-profit launches

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Guest article by Pete Cook, Largest Heart

Inspired by my late brother's remarkable life—and the lives he touched, I recently launched a non-profit to spread hope, love, and knowledge in an innovative and exciting new way.

I had just lost my brother and my parents, a son. When we went to his funeral I was expecting to be consoled by his friends. Instead, we were the ones consoling them, some even hysterical at his sudden death. His “adopted” family needed us and us, them. The number of people that came out to mourn and celebrate his life was overwhelming.  We held memorials in the U.S. and in South America, where he had spent much of his professional career and in both locations the churches could not contain the crowds who came to pay their respects. 

Inside of me something spiritual happened—I was transformed. It was a time of pain and sorrow like I’ve never experienced but also one of love like none other. There was crying, laughing, and hearing stories my brother was too humble to ever share. Friends recounted stories and each one was even more incredible than the next. Hearing them has altered the trajectory of my life.

It showed me how one person truly can make the difference in someone else’s life. He certainly did in mine! This has led to the launching of Largest Heart. Largest Heart harnesses the wisdom of crowds to:

1) help identify the most pressing need in America, 
2) identify the non-profit doing the best work in that field, and 
3) have proceeds go to that nonprofit who, in turn, shares their knowledge so that the whole nonprofit community can be ever stronger. 

Visit largestheart.org to #VoteYourCause and get one of our incredible shirts/totes where 90% of the proceeds go to the winning cause.  What better way to spread hope, love, and knowledge then wearing, giving to, and voting for the greatest need of hope and love in America!

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Celebrating our growing leaders and looking to the future

Tue, May 22, 2018

Celebrating our growing leaders and looking to the future

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By Joe Alarie, WOCC Chairman

May is a time of celebration for many of us. Students are graduating, summer is right around the corner and vacations are being planned. Here at the Chamber, there is plenty to celebrate as well.

Earlier this month, I was pleased to take part in the West Orange Chamber and West Orange Foundation’s Education awards. The event honored students for their initiative, good citizenship, commitment and personal growth in the classroom with the presentation of the SOAR (Students of Achievement and Renown) Awards, the announcement of the Danniel J. Petro & Voight Foundation Scholarship winners and celebration of graduates from WOPTE (West Orange Program for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs). The event was truly inspirational with hundreds of students, parents and community leaders in attendance.  Congratulations to all of the award winners, and thank you to Windermere High School for your hospitality, along with our sponsors, educators, administrators, parents and volunteers from the Chamber’s Education Committee for making this event possible! 

This Wednesday, our West Orange County Mayoral Update Luncheon will facilitate an important conversation with our elected officials in this momentous election year. Join us at Tanner Hall to get to know your elected officials, and hear what is on the horizon for our West Orange communities. 

At the luncheon, we will also recognize the Chamber’s Adult Leadership Program, Leadership West Orange sponsored by Florida Hospital Winter Garden and Duke Energy, with a graduation ceremony. This year’s class, the “West Orange Soarers,” participated in the eight-month program designed to educate future leaders of West Orange County. 

Joe Alarie, WOCC ChairmanSincerely,
Joe Alarie
Joe Alarie

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Nemours Children’s Hospital receives accreditation for pediatric residency program

Wed, May 09, 2018

Nemours Children’s Hospital receives accreditation for pediatric residency program

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Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona has received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and will launch its first Pediatric Residency Program next summer. The Pediatric Residency Program leadership will begin recruiting residents this fall with the inaugural class beginning in July 2019.

“We opened the doors to Nemours Children’s Hospital five and a half years ago with a distinct vision to create something new for Central Florida,” said Dana Bledsoe, president of Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Our mission was to build a world-class pediatric academic medical center, and this training program is an essential piece that will benefit families struggling to access care.”

Nemours Children’s Hospital has institutional accreditation and is sponsoring the program with the support of Nemours Children’s Health System. Florida ranks near the bottom in sponsoring GME residents and fellows, per capita (41 out of 50). Starting a pediatric residency program and subsequently building fellowship programs in a freestanding pediatric hospital, is a unique opportunity to make a difference.

“At Nemours, we have a rapidly growing population of children with medical complexity and those with high acuity needs,” said Dr. Amber Hoffman, program director for Nemours Children’s Hospital Pediatric Residency Program. “This, paired with an expert faculty that has assembled from across the country is a combination that provides a perfect training ground to teach pediatric residents and subspecialists evidence-based, cutting edge medicine.”

The new residency program will help relieve the statewide physician shortage crisis. The state anticipates an increase of children and a shortage of 7,000 medical specialists by the year 2025. The risk is that medical situations for sick children can become acutely worse with a delay in care, or lack of specialty expertise.

In years to come, Nemours specialists will build a pipeline of high-level pediatric specialty care physicians in central Florida. Families will have more access to specialty care and won’t be forced to travel out of the region in search of care.

“Academic medicine is defined by a threefold mission. As a faculty physician you are expected to be an excellent clinician championing quality and safe care, a researcher to advance the field, and a medical educator to ensure high caliber training,” said Dr. Heather Fagan, vice chair of education at Nemours’ Department of Pediatrics. “Our doctors have been recruited from academic medical centers across the country, and are ready to help families in Florida by training the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists.”

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » What Realtors need to know about Millennials

Tue, May 08, 2018

What Realtors need to know about Millennials

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By Leslie Heimer, American Liberty Mortgage

FACT: Nearly half of millennials (now between the ages of 20 and 37) live in suburbs.

FACT: New Home Inventory is low… very low. However, builders are trying to find a way of increasing construction of new, entry-level homes to accommodate the growing need. This is good news as would-be buyers have been frustrated in their search for a home that meets their needs—and their budget.

FACT: A large portion of millennials —slightly less than half— are already purchasing their second or third homes. (wow!)

Working with Millennial Buyers

First, communication is key.

Millennials are well connected and have a large network. Their neighbor, relative, or friend of a friend likely knows (or is) a real estate agent. However, they value key components and are not as likely to simply accept a referral without doing their research.

  • Be social and have your contact information easily accessible online. Have you googled yourself lately? Does your contact information, website and social media platforms quickly pop up?
  • Do you have a professional headshot? Monitor your online image and provide content that speaks to the clients you want to attract.
  • Be ready to text, email, tweet, facetime and message. This is not your momma's real estate market and we must evolve with the next generation of clients.
  • Tech-up! Make the process convenient for them with slick apps and technology they can really submerse themselves in. They are much more apt to preview a virtual tour on their mobile device than schlep across town and fight I-4 traffic.

Next, be an expert in the process.

Advise them on credit score and finances and be knowledgeable about the process. A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score, the better; It’s best to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.

Remind your clients not to open new credit cards. A new credit card could put a prospect in danger of not qualifying for a home loan in their desired price range – or at the very least – not getting the best rate possible. Besides the mortgage loan and down-payment – home buyers should also set aside money for unexpected repairs and costs.

Lastly, make sure they are in equally capable hands with a respected Mortgage Lender. Before they start looking (this means online too!) buying prospects will want to consult with a mortgage lender. A successful Realtor/Lender partnership will only make the transaction more successful and the client experience more pleasant. We take time to praise and provide accolades and positive reviews on each Real Estate agent that we partner.

Our millennials love our high-tech, high-touch service delivery model. For example, our text application feature that allows them to safely and instantly become preapproved for a home mortgage. Contact us today for partnership that will service your millennial Buyers.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Mon, May 07, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Dean Mosley for Circuit Judge

Derek Ryan for Orange Soil & Water Conservation District

Gotcha Covered

Horizon West Alliance

World Financial Group

ENHANCED

Calloway Roofing

Driftwood Market

Pet Paradise

ELITE

uBreakiFix

uBreakiFix Windermere

American Medical Response

BlueScope Properties Group

EXCLUSIVE

The Big Easy Windermere

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

SunTrust Bank - Metrowest

SunTrust Bank - Winter Garden

SunTrust Bank

COMMUNITY PARTNER

In Harmony with Nature

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Eddy Dominguez - Candidate for FL House of Representatives Dist. 44

Ford Avalon Grove

Raymond James Financial Services

Bonefish Grill

Dick Batchelor Management Group, Inc.

Bishman Surveying and Mapping, Inc.

Rentaland

Health Markets-Sylvester Woodley

VU Window Treatments by Verticals Unlimited

Tukdarian Law

Cite Partners 

Target Marketing + Southcomm Publishing

Aggressive Appliances

Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A.

Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que

Carlos R. Colon-Bengoa, D.D.S., P.A.

Sand Lake Imaging

Twistee Treat

Avalon Home & Property Owners' Association

Surveillance Plus, LLC

Law Offices of Ginger R. Lore, P.A.

Ruth's Chris Steak House

Le Cafe de Paris

Fancy Fruit & Produce

United Stor-All

IPRG

Commercial Design Services

Simon T. Bailey International, Inc.

ENHANCED

Peach Valley Cafe

Kona Ice of NW Orlando

Clean Slate Janitorial Service

Bella Collina Country Club

Geneva Financial, LLC

Ellie Lou's Brews & BBQ

Keke's Breakfast Cafe - Ocoee

DPS Design & Print Solutions

Textures by Blue Sky, Inc.

Brain Balance Center of Winter Garden

Project Finance & Development, LLC

Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, PA

ELITE

Sonata West

Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living

Poulos & Bennett

Clear Channel Outdoor

Fidelity Bank

Fravel,  W. K., D.M.D., P.A.

Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.

Universal Engineering Sciences

Pollo Tropical

Empire Finish Systems, Inc.

Victory Casino Cruises

Empire Foam

Smiles for a Lifetime

Visit Orlando

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Computer Business Consultants, Inc.

Reed Nissan - Orlando

Reed Nissan - Clermont

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

 

Fifth Third Bank - 4104 Conroy Rd. Orlando

Fifth Third Bank - 6735 Conroy Rd. Orlando

Fifth Third Bank - Daniels Rd. Winter Garden

Fifth Third Bank - Maguire Rd. Ocoee

Fifth Third Bank - N. Clark Rd. Ocoee

Fifth Third Bank - Ocoee Apoka Rd. Ocoee

Fifth Third Bank - Sand Lake Rd. Orlando

Fifth Third Bank - E. Robinson St. Orlando

 

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Florida State Senator Randolph Bracy 

Christian Service Center

First United Methodist Church

Boy Scouts of America

Orange County School Board Member Christine Moore

Florida State Senator Victor Torres

Church of the Messiah

Epilepsy Association of Central Florida, Inc.

Dismas Charities

West Orlando Christian Center and the King's Academy

SCHOOL

Dillard Street Elementary School

MUNICIPALITY

City of Orlando

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » UCF celebrates longtime President John C. Hitt with dedication of new Partnership Complex

Mon, April 30, 2018

UCF celebrates longtime President John C. Hitt with dedication of new Partnership Complex

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For several years, the WOCC advocated for state funding for the UCF Partnership complex, allowing Central Florida to maintain its status as the nation’s leading cluster in modeling, simulation and training, and continue to strengthen the partnership that exists between academia, industry and the military.

Today, Stina and Krista attended the Dedication/Naming Ceremony of the John C. Hitt Partnership Complex, alongside UCF leadership, Orange County Mayor Jacobs, Congressman Daniel Webster and other community leaders.  A reality that would have never happened without the support of various central Florida organizations, including the West Orange Chamber of Commerce.  We are proud to have been a part of this process and know that the John C. Hitt Partnership Complex will continue to play a vital role in modeling, simulation and training future.   

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » SunTrust Bank becomes newest West Orange Chamber Supporting Trustee

Tue, April 24, 2018

SunTrust Bank becomes newest West Orange Chamber Supporting Trustee

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The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced today that SunTrust Bank has taken advantage of the highly beneficial Supporting Trustee level of membership. As one of the nation's largest and strongest financial services companies, SunTrust offers a full suite of products and services designed to meet the needs of consumer, business, corporate and institutional clients.

“SunTrust is delighted to continue its long partnership with West Orange Chamber of Commerce,” said Gavin White, SunTrust Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking. As part of our purpose of lighting the way to financial well-being, we are committed to supporting this fast growing Florida community and the work of the Chamber in providing a platform for that growth.”

This investment will further support the integration and presence of SunTrust Bank within Central Florida and West Orange County. The Chamber’s Supporting Trustees benefit from increased levels of exposure, while providing the Chamber with additional financial stability. Learn more about Trustee level membership and all the ways that the WOCC, the 2015 Florida Chamber of the Year, can facilitate opportunities for your business at wochamber.com.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » How the WOCC is Facilitating Opportunity for your business

Tue, April 24, 2018

How the WOCC is Facilitating Opportunity for your business

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By Joe Alarie, WOCC Chairman

As the business world continues to evolve, the West Orange Chamber is providing a wide variety of effective opportunities for members to learn, network and build their businesses. In the coming weeks, members can take part in several great events.

The WOCC’s popular Celebrating Extraordinary Women series debuted in 2016, and returns tomorrow, April 25, at ShowcaseWG (formerly the Bella Room). This event provides West Orange’s leading women the opportunity to share ideas and gain inspiration from other successful businesswomen, in a fun and casual environment. We are excited to welcome four of the area’s most accomplished women – Julie Kleffel of Seacoast Bank, Suneera Madhani of Fattmerchant, Stacey Papp of Bay Hill Jewelers and Orange County Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell. Guests will enjoy hearing about the experiences of each of our guest speakers in a round-robin style discussion, with plenty of time for cocktails and conversation. 

Next Wednesday, May 2, Bruce I. Jones of Disney Institute will share an inside look into the magic of Disney at Lunch and Learn: Leadership Excellence Overview. Walt Disney’s goal of creating an experience in which customers are treated as Guests required development of a unique workplace culture to support this strategy. He focused on developing leaders capable of expanding on his vision while preserving core Disney values. Real-life stories, illustrations, and practical business insights from the diverse operations of Disney parks and resorts offer unique opportunities to help you transform the way you think about instilling leadership excellence in your business.

On Wednesday, May 23, join us for the Mayoral Update Luncheon at Tanner Hall in Winter Garden. In our rapidly growing community, the importance of local politics cannot be understated. Our local mayors of Oakland, Ocoee, Orange County, Windermere and Winter Garden will provide updates on their municipalities and what we can expect in the coming months. 

While our many business-building events may take the spotlight, a big part of “Facilitating Opportunity” happens behind the scenes through advocacy and economic development efforts. Current and recent initiatives include the City of Ocoee’s Sunday alcohol sales ordinance, the Chamber’s support of an ordinance to allow “doggie dining” in Orange County and West Orange communities, support for the Voter Control of Gambling amendment and the Pine Hills Overlay Zone for the Neighborhood Improvement District. Keep up with all of the Chamber’s advocacy efforts by visiting wochamber.com and browsing the Current Initiatives page.


Sincerely,
Joe Alarie
Joe Alarie

 

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange Chamber supports Voter Control of Gambling amendment

Fri, April 13, 2018

West Orange Chamber supports Voter Control of Gambling amendment

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The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced its support for Amendment 3, known as the Voter Control of Gambling amendment, which will appear on the November ballot. The amendment would require voter approval to authorize casino gambling in Florida.

The WOCC has aligned with Voters in Charge, sponsor of the amendment, in standing in opposition to legalizing Las Vegas-style casinos in Florida without first requiring approval by a statewide vote of the people. The issue unites both parties against casino authorization without voter approval. Seventy-one percent of likely GOP primary voters and 72 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they would be less likely to support candidates who would vote to expand casino gambling without statewide voter approval.

“Our support of Amendment 3 falls in line with our long-held stance in opposition to the expansion of gambling and gaming in the state of Florida,” said Stina D’Uva, WOCC President/CEO. “We believe an issue of this importance should be determined by the Florida voters.”

“For nearly a century, it was voters, not politicians, who decided whether to authorize casino gambling in our state,” said John Sowinski, Chairman of Voters In Charge, the group sponsoring the amendment.  “Voters overwhelmingly support Amendment 3 because it will return control of casino gambling decisions back to the people, rather than gambling lobbyists and Tallahassee politicians.”

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Florida: Walmart plans estimated $200 million in new store construction, improvements and innovations in 2018

Wed, April 11, 2018

Florida: Walmart plans estimated $200 million in new store construction, improvements and innovations in 2018

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Walmart today announced it expects to spend an estimated $200 million over the next year in Florida through the opening and remodeling of 43 stores as well as the rollout of several in-store and online innovations designed to help busy customers save time and money. The spend is part of Walmart’s total capital expenditures guidance of approximately $11.0 billion for Fiscal Year 2019, which was outlined last October at the company’s annual meeting for the investment community and reiterated in February 2018.

Walmart recently reported strong comp sales growth of 2.1% for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2018, indicating customers are responding well to the company’s business strategy. The plan is to continue improving stores and accelerating innovation during the coming year to make shopping faster and easier for customers in Florida.

“Making every day easier for busy families is at the forefront of everything we’re doing as a company,” said Elise Vasquez-Warner, a vice president and regional general manager for Walmart in Florida. “Customers have told us they want the convenience of shopping how, when and where they want. And, here in Florida, we’ll achieve that by building off the momentum we had last year, accelerating the rollout of customer-centered innovations, creating more than 1,000 jobs this year alone, and maintaining a sharp focus on improving our store experience.”

“The past year has seen Walmart make significant investments across Florida, and that commitment will continue well into 2019,” said Jaime Fernandez, Regional General Manager for Walmart stores in South Florida. “From launching new technologies to expanding our popular Grocery Pickup Service and remodeling existing stores, Walmart is taking steps to ensure the customer experience is fast and convenient.”

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Axiom Bank hires Ted Sheppe as Executive VP of Commercial Banking

Wed, April 11, 2018

Axiom Bank hires Ted Sheppe as Executive VP of Commercial Banking

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Axiom Bank, a Maitland-based, leading community bank, recently welcomed Ted Sheppe as Executive Vice President of its Commercial Banking Division. In this position, Sheppe will develop strategies to grow and retain commercial banking relationships across the Bank’s footprint.

Sheppe joins Axiom Bank with three decades of experience in commercial lending, including many years of executive leadership in large regional as well as community banks.

“Ted’s expertise will be invaluable for Axiom Bank as we continue to expand our commercial lending efforts across the state,” said Daniel Davis, President and CEO at Axiom Bank.

Sheppe received his bachelor’s degree and master of business administration from Marshall University. He is a board member of the Arnold Palmer Hospital Foundation.

For more information and to find the nearest location, visit AxiomBanking.com.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Promote your business on the new West Orange Chamber map

Wed, April 11, 2018

Promote your business on the new West Orange Chamber map

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In recent weeks, you may have heard from fellow Chamber member Target Marketing & Southcomm Publishing regarding advertising opportunities for the upcoming Chamber map. The West Orange Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be working with Target Marketing, a cartographic and marketing firm, to publish a new, up-to-date, full-color Street Map and Resource Guide. This publication will be the only official map endorsed and distributed by the WOCC.

Don’t miss out on this unique member opportunity to reach potential buyers, new residents and new partners. Space is limited, and sponsorships are reasonable, especially considering more than 10,000 maps will be printed and available for the next 12-18 months, along with a digital version showcased on the Chamber’s web site. 

Learn more by contacting the Target Marketing team at (800) 933-3909 or by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Take your first steps toward elected office at the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute

Tue, April 10, 2018

Take your first steps toward elected office at the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute

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Apply now for the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI), a program that was developed by business leaders in Central Florida and is managed through the Orlando Economic Partnership. This unique non-partisan, regional initiative was designed to prepare and strengthen the next generation of elected leaders before they formally choose to run for a specific public office. Since its inception in 2008, 17 graduates from the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute have served in public office.

PLI features a two-day political leadership school, ongoing leadership activities throughout the year, important networking opportunities and a final one-day course that concludes with a graduation. It features local, state and national speakers who share their invaluable expertise on campaigning for public office and leading once elected.

Click here to learn more about this program and submit your application. Must apply by Friday, April 27.

File under: Government Policy

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Tue, April 10, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Kingdom Consultant With Vatessa

Patrick S. Gray Insurance Agency, Inc.

Safely Softwash

Simply Healthcare Plans

ENHANCED

Atlantic Data Team

Branch Garage Doors Sales

Cade Orthodontics

Chameleon Mobile Video Productions

GameTime 

Matthew's Steakhouse

Orofacial Dental Implant Surgery

Premier Power Inc.

Ruth Burton Hair Designer

The Boutique on Plant

Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex

ELITE

Beyond Visuals

Uong Eye Care, P.A.

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Eddy Dominguez - Candidate for FL House of Representatives Dist. 44

Largest Heart

ASSOCIATE

Joe Dunn

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Action Gator Tire

ADP

Auto Sales of Winter Garden

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty

Beverly Hills Jewelry Watch and Loan

Big Paw Pet Care

Channell Law Firm

Chill Cryosauna

DDR Corp

Italia Cuisine Co.

Law Office of Pamela J. Helton, P.A.

Law Offices of Jessica Langley Lowe, P.A.

Morgan Stanley Windermere

Pane D'or

Richard A. Dumois, M.D.

Southwest Property Management of Central Florida, Inc.

State Farm Insurance - Rocco English

Sunrise Global Trading, LLC

The Real Estate Collection, LLC

TooJay's Restaurant and Deli - Ocoee

UFC Gym

Windermere Pool Services

Winter Garden Wheel Works

ENHANCED

AmeriTech

Argos Builders, LLC

Avriett Dental

Bay Hill Jewelers

Crossfit Iron Shamrock

Crown Information Management

Gillard Financial Solutions, LLC

Gymnastics USA

Jersey Mike's Subs-Winter Garden Village

MetroWest Veterinary Clinic

MOC Services Clean

ELITE

Central Florida Lifestyle Publications

Insurance Office of America

Richmond American Homes - Winter Garden 

Solaris HealthCare Windermere

EXCLUSIVE

Complete Power Solutions

Thermo King of the Southeast

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Junebug Foundation, LLC 

UCF South Lake

UCF Valencia West

Apple Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc.

June Engineering Consultants, Inc.

University Of Central Florida

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Heichel Plumbing

Alarie Design Associates, Inc.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing LLC

Orlando Magic

SeaWorld Orlando

COMMUNITY PARTNER

American Cancer Society

Dave's House

Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF

Matthew's Hope Ministries, Inc.

Orange County School Board Member Pamela Gould

Progressive Abilities Support Services

S.T.A.R.S. of West Orange, Inc.

West Orange Habitat for Humanity Restore

West Orange Health/Dental Alliance

Community Health Centers - Pine Hills

Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, Inc.

SCHOOLS

University of Florida MBA Program

Ocoee High School

Southwest Middle School

Spring Lake Elementary

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Reed Nissan recognized with Cornerstone Award for Youth Empowerment

Wed, April 04, 2018

Reed Nissan recognized with Cornerstone Award for Youth Empowerment

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Reed Nissan received the prestigious Cornerstone Award for Youth Empowerment given by the Central Florida Urban League.  The fun-filled event celebrated the individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the community.

The League recognized Reed Nissan for its annual “Cars for Kids Giveaway,” part of the dealership’s "Reed Gives Back to the Community Day," where two (2) young adult students currently in the region’s foster care system receive a new Nissan automobile.  Dependable car ownership makes a substantial difference in the life of a young person as they transition to self-sufficiency. The vehicles, including paid taxes, are donated gifts presented by Reed Nissan.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Panera Bread to celebrate 20-year milestone at Grand Opening of their 80th Bakery Cafe in the area

Fri, March 30, 2018

Panera Bread to celebrate 20-year milestone at Grand Opening of their 80th Bakery Cafe in the area

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Covelli Family Limited Partnership (CFLP), part of the largest franchisee of Panera, LLC, is pleased to announce they are celebrating 20 Years in Florida with the opening of their 80th bakery-café in the area. Panera Bread will open their doors at 6:30AM on April 4th at 4054 Conroy Road in Orlando.  The new location will feature a drive-thru and is conveniently located near the Mall at Millenia.    

“We have a lot to celebrate and want to show our sincere appreciation to our customers for the past 20 years” said Kevin Ricci, Owner of CFLP.  “We have the most generous and loyal customers in the industry and they are the reason for our success.” With the help of Panera’s customers, CFLP has been able to donate $125 Million over the past twenty years to local non-profit organizations through their Operation Dough-Nation formalized giving program consisting of Community Breadbox™ cash collections, Day End Dough-Nations™, in-kind donations, sponsorships and proceeds from cause-marketing campaigns. In addition, CFLP employs 5,000 people throughout Orlando, Tampa and along the East Coast of Florida.

The opening day celebration will include surprise giveaways every 20 minutes from 6:30AM-9:30PM, a celebratory toast and ribbon cutting at 10:00AM, followed by a $200,000.00 check presentation to the Foundation for Foster Children. “Giving back to the community has always been the backbone of our organization” said Annette Ford, Owner of CFLP.  “We intend to keep this commitment to our local communities and continue supporting non-profit charities that better the lives of others.”

“Since the very beginning, Panera has been a strong partner increasing our awareness in the community and we are honored to be connected to such a generous company that truly cares and shows that commitment every day”, said Betsey Bell, Executive Director of Foundation for Foster Children. “None of this can be done without the support from community leaders like Panera Bread.”  Since 2009, CFLP has donated $350,000.00 to the Foundation for Foster Children.

In addition to giving, Panera Bread has made a commitment to being transparent and touts a 100% clean menu consisting of no artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or colors from artificial sources.  “For 20-years Panera Bread has made a name for itself in Central Florida under the guidance and strong leadership of both the Covelli and Ford families,” said Janet Morrow, Orlando Health Foundation Vice President – Corporate Partnerships. “Not only have they helped promote the concept of clean, healthy and convenient eating in our community, but they have also provided philanthropic support to Orlando Health through their Pink Ribbon Bagel and Valentine Heart Cookie cause-related marketing campaigns to benefit patients of our cancer and cardiac services. Annette Ford, Orlando Health Foundation Board member, has generously supported our life saving mission for years and we remain grateful for this amazing partnership.”

The grand opening celebration will symbolize the growth of the company, their continued commitment to giving, and an unwavering appreciation for the many guests and employees who have made Panera Bread what it is today.  For more information about CFLP and their 20 Year Milestone, visit paneraflorida.com.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Announcing the Danniel J. Petro Matching Grant

Tue, March 27, 2018

Announcing the Danniel J. Petro Matching Grant

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By Joe Alarie, WOCC Chairman

In anticipation of the continued strong growth of the West Orange business community, the WOCC’s Growth Matters campaign will transform the Chamber headquarters to create a state-of-the-art interior with expanded meeting areas, new member service stations, upgrades to the building’s exterior and accommodations for a growing staff to meet our members’ needs.

The Chamber’s growth would not have been possible without many amazing leaders in its history.  One that stands out is Danniel J. Petro.  We lost Dan to cancer on this day five years ago, but his impact is still felt today across West Orange County.  Dan exemplified the Chamber’s mission through his service as a teacher, Marine, business owner, entrepreneur, mentor and philanthropist.  He facilitated success for himself and many others. 

Danniel J. PetroToday, we seek to honor this man’s memory, and through his legacy inspire the next generation of community leaders. It is the WOCC board of directors’ desire to raise $70,000 to create the Danniel J. Petro Conference Room.

Contributions, along with 17 years of strong fiscal planning by the Chamber’s Leadership, have resulted in our ability to execute this $588,000 capital renovation.  To date, we have secured just under $300,000 in contributions toward a $370,000 fundraising goal. Lead contributors to the Growth Matters campaign include Florida Hospital and Universal Orlando at the Expeditor level, and Orlando Health, Walt Disney World, City of Ocoee and City of Winter Garden at the Implementer and Municipality levels. To view all campaign donors, click here.

This matching gift program will help us raise $70,000 toward completing the goal.  This money must be secured in order to fully execute the renovation that is needed to serve our dynamic business community, while facilitating economic growth and stability.

Thanks to the generosity of Bright Future Electric, the Petro Family Foundation, the children of Danniel J. Petro and Chamber Board members, dollar-for-dollar donations will be matched up to $35,000.  We have until May 31, 2018 to complete this task. We hope you will consider honoring one of West Orange County’s greatest leaders in celebration of the 45 plus years the Chamber has been serving our community. To learn more and to download a Growth Matters pledge form, click here.

Joe Alarie, WOCC ChairmanSincerely,
Joe Alarie
Joe Alarie

File under: Press Releases

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Goodwill Industries of Central Florida President and CEO announces retirement

Wed, March 14, 2018

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida President and CEO announces retirement

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After 44 years of service to Goodwill and eight years as president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Bill Oakley has announced his plans to retire, effective June 30. The search for Oakley’s replacement will commence immediately, led by executive search firm Korn Ferry.

Oakley joined the nonprofit in 1974, serving in leadership roles at Goodwill organizations in Savannah, Ga., and Greenville, S.C. In 2010 he took the helm of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.

Since then Oakley has driven the nonprofit’s growth through new retail stores, donation centers and Job Connection Centers across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard and Volusia counties. Under his leadership, Goodwill has expanded its offerings to adapt to the community’s changing needs, adding programs to assist military veterans, the homeless and other job-seekers in need.

“Bill has dedicated his entire career to championing Goodwill’s mission of removing barriers and providing new opportunities to connect with the world of work,” said Michael Hsu, chairman of Goodwill’s board of directors. “He leaves an extraordinary legacy of leadership and service and has positioned our Goodwill for future success. I will miss him dearly and wish him the best in his next chapter of life.”

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida is the region’s third largest nonprofit by revenue, according to the Orlando Business Journal. In 2017, Goodwill provided more than 47,500 people with resources and training to help them find meaningful work. These services are funded by the sales of donated goods in its network of 28 retail stores.

Parties interested in the CEO search may complete an online application with Korn Ferry at http://bit.ly/2Htr98S.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Time to Reconsider Your Choice of Entity?

Tue, March 13, 2018

Time to Reconsider Your Choice of Entity?

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By Amanda Wilson of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.

One of the most publicized changes made by last year’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act was a reduction in income tax rates for corporations and individuals. The maximum corporate tax rate has been permanently reduced from 35% to 21%, and the maximum individual tax rate has been reduced temporarily (through 2025) from 39.6% to 37%. These changes reopen the age old question of what type of entity is best from a tax perspective. It used to be relatively simple to answer – pass-through entities such as partnerships and S corporations were the preferred structure where business realities allowed for that choice. In light of the tax rate changes, this may no longer be the case and it may be time to reconsider your choice of entity.

If a business is taxed as a corporation, the business will pay tax on its taxable income at a 21% rate, meaning $21 of federal income tax on $100 of taxable income. In contrast, if the business is organized as a partnership, the income is passed through to the partners and reported on the partners’ tax return. If those partners are individuals, the partners are potentially paying $37 of federal income tax on the $100 of taxable income (if the income is ordinary such as rental income). As I have previously discussed, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act provides for a deduction on qualified business income, which would include income from partnerships. Even in the best case scenario where the partners are able to take the maximum 20% deduction on qualified business income, which will often not be the case, the maximum deduction would reduce the tax to $29.60.

One of the key benefits of a pass-through over a corporation is that there is an additional layer of tax (at a rate of up to 23.8%) when the corporation distributes its profits out to its shareholders. If the corporation distributes the $79 of after-tax dollars discussed above, there would be an additional $18.80 of tax, resulting in a total tax of $39.80. Even with the tax rate reduction, this means that a corporation will result in less after-tax dollars ($60.20) for its owners than a partnership ($70.40) if the profits are distributed out. However, many companies do not distribute profits to its owners, instead keeping the profits to grow and expand the business. For those businesses, a corporation may provide a better tax answer than a pass-through in this post-tax reform environment, especially if the owners’ ultimate exit strategy involves a sale of their equity in the business.

For more tax news and information, visit Amanda's blog Lowndes Taxing Times.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Tue, March 13, 2018

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

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Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page

 We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

 If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

 For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.

 2. Promote Your Company Page

 Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

 Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

 Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile

  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

 Capture.PNG

 3. Share Content Regularly

 

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share. 

 To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

 In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

 When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

 4. Showcase Thought Leadership

 Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

 For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

 5. Target Sales Prospects

 LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

 LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

 For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

 6. Build an All-Star Team

 LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

 Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and career opportunities. They give you dedicated Life and Career Information Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

 In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

When building an all-star team make sure to do a salary comparison to help with hiring decisions.

Search for jobs from Learning LinkedIn by Oliver Schinkten

7. Hire Freelancers

 You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

 Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full-time employee.

 LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

 LinkedIn vets all the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find entrepreneurs your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

 By encouraging entrepreneurship, you get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management or competitive salary overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Tue, March 13, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

4 Locos Tacos Corp

Apopka Representative Payee Services

Quick Response Fire Protection

Target Marketing + Southcomm Publishing

The Closing Agent / Barry Miller Law

The Law Office of Leslie Yadi, PLLC

ENHANCED

Background Smart Solutions, LLC

Branch Land & Tree Service, LLC

The UPS Store at Maguire

ELITE

Abounding Health

Jeremiah's Italian Ice of Westside Shoppes

i4 Business Magazine - SCB Marketing

Woodstock Med

EXCLUSIVE

Complete Power Solutions

SCHOOLS

Troy University

Renaissance Charter School

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Baldwin Fairchild Cemeteries & Funeral Home

Budget U Pull It

Chef's Table featuring the Tasting Room

Chen Law Firm, PA

Classic Care Of America

CORE Construction Services of Florida, LLC

David Weekley Homes

Dixie Pools and Spas, Inc.

Eton Bridge Insurance and Financial Solutions

Forefront Architecture and Engineering

Gator's Dockside Ocoee

Injector Support & Service, LLC

Jowers Batteries

Parkforms, Inc

Regions Bank

Rent Now Buy Later/Dansco

School of Rock

South Lake Apopka Citrus Growers Association

The Barranco Clinic, P.A.

The Mortgage Firm

Thomas Meena, CPA

Urban Flats Restaurant & Wine Bar

US Health Advisors

VHB 

Weichert Realtors, Hallmark Properties

ENHANCED

Advance Chiropractic Orlando, PLLC

Allstate - Dale McMindes

American Momentum Bank

Giant Recreation World

Oasis at Lake Bennet

Patterson/Bach Communications, Inc.

Ridge Masters Roofing

The Whiskey

ELITE

Associates in Dermatology - Dr. Phillips

Valencia College District Office

Associates in Dermatology - Ocoee

Central Florida Expressway Authority

Critical Intervention Services, Inc.

Pammie's Sammies

Pegasus Transportation

Sam's Club

Spectrum

Valencia College

Windermere Medical Center

EXCLUSIVE

Stratus Roofing

COMMUNITY PARTNER

American Diabetes Association

Camaraderie Foundation

New Beginnings Thrift Store

Ocoee Lion's Foundation, Inc.

Rotary Club of Winter Garden

Congresswoman Val Demings

Community Health Centers, Inc.

SCHOOLS

Palm Lake Elementary School

UCP West Orange Charter School

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange Foundation announces Danniel J. Petro and Voight Foundation Scholarship

Tue, February 27, 2018

West Orange Foundation announces Danniel J. Petro and Voight Foundation Scholarship

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The West Orange Foundation is proud to present a new scholarship opportunity for area students this year, the Danniel J. Petro and Voight Foundation Scholarships.

The scholarship fund, administered by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, was established to make it possible for eligible students from local high schools to further their education at Valencia College, Orange Technical College or the University of Central Florida. The West Orange Foundation is able to fund the scholarships through the generous contributions of the Petro Family Foundation and Voight Foundation.

In order to qualify, eligible senior students must:

  • Live in one of the following communities (Dr. Phillips, Gotha, Horizon West, Lake Avalon, MetroWest, Oakland, Ocoee, Orlo Vista, Pine Hills, Windermere or Winter Garden);
  • Attend a high school in one of the above service areas;
  • Have a current GPA of 2.75 (either weighted or unweighted); and
  • Apply to attend Valencia College, the University of Central Florida or Orange Technical College.

Several student recipients may be awarded $1000 scholarships; the number of recipients will be dependent upon the amount of money available in the scholarship fund at the time of the award. Two student recipients will be awarded $2500 scholarships from the Petro Family Foundation. Any unspent funds will be allocated to the following academic year.

To download a copy of the application, click here. Eligible students should complete the application in its entirety, which includes a list of activities, leadership positions and honors, community involvement and special recognition awards and honors, along with a personal essay in which they should describe themselves and provide information about their most significant accomplishment.

All applications with supporting documentation must be submitted to the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (12184 West Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, FL 34787), Attn: Carrie Wilson. Applications may also be submitted electronically to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Friday, April 6, 2018, if submitting through U.S. Postal Service.
  • Sunday, April 8, 2018, if submitting through email.

For any questions regarding this scholarship, please contact Carrie Wilson at the above email address.

File under: Press Releases

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Axiom Bank opens Hamlin branch

Tue, February 27, 2018

Axiom Bank opens Hamlin branch

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Axiom Bank, a leading community bank headquartered in Central Florida, is expanding its presence with a new freestanding branch at 16418 New Independence Parkway, Suite 100 in Winter Garden’s Hamlin community. A ribbon-cutting took place Feb. 22.

The nearly 2,000-square-foot, open-design facility features advanced banking technology including teller pods and instant-issue debit cards. In addition, the branch features a community lounge with complimentary Wi-Fi, local premium coffee and a community table available for meet-ups or work space.

“Winter Garden’s tremendous growth in recent years presents an ideal opportunity to reach residents who are seeking new banking options,” said Daniel Davis, President and CEO of Axiom Bank. “We look forward to serving our neighbors with a community-focused, values-oriented approach.”

Jessica V. Ludvigsen, Senior Vice President of Retail Banking, added: “As a Winter Garden resident, I’ve seen our area gain momentum with new commercial and residential developments and corresponding job growth. We’re eager for Axiom to join this vibrant community.”

During the opening event, Axiom Bank made a charitable donation of $2,500 to Matthew’s Hope Ministries, a homeless outreach organization based in Winter Garden.

Axiom Bank has 24 branches throughout the state, with 11 locations in Central Florida. Hamlin is Axiom’s second freestanding branch. For more information and to find the location nearest you, visit www.AxiomBanking.com.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Windermere High School wins top state architectural award

Tue, February 27, 2018

Windermere High School wins top state architectural award

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Windermere High School, which opened in August, won First Place in the Architectural Showcase (High School category) at the Florida Educational Facilities Planners Association’s (FEFPA) winter conference. The conference and awards showcase was held January 31 to February 2 at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.

The school was designed by SchenkelShultz Architecture and built by Wharton-Smith, Inc.

Windermere High features a Florida traditional architectural style with Bahama shutters and metal roofs. It is the first OCPS school to feature a rainwater cistern, which funnels water to the greenhouse. The school also features interactive touch panel TVs in every classroom, a 1-to-1 digital device ratio, WiFi throughout and audio enhancement in every classroom. Classrooms are arranged around collaborative spaces that encourage teamwork, and the cafeteria features restaurant-style seating and décor. The school is built to meet Green Globes Building Standards.

FEFPA’s annual architectural showcase recognizes outstanding educational facility design. Projects were evaluated on their innovative response to the educational program, aesthetics and use of materials, flexibility for community use, technology provisions, “green” design, use of space, flexibility and site development.

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Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Best Fest 2018 will be the Best Yet

Tue, February 27, 2018

Best Fest 2018 will be the Best Yet

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By Joe Alarie, WOCC Chairman

If you’ve spent any time in West Orange, you know it is the place to be to enjoy culinary masterpieces. With the sheer number of incredible restaurants in the area, it can seem impossible to keep up with all these delicious and unique food creations, but luckily, they’re all in one place on Thursday, March 8 at the 16th annual Best Fest – “The Taste of West Orange,” presented by CenturyLink. This event will once again take place along the shore of Starke Lake in beautiful, historic Ocoee. 

There’s still time to take advantage of the fantastic promotional opportunities for your business that Best Fest provides. Last year, over 60 restaurants & businesses provided mouthwatering samples and sips to over 1,000 event attendees. Register now for your food/beverage or business booth to maximize your exposure and have your business included on all upcoming promotional materials.

If you’re not working at your business booth, then bring your friends and enjoy the best of West Orange! One price gets you unlimited tastes from the area’s best restaurants, bakeries, hangouts, coffee shops and delis. 

Last year’s award winners were: Table Top Catering – BEST FOOD, Pilars Martini – BEST BEVERAGE, Nothing Bundt Cakes – BEST DESSERT, Observer Media Group – BEST BUSINESS BOOTH and Press’d Juice Bar & Kitchen – BEST HEALTHY OPTION.

Visit our website for more information and to save $10 on the purchase of your all-access wristbands in advance of this phenomenal event. Save an additional 10% when you purchase ten wristbands! If you are a local food or beverage vendor that hasn’t yet registered, we highly suggest you contact the Chamber at 407-656-1304 to secure your free booth space. Spaces are limited, so register at wochamber.com or call in today!

Sincerely,

Joe Alarie

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Tue, February 13, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Dackor

HK Global Services LLC

Influenced by Touch Acupuncture and Alternative Medicine

ENHANCED

FBC Mortgage

Justice & Wood Builders

Schwenn Services

The Real Estate Firm of Orlando

Viamedia

West Orange Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

ELITE

Hawkers Asian Street Fare - Mills 50

Home Watch By Calvert

Zaxby's - Forest City

Far Out Solutions

Hawkers Asian Street Fare - Windermere

Oakland Manor House

Resource Employment Solutions

EXCLUSIVE

Falcons Fire Golf Club

Garden Music School

Hampton Golf

COMMUNITY PARTNER

The Voight Foundation

Girl Scouts of Citrus

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

4Rivers Smokehouse

AGMCi, LLC

BioNatural Products LLC

Chatham's Place

Clancy & Theys Construction Co.

Culver's of Winter Garden

Edward Jones - Cody Cervellera, Financial Advisor

Flooring America

Florida Fire Frogs

Full Circle Cycle

Green Grass Marketing & Advertising

Hair In Motion of New York

Hill Printing

Home Care Assistance

Human Motion Associates

Knox Nursery, Inc.

Land Plus, Inc.

Lek Technology Consultants

McCree General Contractors and Architects

Mike the Mechanic

New Directions Orlando, an affiliate of Go Travel, Inc.

Ogden Orthodontics / Robert T. Ogden D.D.S.

OHL Building, Inc.

Orlando Business Journal

P. H. Freeman & Sons, Inc.

Robert H. Foster, D.D.S., M.A.G.D.

Shaggy She'k Salon

Tag Aero

Tewson Landscape Co

The Learning Center

The Palm

Tri & Run of West Orange

Trophies Unlimited

United Legacy Bank

Voight Attorneys at Law

West Oaks Mall

Wildflower Beauty by Jessica

Windsor Realty Group, Inc.

ENHANCED

Abney Insurance Agency

Aflac - Denise Fisher

Applied Vascular Therapy

Baxter Restoration 

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Results Realty

Comprehensive Health Orlando

GradePower Learning

Hale, Hale & Jacobson

Insurance Services of Central Florida, Inc.

Priority Credit Union

Realty Executives Central Florida

State Farm Insurance - Jo Barsh Insurance Agency, LLC

Tom West Blueberries

Walgreens

ELITE

Inspired Living at Ocoee

M/I Homes at Hickory Hammock

Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

Taylor Morrison - Reserve at Carriage Pointe

Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge

M/I Homes at Summerlake Groves

Paradiso 37 Taste of the Americas

Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

Taylor Morrison

The Golden Bear Club at Keene's Pointe

The Mall at Millenia

Validus Senior Living

EXCLUSIVE

Headquarter Hyundai

Headquarter Mazda

LA Fitness - Apopka 

LA Fitness - MetroWest 

LA Fitness - Ocoee 

LA Fitness - Winter Garden 

LA Fitness - Windermere

Headquarter Honda

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Nehrling Gardens

Roper YMCA Family Center

Share the Care

CareerSource Central Florida

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Disney Wide World of Sports

Seacoast Bank - Clermont 

Seacoast Bank - Downtown Orlando 

Seacoast Bank - Dr. Phillips 

Seacoast Bank - South Orlando 

Seacoast Bank - Winter Garden

Walt Disney World Company

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

BB&T - Ocoee 

BB&T - Silver Star 

Publix - Cornerstone at Summerport 

Publix - Dr. Phillips Marketplace 

Publix - Fountains West 

Publix - Fowler Groves 

Publix - Good Homes Plaza 

Publix - Kirkman Oaks Center 

Publix - Lakeside Village Center 

Publix - MetroWest Village 

Publix - Plantation Grove 

Publix - Plaza Venezia 

Publix - Silver Crossing 

Publix - The Cascades at Isleworth 

Publix - West Point Commons 

BB&T - Winter Garden

Manheim Orlando

Publix - Sand Lake

SCHOOLS

Keene's Crossing Elementary

Prairie Lake Elementary School

Tildenville Elementary School

Windermere Elementary School

MUNICIPALITIES

City of Ocoee

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » GradePower Learning announces expansion plan

Wed, January 24, 2018

GradePower Learning announces expansion plan

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GradePower Learning recently announced a groundbreaking franchise sales initiative. On January 1, 2018, the organization welcomed its first Area Representative, Alexander Fernandez, to the GradePower Learning family.

Alex has committed to opening an unprecedented 12 centers in the Jacksonville, Florida area over the next five years, dramatically expanding the GradePower Learning brand
into the United States market. This is great news not only for Jacksonville and for Florida, but for all of GradePower Learning!

For the past eighteen years, Alex has been successfully working in the franchisee industry, operating Dunkin’ Donuts locations in both Florida and Georgia. This experience has earned him an in-depth understanding of operational and franchise management, granting him the skills and the experience to take on this momentous undertaking.

Many may already know Alex through his fiancée, Gina Geloso, who opened the Ocoee, Florida center three years ago. Alex is very excited to be part of the GradePower Learning team and looks forward to collaborating with the local community in the very near future!

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange Dental Alliance program launches

Tue, January 23, 2018

West Orange Dental Alliance program launches

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Thanks to support and funding from the West Orange Health Alliance, the West Orange Dental Alliance program has been launched. The “WODA” program targets the local hospitals and community centers who reside in the West Orange Healthcare District and who are at or below 100% of the poverty level. WODA is now making emergent dental care available to qualifying residents of the West Orange area, with a goal to keep residents who are without dental insurance or the means to afford dental care out of the ER.

With the support from our community, the West Orange Dental Alliance is able to coordinate with our caring local dental providers who have graciously volunteered to participate in this program. They serve the programs patients in their offices that helps create smiles that give hope and improve lives.

The program has most recently implemented a “Jump Start” Program aiming to reach patients to become “Restorable to Employable”. The goal is to offer dental restorations/treatment to bring the patient/job seeker back to a healthy smile so that they have the best possible chance to get a job or a better one at that.

Please visit www.wodentalalliance.org for more information.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » A Word from Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey

Tue, January 23, 2018

A Word from Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey

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Happy New Year everyone! I hope and pray that 2018 will be filled with all the best for you and your family. As much as I am looking forward to this New Year, I am doing so through the context of the year past. Since I was sworn into office in December of 2016, 2017 represented my first full year in office. Much of what we did was expected, but there were some notable exceptions, such as Hurricane Irma. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of what we did in the District 1 office this past year and some of what we began in 2017 that will carry over to 2018 and beyond.

While knocking on doors during the campaign it became clear to me that our large item pick up for waste removal was lacking and leaving many of you frustrated. I made a promise that I would begin a conversation aimed at improving our waste removal service. I did that and beginning this year you will no longer be required to call in to schedule pick up of your large items. It will now happen on a regular schedule. I hope this improvement in the service will make your life simpler.

Traffic is a constant challenge in our area, we are indeed growing at a rapid pace and while we welcome all of our new neighbors, we are working very hard to accommodate the additional traffic that accompanies this rapid growth. This year we requested and completed 121 traffic warrant studies and Traffic Engineering projects for everything from traffic signals to turn lanes and from crosswalks to speed bumps. We worked with our partners at the Sherriff's office to increase enforcement activities in areas of concern, we compelled developers to install traffic advisory signs to advise drivers as to speed and wildlife crossing and we brought the intersection of Tilden and Tiny roads to design for improvements. I am happy to say that we will also be breaking ground shortly on completing Hamlin Groves Trail giving more connectivity to the Bridgewater Middle School area. We also completed the Sand Lake Road study and will be identifying funding and implementing the recommendations. We have begun the Reams Road study from Summerlake Park Boulevard to Taborfield Avenue, and look forward to implementing those recommendations as well. We have funded and scheduled improvements to much of our infrastructure including Summerlake and Ficquette roads. This is just a sampling of the attention we are giving to transportation projects and we have much still left to do but we are moving in the right direction.

I also shared your concern regarding adequate staffing for our law enforcement. That is why I am proud that our Board of County Commissioners voted for the largest one time pay increase for our Sheriff's officers and authorized the hiring of more law enforcement positions. We are fortunate to have such fine men and women working to protect us and I am proud to be able to support them.

As we grow in this area it is imperative that we preserve our natural world and natural beauty as well. I have worked hard to ensure that developers preserve wetlands and to set aside lands for parks and recreation. This past year we broke ground on 2 new parks in District 1, including our first ever joint use park with Orange County Public Schools, the Deputy Scott Pine Park. I am excited about this new way of partnering with OCPS and look forward to more of this type of creative solution. We were also able to dedicate a picnic pavilion at the John's Lake Conservation area. If you haven't been out to take a look at this hidden gem, please do so, and take your kayak as we have wonderful launch facilities to offer as well.

Speaking of parks, we have a wonderful opportunity with the Horizon West Regional Park. This 200+ acre park (about a 1/3 of the size of New York's Central Park) can serve as an incredible regional amenity to the entire County. At my request Orange County staff prepared a presentation for my board to outline the park's history and possible next steps. As a result we will be releasing a request for qualifications shortly for a master planner to help us determine the highest and best use for the park and to identify funding sources. The ultimate goal is to create a park unlike any other in the area that will have world class amenities right here in our area.

Finally, I had much to learn in terms of preparing the community for the largest hurricane ever to hit the State of Florida. With the lessons learned I initiated a board discussion and worked with staff, building industry representatives and my fellow commissioners, and we have now updated our building code to include storm preparation requirements for builders. I also learned much about debris pick up in gated vs. non gated communities. Taking those lessons I have started a dialogue with my board and we have directed staff to come back to us with solutions that would offer the same level of service for storm debris pick up regardless of whether you live in a gated community or not.

There are thousands of emails and call that we have received throughout the year. The outline above is just a sampling of the many items we have worked on this year. When I campaigned for office I was determined to ensure that this office served the needs of the community while making wise use of our resources. While there is always room for improvement, I believe that we are focused every day on the needs of District 1. Welcome to the New Year! There is still much to do but we have a good start.  

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Kick off a successful 2018 with the West Orange Chamber

Tue, January 23, 2018

Kick off a successful 2018 with the West Orange Chamber

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By Joe Alarie, WOCC Chairman

Hello, I am Joe Alarie, the 2018 Chairman of the West Orange Chamber. As a longtime member of the Chamber and the Board, I have been proud to watch the Chamber continue to grow and evolve. I have had the opportunity to serve on the board since 2003, and previously served as Director of Human Resources on the Executive Committee.  I am excited to contribute my ideas as the Chamber marches forward into this new era, and I know I have a great Board of Directors working alongside me to lead the way.
    
We have plenty of great business-building opportunities coming up, starting with this Friday, January 26 at The Big Orange Awards. This event is one to look forward to every year, as the Chamber honors the accomplishments and triumphs of some of its most admired and inspirational members. I hope to see many of you there.

Mark your calendar for Best Fest on March 8, hosted once again by our friends at the City of Ocoee on the shore of Starke Lake. For all of our restaurant members, now is the time to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to showcase the culinary delights that will have attendees rushing to your doors for more. 

I know that 2018 is going to be a successful year for you and all of our West Orange Chamber members. I look forward to seeing you at future events and programs.  If you ever need assistance, please do not hesitate to talk to me or the Chamber Team.  

Sincerely,

Joe Alarie

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Making a New Year’s Resolution for your Business

Tue, January 09, 2018

Making a New Year’s Resolution for your Business

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It's time to put your New Year’s Resolutions for your business into action, here is how to get started! You probably have been receiving emails from the West Orange Chamber for months but haven’t found the right time or know how to move forward with your membership – until now. 

Membership in the WOCC can help you check the following resolutions off your list:

Join a business organization

Business growth, community connection through networking, marketing and education are reasons why businesses join organizations. There are many out there but why not be a part of the best with over 1100+ members and named Best Chamber in the State of Florida three consecutive times? Your membership is also tax deductible, don’t forget to claim your Chamber membership as a business expense!

Promote your business on a regular basis

Members and other potential customers can find you through the WOCC business directory and the print business directory (Discover Magazine). Connect with others at 100+ networking opportunities as well as remote benefits online. Advertise and sponsor in the bi-weekly e-publication, events or social media. 

Give back to your community

Being a member of your local Chamber gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the bigger picture of business, contributing to the growth and success of your fellow new and long standing businesses. Always utilize Chamber members when in need of a product or service and they will do the same for your business, simple as that; support your business community and they will support you!

Be a business mentor or receive business advice from others

Experienced business owners have a wealth of knowledge, why not meet at an event or in a guest article to share ideas and suggestions?  Each year, our members are encouraged to write an industry expert article about what you know best and are published on wochamber.com and/or LinkedIn.

Learn something to help advance your business

Several times per year, the Chamber offers classes and/or programs to help increase your business acumen. Members are often the expert presenters in a welcoming and casual atmosphere where questions and feedback are encouraged.

Utilize social media to expand your audience

Be a part of the Chamber’s social media and share information and exciting news about your business. Like and comment on others’ posts, write an article for LinkedIn, let us retweet your tweets and share your videos while we tag it back to you!

Know your prospective customers on a personal level

On the golf course during Golf Networking Group and Golf Classic Tournament, over a dessert at Best Fest, celebrating excellence at the Big Orange Awards.  Over 100 networking events give you the opportunity to expand your business relationships face to face and with a handshake.

Let your Chamber advocate on your behalf

Advocacy is key! The Chamber takes your concerns to Tallahassee to positively affect your business. We have been successful in making a difference for over 45 years and continue to be your voice, your membership supports the positive West Orange business climate.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Mon, January 08, 2018

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Christensen Financial - The English Mortgage Team

Floribra USA, Inc.

Legal Shield

Rob Panepinto - Candidate for Orange County Mayor

ENHANCED

Angry Tom's LLC

Paradise Barbershop & Spa

Paychex

PNS Group

ELITE

Hamlin Grove's Dental Care

Max Torque LLC

ConTech Construction LLC

Jamba Juice

Max Torque Auto Group 

Orlando Health - Express Care 

EXCLUSIVE

Axiom Bank - Maitland

Windsor at Celebration

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

The Vue at 360

Westside Shoppes

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Action Air Of Florida

All Aspects Dental

Arthur's Creative Events and Catering

Conoley Citrus Packers, Inc.

Cracker Barrel

Craig Martin, ChFC, CLU, CLF - State Farm Insurance

Crawford Tire Service

Crescent Communities

Custom Metal Designs, Inc.

Custom Shoe Repair & Dry Cleaners

Edumatics, Inc.

Florida Metal Craft, Inc.

Geosam Veranda, LLC

Graham Family Law Firm, PA

Heller Bros. Packing Corp.

Holland Properties, Inc.

Hyde Park 55+ Community

Inland Seas Apartments

Jose A. Cantero P.A.

Ocoee Animal Hospital

Quest Diagnostics

Sauer Septic Systems

Stage Stop Campground Inc.

The RabCo Corporation

Tony's Liquors Inc.

ENHANCED

American Forklift Rental

Bella Room, LLC

iTech Repair Solutions

Jackson Lewis

Orlando on Wheels, LLC

Paws & Play Pet Resort

Safeguard Business Printing and Promotional Products

San Jose's Original Mexican Restaurant

ELITE

Captain D's - Pine Hills

CFE Federal Credit Union - Winter Garden 

House Blend Café

Scribblefish Media LLC

Stoneybrook West Storage

Territo Information Systems

The Vineyard Vitality Center

Trustco Bank - Orlando

Axum Coffee

Captain D's - Winter Garden

CFE Federal Credit Union - Orlando

Collage Design and Construction Group Inc. 

Lake Apopka Natural Gas District

Maguire Road Storage

Ocoee Health Care Center

Orange Buick GMC

ScribbleSpace LLC 

Sysco Food Services of Central Florida, Inc.

Territo Electric, Inc.

The Vineyard, Wine Bar and Healthy Bistro

Trustco Bank - Winter Garden

UNO Chicago Grill - Winter Garden

UNO Chicago Grill - International Drive

WSP USA

EXCLUSIVE

Reunion Resort and Club

COMMUNITY PARTNER

American Lung Association in Florida

Bread of Life Fellowship, Inc.

Cornerstone Community Church

Early Learning Coalition of Orange County

Edgewood Children's Ranch

Orange County Clerk of the Courts

Orange County Supervisor of Elections

The Bond Foundation

The Gift of Swimming

Winter Garden Little League

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

ACE Hardware - Groveland 

ACE Hardware - Hilltop 

ACE Hardware - Orlando 

ACE Hardware - South Orange 

Best Cleaners - Apopka 

Best Cleaners - Baldwin Park 

Best Cleaners - Celebration 

Best Cleaners - Downtown Orlando 

Best Cleaners - Windermere 

Best Cleaners - Winter Garden 

Progress Energy

ACE Hardware - Winter Garden

Best Cleaners - Dr. Phillips

DRB Benefits Group

Duke Energy

Fishback Dominick

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Sines Blakeslee Madyda, Certified Public Accountants, P.A.

ASSOCIATE

Joseph J. McClellan 

Theodore H. VanDeventer

SCHOOLS

University of Florida

Dr. Phillips High School

Hope Charter School/Legacy High

Olympia High School

West Orange High School

Windermere Preparatory School

Bay Meadows Elementary School

Citrus Elementary

Dr. Phillips Elementary School

Foundation Academy - North Campus

MetroWest Elementary School

Ocoee Elementary School

Ocoee Middle School

Sunset Park Elementary

Windy Ridge School

MUNICIPALITIES

Town of Oakland

Town of Windermere

City of Winter Garden

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Ocoee Community Grant applications now available

Tue, January 02, 2018

Ocoee Community Grant applications now available

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The City of Ocoee’s Community Grant applications will be available at Ocoee.org beginning January 2, 2018.  Residents may also pick up an application at Ocoee City Hall located at 150 North Lakeshore Drive.  The deadline to submit applications is January 31, 2018.

The Community Grant program, held in January and July, provides financial grants of up to $500. There is $5,000 available for this grant cycle.

Groups that are eligible to apply for a grant are Ocoee non-profit organizations and civic groups. In addition, non-profit organizations and civic groups outside the city limits, which benefit residents of Ocoee, are also qualified to apply for a Community Grant. The city awards the grants to acknowledge excellence and to further the contributions these local organizations bring to the Ocoee community. Completed applications should be mailed or delivered to City Hall, Community Relations, 150 North Lakeshore Drive. 

The applications are reviewed and ranked by the Community Grant Review Board, a group of residents appointed by the Ocoee City Commission. The Community Grant Review Board makes a recommendation to the City Commission on which organizations to fund. The City Commission then makes the final decision. The next grant cycle begins on July 2, 2018.

For information, call 407-905-3100.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Unicorp becomes newest West Orange Chamber Supporting Trustee

Tue, December 19, 2017

Unicorp becomes newest West Orange Chamber Supporting Trustee

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The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced today that Unicorp National Developments, Inc. has taken advantage of the highly beneficial Supporting Trustee level of membership.

Unicorp National Developments, Inc. is headed by one of the industry leaders, Chuck Whittall. From modest beginnings, and with the help of a hand-picked dream team of professionals behind him, this visionary has built one of the most dynamic and fastest growing development companies in the country. With the mission of building the best quality projects, moving quickly and decisively to close deals and move projects forward to completion, Unicorp assures delivery of exceptional results time and time again.

This investment will further support the integration and presence of Unicorp within central Florida and West Orange County. The Chamber’s Supporting Trustees benefit from increased levels of exposure, while providing the Chamber with additional financial stability. Learn more about Trustee level membership and all the ways that the WOCC, the 2015 Florida Chamber of the Year, can facilitate opportunities for your business at wochamber.com.

 

File under: Press Releases

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Celebrating a successful 2017

Tue, December 19, 2017

Celebrating a successful 2017

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By Keith Bradford, WOCC Chairman

It is hard to believe that we are already wrapping up this milestone 45th year of building business and facilitating opportunity at the West Orange Chamber.  The Chamber reached new heights in 2017, as our membership continued to grow, premier events were bigger and better than ever, and we advocated for causes that will positively influence our members and the business community.

At the Member Celebration Brunch on December 8, I handed off the Chairman’s gavel to Joe Alarie, so this will be the last of my articles as the Chamber Chairman.  This wraps up a truly remarkable stretch for me, as I’ve been able to play a role in the 45th anniversary celebration not only here at the Chamber, but also at Walt Disney World.  However, I am excited to welcome Joe Alarie to the Chairman’s role. He is a longtime board member and a fixture here in our community, and I know he will provide the Chamber with strong, smart leadership.

The Chamber’s leadership team is key to the ongoing success of this organization, so we are tremendously grateful to those business leaders who give of their time and talents to serve on the Chamber Board.  During our Membership Breakfast we recognized a number of our board members who helped lead this organization over the course of this past year.  We also said goodbye to outgoing board members, including Kurt Ardaman, Commissioner Bryan Nelson, David Billsborough, Amanda Maggard and Jaclyn Whiddon. We sincerely appreciate those board members for their service and dedication throughout their terms.

We also welcomed a group of incoming board members to help lead the Chamber into the future.  Scott Boyd, Paul McNamara and Lynn Walker Wright have joined the Board of Directors for 2018.  These new board members will add their unique ideas and talents to further facilitate opportunities for Chamber members. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Chamber Team, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season as we look forward to a successful and happy New Year.  Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

Keith Bradford

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #45: Looking forward to the next 45 years

Tue, December 19, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #45: Looking forward to the next 45 years

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As we wrap up this momentous 45th year of Facilitating Opportunity in West Orange County, we now begin to look toward the bright future of our prospering business community.

The West Orange Chamber works to strengthen its business members and the challenges they face in today's dynamic economy. It is with this demand in mind that we are retooling our strategic plan to align with the needs of the local marketplace and respond to state and national trends that impact the business climate. There are two key areas of focus. The first is our newly launched West Orange Foundation, created to support important causes, workforce development and education initiatives.

The second is the Growth Matters campaign, our plan to create a work and gathering space environment that will enhance the program support of our WOCC members and our community. In anticipation of the continued strong growth of the West Orange business community, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce is seeking to create a state-of-the-art interior with expanded meeting areas, new member service stations, upgrades to the building’s exterior, and accommodations for a growing staff to meet members’ needs.

We look forward to sharing more information on the progress of these important endeavors as we enter 2018 and beyond!

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Tue, December 19, 2017

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Destination MCO

Izziban Sushi & BBQ - Metrowest

Lacey Adams Real Estate Investments

Oelrich Construction, Inc.

Southern Strategy Group

Stark Strategic Solutions-Recognition and Event Consulting

ENHANCED

Husse - Whole Pets Inc.

Lakota Wellness

Maguire Park Street Owner LLC / Park Place at Maguire

Metamorphosis Therapy, LLC

Soul Haven Ranch

ELITE

Baker Barrios Architects

Navy Federal Credit Union

Paddywagon Irish Pub-Orlando

T-Mobile by DB Wireless LLC

Westbrook Service Corporation

Zaxby's - Ocoee

EXCLUSIVE

Axiom Bank

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Lake Meadow Naturals

Pro-Tech Air Conditioning & Plumbing Service, Inc.

Chase - Bayhill Branch

Chase - Ocoee Branch

Chase Bank - Windermere Branch

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Orlando Magic Youth Foundation

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida

ASSOCIATE

Charmina Phillips

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Winter Garden Animal Hospital

The Original Sign Factory

Big City Catering, Inc.

First Class Livery Services, Inc.

R & D Transmission & Automotive Repair LLC.

Josie's Pizza & Wings

Winter Garden Smiles- General and Pediatric Dentistry

VITAS Healthcare

Duncan's Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc

Arthur Slowe & Associates, P.A.

Boyette, Cummins & Nailos, PLLC

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Harry & Larry's Bar-B-Que

ADT Security Services Resident/Custom Homes

AAA Bay Hill - Orlando

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers

Trilogy by Shea Homes

DTS Restorative Services, Inc.

Salescoaching1

West Orange Nephrology

Anne's Art and Design

IDShield Services

Design Pro Screens Inc.

411 Restoration & Remodeling, Inc.

Cappleman Inc.

1st Choice Door and Millwork

Brookdale Senior Living Solutions - Ocoee

ENHANCED

Minuteman Press

The Salt Scene Halotherapy

Orlando Solar Bears

The Corporate Brand, Inc.

The Chiropractic Center

The Cookery

Simmonds Dental Center

ELITE

Brookdale Senior Living Solutions - Dr. Phillips

Office Depot OfficeMax

Central Florida Press, LLC

Rocco's Tacos

Eddie V's

Wells Fargo Bank N.A

V's Barber Shop

The Sheridan at Windermere

EXCLUSIVE

Waste Connections

My Neighborhood Storage - Lakeside

Don Mealey Chevrolet

Conduent

Jones Homes USA

My Neighborhood Storage - Lakeside

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Friends Of Lake Apopka

Bloom 'N Grow Garden Society

Junior Achievement of Central Florida, Inc.

Fuzzy Therapy Miniature Horses Inc.

Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Orlando Health

Florida Blue

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

First Class Cleaners 

Unicorp National Developments, Inc.

ASSOCIATE

Linda Osterberg NMLS #292791 - Mortgage Solutions of Central Florida

SCHOOLS

Orange Technical College - Westside Campus

Montverde Academy

Gotha Middle School

Lake Whitney Elementary

Westbrooke Elementary School

SunRidge Middle School

Kid's Community College

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » WOCC members work together to provide Thanksgiving baskets for those in need

Tue, December 19, 2017

WOCC members work together to provide Thanksgiving baskets for those in need

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This fall's West Orange Foundation Thanksgiving Drive was the most successful to date, as members volunteered funds, food and time to provide baskets for 115 families in need here in the West Orange community! Contributors who helped make this project possible included Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, BB&T, Sam's Club, Walmart and Publix, along with many from our Board of Directors, ambassadors, networking groups and several other members. Our sincere thanks go out to Linda Osterberg for once again leading this wonderful program!

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » With support of West Orange Chamber, City of Ocoee passes Sunday alcohol sales ordinance

Wed, December 13, 2017

With support of West Orange Chamber, City of Ocoee passes Sunday alcohol sales ordinance

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The City of Ocoee recently passed an ordinance allowing for the sale and service of alcohol on Sunday to begin at 7:00am for restaurants and lodging properties. Previously, sales before 11:00am were prohibited.

The ordinance that passed was spearheaded by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC), which led efforts to bring the city’s ordinances in line with the surrounding communities. The Chamber has been in regular communication with city leaders and owners of affected businesses, leading the way for passage of these changes.

The amendment to the ordinance mirrors changes made by Orange County and surrounding communities, and prevents current and future Ocoee businesses from being placed in an economically disadvantageous position. With large-scale development on the horizon for downtown Ocoee and along State Road 50, the new ordinance allows the city to maintain a competitive position to attract new businesses.

“We believe by supporting this amendment, we are facilitating opportunity for many of our Ocoee members by increasing their competitiveness in the market,” said Stina D’Uva, WOCC President/CEO. “We will continue to work with our local government leaders to create a stronger West Orange business community.”

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » End of Year Business Budget

Tue, December 05, 2017

End of Year Business Budget

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Posted By

Heather Papoulis

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As the end of the year is upon us, it is easy to overspend and get overwhelmed. The average person in Central Florida will spend more than $900 on the holidays and that is in gifts alone! What about business? Remember there are many options out there, but your Chamber membership is an investment we hope you feel just as good about as we do. Many people are tempted to “start the year” or “get a fresh start in the new year.” It is easy to wrap our heads around the symbolic freshness of 1/1. Here are a few reasons it may be better to join or renew at the end of the year for business expenses:

  1. You can write off your business expenses for your taxes (your Chamber membership is a business expense) and slide in some end-of-year savings on your next tax return!
  2. Most organizations (including the Chamber) offer 4th quarter/end-of-year breaks and benefits.
  3. Get a head start on everybody else. Most people will start thinking about the next year... in the next year. Be proactive and get your business plan in order before the rest of the herd, so you don’t get trampled!

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #44: WOCC Lifetime Directors

Tue, December 05, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #44: WOCC Lifetime Directors

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One of the West Orange Chamber's highest honors is the award of Lifetime Director. The executive committee of the chamber, upon due consideration of a board member’s accomplishments on behalf of the chamber, may recommend a past board member in good-standing for a lifetime director award.  A lifetime director receives complimentary membership for his/her lifetime, a plaque, his/her name added to the perpetual plaque, and is granted attendance to all board meetings.

The West Orange Chamber's Lifetime Directors are: William "Bill" Breeze, Alton Julian, Neal Harris, Kay Behrens, Jim Neumayer, Russ Salerno, Julie Kleffel, Dr. Diane Trees, Richard Irwin and James K. Densmore.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #43: Ocoee & Winter Garden

Tue, December 05, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #43: Ocoee & Winter Garden

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The Cities of Ocoee and Winter Garden have played a vital role throughout the West Orange Chamber's history. During the days of the formation of Chamber, efforts were taken to ensure that both cities would be well represented, and a central location was sought for the Chamber office, which was quickly found on State Road 50 near the border of the two cities, where the organization still resides today. Each city has worked closely with the Chamber over the years, and many Chamber events are hosted and sponsored by the two cities today.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #42: WOCC Chairmen of the Board

Tue, December 05, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #42: WOCC Chairmen of the Board

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The West Orange Chamber's Chairman of the Board serves in a one-year term as the leader of the Board of Directors. The Chairman leads the organization by promoting the Chamber and its initiatives, and formulating policies and programs that further the business community. Over the years, many of West Orange's most recognizable names have served in this leadership role. 

WOCC Chairmen of the Board

1972 - Joe Walker 1973 - Jerry Kennedy 1974 - George Bailey
1975 - William Breeze 1976 - Ernie Johnson 1977 - Mervin Lee
1978 - Doris Grimes 1979 - Robert Elrod 1980 - Dan Dummett
1981 - Bob Barber  1982 - Tim Lawyer 1983 - Charles Godley
1984 - JoAnne Quarles 1985 - Gerald Weeks 1986 - Wanda Hatley
1987 - John Cope 1988 - Roy Hester 1989 - Walter Toole
1990 - Jerry Baker 1991 - Greg Collison 1992 - Walt Cobb
1993 - Dan Petro 1994 - Paul Lewis 1995 - Larry Cappleman
1996 - Lynn Walker Wright 1997 - Derek Blakeslee 1998 - Richard Irwin
1999 - John Terrell 2000 - Ken Cone 2001 - Kay Behrens
2002 - Carolyn Cappleman 2003 - Neil Harris 2004 - Kurt Ardaman 
2005 - Jim Neumayer 2006 - Pam Gould 2007 - Russ Salerno
2008 - Julie Kleffel 2009 - Diane Trees 2010 - Jim Densmore
2011 - Michael Waldrop 2012 - David Sylvester 2013 - David Billsborough
2014 - Lynetta Tipton Steed 2015 - Debbie Clements 2016 - Robert Maphis
  2017 - Keith Bradford  

 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange Dental Alliance unveils “Jump Start” program

Tue, November 28, 2017

West Orange Dental Alliance unveils “Jump Start” program

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The West Orange Dental Alliance has implemented a “JUMP START” program to help residents obtain better dental health and employment.

Quick Facts About West Orange Dental Alliance

  • The WODA Dental program is for low-income, uninsured residents in the West Orange Healthcare district.
  • Currently we are only accepting patients in need of emergent dental care.
  • Patients must provide proof of residency and income before any services are rendered.
  • There is NO out-of-pocket cost to an eligible patient.
  • The WODA program refers out to local dental providers that have agreed to complete treatment on patients in their own office.
  • We have implemented a “JUMP START” program to help residents obtain better dental health and employment.

Jump Start Program - "Restorable to Employable"

Once the Alliance has treated a patient’s emergent issue, they are able to apply for the “Jump Start” Program. This program is based upon board approval, which can provide restorative dental treatment to patients that have the drive to get a job or a better one at that!

 

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Local Fundraising Professionals Recognize Reed Nissan for Corporate and Foundation Giving During “National Philanthropy Day”

Tue, November 28, 2017

Local Fundraising Professionals Recognize Reed Nissan for Corporate and Foundation Giving During “National Philanthropy Day”

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Reed Nissan has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter (AFP-FC) with the Corporate and Foundation Engagement award in observance of National Philanthropy Day.    

Reed Nissan was recognized for its local community involvement, support of human and animal welfare groups and substantial corporate financial giving.  The dealership is well known for annual projects such as “Reed Gives Back to the Community Day,” (which awards new vehicles to deserving young people from within Central Florida’s foster care system) and “Paws In The Park” (which encourages pet adoption while raising public awareness and financial support to help shelter pets in need).

“We are humbled and honored to accept this recognition on behalf of the 250 employees throughout our company who participate in our many philanthropic and community service endeavors,” said Aaron Hill, general manager of Reed Nissan and Reed Nissan Clermont.  “Of course, none of this would be possible without the patronage of our valued customers who have done business with our dealerships over the years. This award is really about them as well.”

Reed was among other honorees at this year's 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards, which took place on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes.

“National Philanthropy Day acknowledges the entire spectrum of services that the non-profit, civic and service sectors provide, as well as the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society,” said Ashley Hickman, director of development for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and a volunteer with the Central Florida Chapter of AFP.

The “Orlando Health Corporate & Foundation Engagement” honor is presented to corporations, corporate or public foundations that are active in philanthropy in Central Florida, and is instrumental in encouraging others to be involved.

  • Impact of direct gift support (corporate or foundation contributions) to the Central Florida community
  • Achievements accomplished through the company’s internal philanthropic efforts (employee contributions and volunteer service)
  • Encouragement and motivation given to others, especially company employees, to assume leadership roles, setting the example for philanthropy and increasing community involvement
  • Philanthropic support that has resulted in solving organizational and community challenges

See website: http://www.afpcentralflorida.org/npd/

About Reed Nissan

For nearly 70 years, Floridians have come to respect Reed Nissan’s commitment to excellent customer service which has led to seven Circle of Excellence Awards -- the only large volume dealership to receive this prestigious honor from Nissan North America. By building relationships with customers and the community, Reed Nissan and Reed Nissan Clermont continue to grow as a family business and as a top Nissan dealership.  www.reednissan.com  

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » CenturyLink completes acquisition of Level 3

Tue, November 28, 2017

CenturyLink completes acquisition of Level 3

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CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) has completed its acquisition of Level 3 Communications, Inc. The combination of CenturyLink and Level 3 creates a leading global network services company capable of providing customers a wide range of high-quality technology solutions over a secure and reliable fiber-rich network.

The combined company, with estimated pro forma revenue of $24 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2017 (excluding revenue related to CenturyLink’s May 1, 2017, colocation business sale and including estimated intercompany eliminations and purchase accounting adjustments), anticipates that approximately 75 percent of its core revenue will come from business customers and nearly two-thirds of its core revenue will come from strategic services. CenturyLink’s network now connects more than 350 metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 fiber-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America.

Visit www.level3isnowcenturylink.com to learn more about the new CenturyLink.

“CenturyLink is now poised to offer an expanded, robust portfolio of communications solutions focused on our customers’ networking and IT services needs,” said Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink’s chief executive officer. “Our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, will benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions, our complementary managed services and our highly talented workforce.”

CenturyLink is now even better positioned to:

  • Offer a broader, innovative product portfolio of network solutions and advanced IT services designed to meet complex technology and threat protection needs
  • Deliver these solutions and services to enterprise, government, wholesale and consumer customers over a large-scale, fiber-rich global network
  • Continue to invest in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers.

“Our goal is to be the world’s best networking provider and we have the ability to achieve this as one company,” said Jeff Storey, CenturyLink’s president and chief operating officer. “CenturyLink is focused on providing a differentiated experience for our customers, while driving profitable growth and increasing free cash flow per share. Our scale and experience will enable us to deliver on behalf of our customers, employees and our shareholders.”

Transaction Details

Holders of Level 3 common stock as of immediately prior to closing are entitled to receive $26.50 per share in cash (without interest) and 1.4286 shares of CenturyLink stock for each Level 3 share they owned. CenturyLink shareholders now own approximately 51 percent and former Level 3 stockholders now own approximately 49 percent of the combined company. CenturyLink remains headquartered in Monroe, La., with a key operational presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #41: WOCC Trustees

Mon, November 27, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #41: WOCC Trustees

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The Community Trustee program, a top-tier investment level within the Chamber, represents the premier organizations and companies in West Orange county and neighboring communities. Through tailored programming, the Chamber provides these members with social and political networking, increased branding opportunities and recognition at all Chamber events. This is a premier membership designed to connect community leaders and other executives with benefits and services geared to meet the challenges of today's business.

The success of the Community Trustee program heralded the creation of the Supporting Trustee program. This membership provides a much defined, highly valuable array of benefits provided to heighten their exposure within West Orange County and beyond.  The Supporting Trustee level enables these members to unite in our shared vision of preparing and developing local businesses and the community for a better tomorrow.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #40: Small Business Development Team

Mon, November 27, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #40: Small Business Development Team

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The Small Business Development Team (SBDT) exists to provide small business owners, their managers and employees with the tools, resources and network to enhance their businesses. They accomplish this goal by offering existing Chamber members a vast selection of educational, networking and fundamental business events, such as the Lead and Feed and Lunch and Learn programs. This committee is tasked with gathering member feedback and suggestions for upcoming event topics and speakers and bringing those programs to light. 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #39: WOCC Ambassadors

Mon, November 27, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #39: WOCC Ambassadors

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The Ambassadors are the goodwill representatives of the West Orange Chamber. They are easily recognized in their red jackets. Ambassadors play a key role for the Chamber, serving as the hosts of many functions, including ribbon cuttings, anniversary celebrations, Business After Hours and other events. They also promote Chamber programs, projects and activities to current and prospective members. Click here to learn more about the current Ambassador committee. 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Fri, November 24, 2017

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Business Architects of Innovation, Inc.

C Solutions, Inc

Hatch Funding

Mark Byrd - Candidate for Orange County Commission, District 2

ENHANCED

Arbours at Crown Point, LLC

Browning's Health Care

Dental Care at Westside Shoppes

Fancy Pantry

Florida Smart Homes

The Funk Collection, Powered by eXp Realty

Windermere Flowers and Gifts

ELITE

Miller's Ale House - Winter Garden

Orlando Orthopaedic Center

EXCLUSIVE

Subway Winter Garden # 7013

Subway Maguire Road # 35590

Subway Ocoee # 20811

Subway Stoneybrook West # 40185

ASSOCIATE

Gary Shif

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Advocate Enterprises

Aldo's Fine Jewelry

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza

Arellano Realty & Investments, LLC

Bank of America

BRAVO! Cucina Italiana

Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care

DeGusipe Funeral Home & Crematory

DL Flooring

Edward Jones - Bruce Young, CFP®, CRPC® - Financial Advisor

Engel & Volkers of Clermont

Hardee's

Hohman Rehab & Sports Therapy

Holiday Inn Express

Home Inspections by Nolan

Insperity Support Services, LP

J&J Building, LLC

J. Richard Watson Construction Co., Inc.

JB Meridian Advisors

Larisa Meade Insurance Agency

MetroWest Master Association, Inc.

Ms. Bee's Popcorn & Candy Shoppe

Nothing Bundt Cakes

PCG

S&ME

Shred-it

Sign Farm

The Sacred Olive

The UPS Store

Tudor Electric Co., Inc.

ENHANCED

Any Lab Test Now

Armstrong Air & Heating

First Capital Property Group

Florida Center for Hormones and Wellness

GuideWell Emergency Doctors

Jeremiah's Italian Ice

Optimum Body Fitness 

Servpro of West Orange

Shannon Till - State Farm Insurance

ELITE

Casa Jimenez

DRMP, Inc.

FirstService Residential

Kelly's Foods, Inc.

McCoy Federal Credit Union

The Big Easy

Waste Pro USA

Whole Foods Market

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Florida State Representative Kamia Brown 

Garden Theatre

Orange County Property Appraiser

People of Faith Lutheran Church

Pine Hills Community Council

Promise Communities Services of FL, Inc.

Bethany Christian Services

Women In The Arts, Inc.

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Bright Future Electric, LLC

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

Alliance Title Services, LTD.

Blue Cord Design and Construction LLC

Lynn Walker Wright, P.A.

South Milhausen, P.A.

ASSOCIATE

Lorraine Burch - Engel & Volkers Clermont

SCHOOLS

Evans High School

Foundation Academy - South Campus

Meadowbrook Middle School

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #38: West Orange Trail

Tue, November 14, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #38: West Orange Trail

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The West Orange Trail has played a vital role in the economic expansion of West Orange County, particularly the rejuvenation of historic downtown Winter Garden, where the trail runs right down the middle of Plant Street. Nearly every day, you'll find hundreds of walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters enjoying the trail. 

The trail stretches nearly 22 miles, from the Orange/Lake county line near Oakland to Welch Road in Apopka, passing through Winter Garden and Ocoee along the way. It also connects to the South Lake Trail, providing easy access to Clermont and Minneola to the west. It will provide an important link in the Coast-to-Coast Connector, a system of interlinked trails that will cross the state, connecting St. Petersburg to Titusville.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #37 - West Orange Commitee of 101 (C101)

Tue, November 14, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber #37 - West Orange Commitee of 101 (C101)

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For over 17 years, the Committee of One Hundred and One (C101) has supported projects and local nonprofit organizations who positively contribute to our community.

Membership in the C101 is limited to only those who demonstrate the most substantial, positive influence or leadership in West Orange County and membership is limited to one hundred and one members. Selection as a member of C101 will only be able to occur after nomination by two C101 board members, screening of the nominee and final approval by the C101 Board. Membership in C101 offers private social gatherings and interactions with other influential members of the committee.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Ocoee Most Valuable Partnership Grants – applications now available

Tue, November 14, 2017

Ocoee Most Valuable Partnership Grants – applications now available

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OCOEE, Fla. – Applications for the City of Ocoee’s Most Valuable Partnership Grants are now available. Ocoee homeowner associations and civic groups may submit projects which beautify neighborhoods, address public safety concerns, or foster cultural, recreational, or educational wants and needs of the neighborhood or organization. There is $12,000 available and the maximum grant award is $2,000. 

The deadline to submit applications is November 30. Applications will be available online at www.ocoee.org or at the City Hall reception desk. Completed applications should be mailed or delivered to City Hall, Community Relations,150 North Lakeshore Drive, Ocoee, Florida, 34761. 

The goal of the Most Valuable Partnership Grant Program is to improve the quality of life in Ocoee by assisting residents and organizations in making improvements to their neighborhoods or creating programs which benefit citizens.

For more information on the MVP Grant Program, visit www.ocoee.org or call 407- 905-3100.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Shop Small on Saturday, November 25

Tue, November 14, 2017

Shop Small on Saturday, November 25

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Confession: As you are fighting the crowds at [insert favorite Black Friday mega store here], you break away and it dawns on you - “Small Business Saturday!” It may have been an afterthought in the past, but get ahead of the curve this year and think of it FIRST! Support your neighbors, friends, community by shopping small next Saturday, November 25. Even before and beyond this event, keep the holiday dollars in your business community by shopping with Chamber members first, because they are the ones that are supporting you too!

On Thanksgiving weekend we should be thankful for family, friends AND community, and Small Business Saturday offers a perfect opportunity to show our gratitude. We can make a difference but it starts with small choices; Small Business Saturday and the West Orange Community encourages you to shop small and local brick and mortar businesses. Keep an eye on the WOCC Facebook page in the coming days as we show you how to access your business directory and we list our participating small business members. Feel good about getting your holiday shopping done early while supporting your fellow West Orange businesses. This is where we work, play AND shop! Visit the WOCC business directory on the web or using our mobile site!

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Should I Outsource my IT?

Tue, November 14, 2017

Should I Outsource my IT?

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By Carlos Perez
Principal, Perez Technology Group

Small business owners by nature wear many hats to run and manage their businesses. In many cases those responsibilities, while crucial to the operation of the business, are not the primary focus of the businesses.  One of these functions is running the technology aspect of a small business or relying on internal staff to update, upkeep and maintain their IT despite technology not being their specific area of expertise.

With the challenges business owners face today and the importance technology has on running the business, the important access to data has on meeting client needs, many small business owners are seeking ways to outsource their technology.  However, concerns such as lack of time, if their data will be secure, who to trust with their information, unknown costs, often paralyze business owners into inaction.  This is actually worse as existing IT infrastructure becomes obsolete and there is an increasing demand to have access to a company’s data at any time, from any platform and from anywhere.

Here are some tips for small business owners seeking to outsource their IT services or those who may be looking to make a switch to a more efficient and cost-effective provider:

Conduct an IT Assessment with a reputable and unbiased IT expert

An IT audit should look at the needs of the business based on its mission, vision, goals, market and evaluate if the existing IT infrastructure is meeting those needs or not, and recommend cost-effective solutions as part of the IT Assessment findings report.

Understand that cloud and mobile technology can be leveraged to enhance the growth and development of your business at a lower cost.

Many SMB’s believe that outsourcing their technology means the need to purchase expensive hardware & services. This is not always the case as cloud services actually eliminate the need for costly hardware such as servers and routers, while providing all the security, data back up and access a business needs to compete and succeed.

Recognize it may actually cost you more to manage your IT in-house

Every hour a business owner devotes to managing his or her own IT is an hour not devoted to customer service, to new business development, to product and service improvements, to managing staff and other vital operations of the business.  A small business owners time is more valuable and better spent on their core business and attending to customers than in running, updating their IT or trying to rectify IT issues.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber -  #36: Lead and Feed

Tue, October 24, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber -  #36: Lead and Feed

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The Chamber’s Lead and Feed Networking Lunch is an easygoing, no stress, informal event that has grown exponentially over the years. The concept is simple: 1.) Show up ready to build relationships  2.) Network with your fellow Chamber members. Easy, right? We pass around the "roaming mic," and everyone in attendance has the opportunity to stand up and tell us their name and a little about their business. Members enjoy a terrific lunch at this Chamber Member restaurant and make some new contacts. Find the next Lead and Feed by visiting our event calendar!

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber -  #35: Manheim Orlando

Tue, October 24, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber -  #35: Manheim Orlando

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Manheim Orlando is a longtime Chamber member, joining in 1980. The company has been an active supporter of many Chamber events, and was the host of the 2016 Hob Nob & Straw Poll. Manheim was established in 1945 as a wholesale vehicle auction operation and continues to set the industry standard for buying and selling used vehicles today.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber -  #34: WOCC Golf Classic

Tue, October 24, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber -  #34: WOCC Golf Classic

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Each fall, Chamber members link up at one of our member golf courses for a relaxing day of building business in the beautiful outdoors at the WOCC Golf Classic. Sponsors are placed throughout the course to add entertainment to your round, and countless prizes are up for grabs over the course of the day. To learn more about this year's event, to be held Nov. 3 at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge, click here!

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange Foundation announces C101 grants at inaugural reception

Tue, October 24, 2017

West Orange Foundation announces C101 grants at inaugural reception

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The newly-formed West Orange Foundation held its inaugural reception on Thursday, October 12 at Lake Meadow Naturals in Ocoee. At the event, the foundation presented the recipients of the 2017-18 West Orange Committee of 101 (C101) grant awards.

C101 member fund donations are distributed as grants to organizations that fit the mission of the West Orange Foundation and improve the community. Over the years, C101 has distributed over $235,000 to worthy community charities, including the West Orange Chamber’s building purchase.

This year’s grants were awarded to:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida
  • Bread of Life Fellowship
  • Christian Service Center
  • Community Based Care of Central Florida
  • Edgewood Children’s Ranch
  • HAPCO
  • Matthew’s Hope Ministries
  • Oakland Nature Preserve
  • Shepherd’s Hope
  • Women in the Arts, Inc.

About the West Orange Foundation

The West Orange Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that serves as the community-based, philanthropic arm of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC). The Foundation’s vision is to create a broader community reach, streamline the Chamber’s philanthropy and community outreach programs, engage more industries & businesses, create and embolden alliances and foster positive change, health and growth. It will support many WOCC philanthropic initiatives, including its adult and youth leadership programs, scholarships for local students, community-need projects, educational Chamber events and the Committee of 101 (C101) grant program.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Tue, October 24, 2017

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Colleen Healy, Massage Therapist

Medi-Weightloss Clinics

The Warehouse

ENHANCED

269 West Wine Lounge

Club Pilates Winter Garden

Complete Developer LLC

Orlando Orthopaedic Center

Sweet, Sassy & Southern

ELITE

iBERIABANK

EXCLUSIVE

Minion Media Group LLC

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Florida Citrus Sports

SCHOOLS

Windermere High School

Westpointe Elementary

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

A.H. Gantt CPA & Associates, P.A.

American Backflow & Fire Services, LLC.

Consolidated Pipe and Supply

Crystal Ballroom

Dexter's in Windermere

Erb & Young

Green River Group Inc.

Hillcrest Insurance Agency, Inc.

Ronald W. Sikes, Attorneys, PLLC

State Farm Insurance - Gary Merideth Insurance Agency

Success Mortgage Partners

The Whiddon Group, LLC

Votum Construction LLC

Westside Crossing Condominium Association

Windermere Fine Art & Custom Framing

ENHANCED

Baer's Furniture 

Clock Tower Realty

Kathleen Roat & Company, Inc.

Market to Table

The Corporate Brand, Inc.

Treasure Title Insurance Agency, Inc.

ELITE

Chick-fil-A - Ocoee

Chick-fil-A - Winter Garden

Main Street Mower, Inc.

Panera Bread - Daniels Rd., Winter Garden

Panera Bread - S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando

Roper Garden Building

Pilars Martini

Winter Garden Feed Store

EXCLUSIVE

Safety First Swim School

Florida Paints

Imagine That Promo

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Read to Sydney

Winter Garden Art Association

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Alarie Design Associates, Inc.

Hamlin

West Orange Times & Observer

Windermere Observer

Boyd Development Corporation

Observer Media Group

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

American Medical Response

GrayRobinson, P.A.

AFFILIATE

Patricia L Gleason

SCHOOLS

Office of the Chief of High Schools - OCPS

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » What to do about the Equifax hack

Mon, October 23, 2017

What to do about the Equifax hack

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By Clinton Pownall
CEO, Computer Business Consultants, Inc.

Equifax Inc. (EFX), one of the world’s largest consumer credit reporting agencies, discovered in July 2017 they had a major security breach and did not report it until several months later on September 8th 2017. Equifax collects and aggregates information on over 800 million individual consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide. Reported compromised were 143 million consumer records containing personal information containing names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, and 209,000 consumer credit card numbers.   

The hackers responsible for the breach used an exploited and patched security vulnerability known to exist in industry standard common website hosting software. The vulnerability the hackers used, along with the patch release, were announced months before Equifax’s July 2017 web server hack. To further compound Equifax’s culpable behavior, as soon as the hackers exploited the vulnerability, they guessed the admin password, Argentina, within minutes.

So what should you do?

1. Visit Equifax’s site to check if your personal information was accessed in this hack.

https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html

Given there were 143 million Equifax records compromised and a large number of Americans are credit invisible, the odds are if you participate in America’s Capitalism game, Equifax handed the hackers your information.

2. If your information was compromised then enroll in Equifax’s credit monitoring. However, there is a BIG caveat. Equifax’s credit monitoring arbitration clause in its Terms of Service prevent you from joining a class action suit. Arbitration clauses like Equifax’s are supposed to be on their way out. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a ban on them this summer, but its new rules won’t apply until next year, and Republican lawmakers are trying to repeal them altogether. For now, the one existing loophole is Equifax’s opt-out provision: Within 30 days of agreeing to the terms of the enrollment, you can deliver a written notice to this address:

Equifax Consumer Services LLC
Attn.: Arbitration Opt-Out
P.O. Box 105496
Atlanta, GA 30348

Include your name, address, Equifax User ID, and a clear statement that you, “want to opt out of resolving disputes with Equifax through arbitration.” 

Businesses need an IT business partner that can handle the IT needs and provide the necessary network security. Today’s IT Managed Service Providers must be proactive in their ability to assess and prevent new threats.   If the Equifax hack has shown us anything it is very few IT companies and IT staff are able to meet those requirements on their own.
 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 7 reasons why you can’t miss the WOCC Golf Classic!

Mon, October 16, 2017

7 reasons why you can’t miss the WOCC Golf Classic!

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1. Expand your network and build your business.
Over 100 West Orange business leaders are expected to participate in the event. Make connections and expand your network in a relaxed, low-pressure environment.

2. Experience one of the area's top golf courses.
If you are looking for the best golf in Central Florida and want to experience the finest course layouts, conditions and facilities, look no further than Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. It is ranked as the #1 public course in Florida and #2 in the entire U.S.!



3. Take advantage of an unbelievable value.
Your Golf Classic registration includes: 18 holes w/cart, range balls to get warmed up before your round, lunch as you head out, drink tickets on and off the course, multiple chances to win great prizes, a catered awards reception after the tournament and more!

4. Countless event partnership opportunities.
Showcase your business to many of the area's top decision-makers as an event partner. Choose from several partnership levels, become a hole sponsor, donate an auction item or prize, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to create a custom partnership package that meets your business's needs.

5. Enjoy a beautiful Friday outside the office.
It's hard to beat the early November weather in West Orange. Average temperatures hover in the high 70s with plenty of sunshine expected!



6. Plenty of chances to win.
Your chances of winning a fantastic prize doesn't end when you turn in your scorecard. In addition to awards for our leaders on the course, our event partners are giving you plenty of chances to bid on amazing silent auction items or win a door prize!

7. It's the most fun you can have on a work day!
The end of the year is nearing and we could all use a break from the daily routine. Why not enjoy a Friday on the links with friends and potential business partners? Our hole sponsors will be whipping up special treats around the course, golfers can participate in all kinds of contests and we'll be sharing our favorite moments on social media for all to enjoy.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » OCPS Teach-In provides unique opportunity for area business leaders

Tue, October 10, 2017

OCPS Teach-In provides unique opportunity for area business leaders

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Here in Orange County, workforce development is an increasingly important topic. The economy is thriving and businesses continue to flock to the Orlando area, but are we as a community doing enough to provide qualified employees to fill these jobs?
 
Many students are not aware of the nearly limitless possibilities available to them. While it is often assumed that a four-year college degree is the only path to a successful career, there are many tracks students can take. College certainly provides a wealth of opportunities. Right here in our area, UCF and Valencia College are providing opportunity to thousands of students each year. Alternatively, many students are finding success through technical programs, like those offered at Orange Technical College, where they are learning valuable skills that put them on a fast track to a great job.
 
On November 15, business leaders have the opportunity to reach students directly via the annual OCPS Teach-In program. Participants can take advantage of this unique opportunity to become a teacher for the hour, showcasing some of the qualities they are looking for in their next great employee, while inspiring students and getting them to start thinking about their next steps after school. Learn more about this valuable program at www.foundationforocps.org.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Coming together after the storm

Tue, October 10, 2017

Coming together after the storm

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Posted By

Heather Papoulis

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Hurricane Irma was difficult on Orlando. However, despite the wind and rain, West Orange Chamber members came together to help and support each other before, during and after the hurricane. Before the storm, the Chamber referred all members in their respective categories, connected members offering services to anyone asking for services;  facilitating water, generators, assistance in clearing and cutting trees, evacuation locations for pets and people and local information on storm preparedness. After the storm, members wanted to know how to help each other and how, which launched the Chamber’s four-day connectedness campaign on social media. The West Orange Chamber team called members personally to check on them and see if they were in need or offering help after Irma, and connected those in need of help with those who could help.

From clearing storm debris, repairing or replacing roofs, repairing screens, seeking financial assistance for storm relief, handyman jobs, car repair, donations/volunteers/supplies for the non-profits, finding places to stay for those without water or power, or simply sharing ice,  many members offered priority, discounted or complimentary services for each other. It is truly inspiring to see everyone come together and support their fellow community members. We are proud of our West Orange Chamber community for truly #FacilitatingOpportunity.

A few of the many examples of Chamber members coming together:

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #33: Karaoke Clash After Hours

Tue, October 10, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #33: Karaoke Clash After Hours

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The Karaoke Clash After Hours (formerly known as the Elected Official Sing-Off) has long been one of the Chamber's premiere events, offering local and state representatives to meet in a friendly environment and show off their ability to perform on the big stage. This year, elected officials from all over West Orange will gather on November 1 at CityWalk’s Rising Star™ in Universal CityWalk™ at Universal Orlando Resort™ to compete for the prized trophy! 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #32: Bright House Networks/Spectrum

Tue, October 10, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #32: Bright House Networks/Spectrum

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Bright House Networks/Spectrum is one of the Chamber's original members, joining in 1972. The company is one of the area's leading television and internet providers, and has been a partner on many Chamber events over the years. The organization also holds naming rights at the UCF football stadium, now named Spectrum Stadium. 

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange shows strength following Hurricane Irma

Tue, September 26, 2017

West Orange shows strength following Hurricane Irma

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it has been heartwarming to see the strength of the West Orange County community on full display. During this crisis, we have continued to see our Chamber organizations provide help wherever needed by offering supplies and services to those in need. Fundraising efforts are underway and our community has come together to get through this difficult time and come back stronger than ever!

Of course, it doesn’t take a disaster to bring out the best side of our Chamber members. We regularly see Chamber members take on charitable and philanthropic initiatives that deal with causes close to their hearts, or which make their community a better place. We generally believe that working toward these causes is good for our business as well, but the impact can be difficult to quantify.

On October 11, join us for our latest Business Before Hours event to enjoy a special panel discussion on “Doing Good is Good Business.” Our panel will be led by Mark Brewer, President/CEO of the Central Florida Foundation. He will lead a discussion on the value of philanthropic ventures, both for the community and for your business, featuring Chamber members Paul McNamara – Reed Nissan Clermont, Gary Shif – Best Cleaners and Belinda Wilson – Ms. Bee’s Popcorn and Candy Shoppe. Join us for a look at how these Chamber members are making the most of their charitable efforts, and how these ideas could apply to your business.

Sincerely,

Keith Bradford

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Tue, September 26, 2017

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Akers Media

Locksley A Cameron, CPA

Mark's Floors LLC

Success Investment Realty

ENHANCED

European Wax Center

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Ocoee

Jogo Softworks

Little Greek Fresh Grill - Winter Garden 

Premier Elevator Co Inc.

Robert O'Neil Insurance

Roe Family Chiropractic 

Selera Singapore

Warrior Princess Events, LLC 

ELITE

WithumSmith+Brown, PC

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Senator Victor Torres

American Heart Association

ASSOCIATE

Claire Gaydos

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

A Zing Zap Cleaning Service, LLC

Allen & Company, Inc.

American First Bancard

Archis Technologies, Inc.

Asma & Asma, P.A.

Betty J's Florist

Central FL Strategies, Inc.

Century 21 Professional Group

Crooked Can Brewing Company 

Floor Coverings International

Floor to Ceiling

Hagan O'Reilly's Irish Pub and Restaurant

Holehouse Center for Complete Dentistry

Infinity Realty Group

Law 4 Vets, LLC

Living Frames LLC

Madden, Moorhead, & Stokes, Inc.

Mary Anderson CPA

Molly Maid of West Orange and South Lake Counties

Mulligan Constructors, Inc.

Orange County Pottys Inc.

Proforma Albrecht & CO.

Prud Homme Improvement

Red Roof Inn Orlando West

SouthWest Aquatics

TD Bank

Thai Blossom

The Savvy Sitter

Toll Brothers Inc.

ENHANCED

Calvert Cleaning

Cathee Brady Catering

Century 21 Blue Sky Realty Group

Collective Kindness

FASTSIGNS

Gosselin Realty

Kitchen Solvers

Orange Irrigation and Drainage

Sunbelt Rentals

The Cookery

Wallfrog

ELITE

AT&T

Marriott - SpringHill Suites

Office Depot OfficeMax

Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge

Orlando City Soccer Club

RLF Architects Engineers & Interior Design

Universal Engineering Sciences

EXCLUSIVE

American I.T. Solutions Inc.

COMMUNITY PARTNER

American Legion Post #63 - Hugh T. Gregory

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Inc.

Shepherd's Hope

Vocational Rehabilitation

Dr. P. Phillips YMCA Family Center

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

Florida Hospital

June Engineering Consultants, Inc.

R. C. Stevens Construction Company

SCHOOLS

Bridgewater Middle School

Oak Hill Elementary

West Learning Community

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #31: Florida Hospital Winter Garden

Tue, September 26, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #31: Florida Hospital Winter Garden

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Opened in 1908, Florida Hospital is a faith-based institution focused on providing whole person care. It is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country, caring for more than two million patient visits per year – more than any other hospital in the country, according to the American Hospital Association. 

Since its opening in February of 2016, Florida Hospital Winter Garden has seen more than 25,000 patients, illustrating the need for health care options close to home for residents of west Orange County. Earlier this year, a ground-breaking ceremony was held to mark the hospital’s addition of a 72,000-square-foot medical office building. The building is expected to open in spring 2018.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #30: Valencia College

Tue, September 26, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #30: Valencia College

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Join Chairman Keith Bradford, President/CEO Stina D'Uva, and all of us at the West Orange Chamber of Commerce in congratulating Valencia College on 50 successful years, and many more to come! Learn more about Valencia's 50th Anniversary celebration by clicking here.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » SBA Disaster Assistance for Businesses and Residents Expands to More Florida Counties

Thu, September 14, 2017

SBA Disaster Assistance for Businesses and Residents Expands to More Florida Counties

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The U.S. Small Business Administration has added more counties to the disaster declaration in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma that began on Sept. 4, 2017.

The disaster declaration covers the counties of Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Desoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia in Florida which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.  Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Levy and Nassau in Florida.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by mobile device at m.fema.gov.  If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Completed applications should be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 9, 2017.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

Debra Freeland, Public Affairs Specialist is coordinating the outreach for this declaration and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 404-895-7185.  

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #29: Orlando Health - Health Central Hospital

Tue, August 22, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #29: Orlando Health - Health Central Hospital

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Orlando Health – Health Central Hospital, best known as West Orange County’s trusted healthcare partner for nearly 65 years, is a full-function, Joint Commission accredited hospital with services ranging from primary care and intensive care, to emergency care, and cancer care backed by a nationally renowned UF Health cancer center.

The hospital joined the Chamber in 1974 and is a major supporter of many Chamber events and programs. It was acquired as part of the Orlando Health network in 2012.

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #28: Orange Technical College

Tue, August 22, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #28: Orange Technical College

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Orange Technical College, part of Orange County Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education Department, is a dynamic and innovative technical college that primarily serves Orange and adjacent Lake County. It plays a major role in the area's workforce development, and has been a part of the Chamber for nearly 40 years.

Orange Technical College offers day and evening classes in more than 18 full and part-time academic and technical programs. Adult Education classes, which consist of ESOL and GED classes, are available at the main campus and six off-campus sites, which include local schools and community centers. 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » West Orange Chamber of Commerce announces updates to Board of Directors

Tue, August 22, 2017

West Orange Chamber of Commerce announces updates to Board of Directors

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The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced today that Tim Cook of Florida Hospital has joined the organization’s Board of Directors.

Cook serves as the administrator of Florida Hospital Apopka. As Senior Vice President, he has overseen the construction and transition to the new Florida Hospital Apopka campus, which is expected to open in late 2017. He also oversees Florida Hospital Winter Garden, and is focused on offering complementary services at the two hospitals that will allow West Orange residents to get comprehensive medical care close to home.

The Chamber also took time to recognize Amanda Maggard for her dedication and service, as she steps down from the Board of Directors and Executive Committee to take on a new career opportunity outside the West Orange service area.

Joining the Executive Committee is Dawn Willis of Observer Media Group. Already a member of the Board, she will now serve as the organization’s Human Resources Director. Willis is the publisher of the Central Florida region of Observer Media Group, which includes the West Orange Times & Observer, Windermere Observer and Winter Park-Maitland Observer.

  

From left: Tim Cook, Amanda Maggard, Dawn Willis

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » OCPS wins first-ever official SAT Practice All In Challenge for advancing student achievement

Tue, August 22, 2017

OCPS wins first-ever official SAT Practice All In Challenge for advancing student achievement

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Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) is a winner of the 2017 Official SAT Practice All In Challenge, the first-ever award from the College Board, the Council of the Great City Schools, and Khan Academy. The award recognizes Council districts for encouraging and supporting students as they practice for the SAT and college-level courses using the free online SAT practice platform, Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.

Orange County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara said, “Our students have accepted the challenge to be college-ready. This partnership with College Board and Khan Academy is a win-win, because students can concentrate on content where they need practice. We all know practice is one of the keys to success.”

Orange County Public Schools is one of only five Council districts to win the inaugural award, receiving the “Student: Proof of Practice” prize for the highest average weekly percentage of students with active Official SAT Practice accounts. Since the challenge began in December 2016, over 15,000 Orange County students each completed at least 20 hours on Official SAT Practice.

“There are many success stories to share about the hard work and incredible growth that our districts and students made through this challenge,” says Council Executive Director Michael Casserly. “We’re proud that Orange County Public Schools stepped up to the challenge and hope others will follow.”

Official SAT Practice features video lessons, thousands of interactive practice questions, nine full-length practice tests, and test-taking tips and strategies. By linking their College Board and Khan Academy accounts, students who've taken the SAT or a PSAT-related assessment in the past can unlock a custom practice plan and determine what areas to focus on.

“The PSAT is now a diagnostic for Khan Academy,” said Khan Academy founder Sal Khan. “If students share their PSAT score, Khan Academy can use that information to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and provide tailored practice in math, reading and writing.”

There are now more than four million users registered for Official SAT Practice. In May, the College Board announced research that showed that students who prepared for the SAT using Official SAT Practice have seen substantial score gains. Twenty hours of practice is associated with an average 115-point increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain of students who do not use Official SAT Practice.

“Our partnership with the Council of the Great City Schools and Khan Academy is helping bring these free, highly personalized practice tools to every corner of the country,” said College Board President and CEO David Coleman. “But make no mistake: behind every story of a student practicing on Khan Academy and succeeding on the SAT is a caring adult. We applaud the community of leaders across Orange County Public Schools for their commitment to adopting these tools and propelling their students forward.”

As a part of the award, Orange County Public Schools will receive money to put towards initiatives that advance student success and opportunity, including post-secondary scholarships.

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Record number of uninsured children in Central Florida receive free back-to-school physicals

Tue, August 22, 2017

Record number of uninsured children in Central Florida receive free back-to-school physicals

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From July 31 through August 10, Shepherd’s Hope, in partnership with Nemours Children’s Health System, hosted clinics on six dates for 18 hours with 40 clinicians providing 445 local uninsured and underinsured children free back-to-school physicals, an increase of 30% over the number provided in 2016 and an all-time high for the annual initiative.

Over the past four years, Shepherd’s Hope has provided back-to-school physicals for more than 765 children. This annual initiative assists families whose children need general health assessments and sports physicals (minus immunizations) as well as vision and hearing screenings with a Nemours specialist at select locations. In addition, mammogram screenings were available for women accompanying their children at the Longwood Shepherd’s Hope Health Center location in conjunction with the Florida Hospital for Women Mobile Wellness Coach. The Harvey and Carol Massey Foundation helped to sponsor the initiative, which enabled the purchase of critical pediatric medical supplies.

“The record-breaking participation, combined with the fact that fifteen percent of the 445 children who received a back to school physical were referred for additional specialty care services, reinforce that the need for this initiative is both essential and increasing,” said Marni Stahlman, president and CEO of Shepherd’s Hope. “Our ability to deliver these critical resources to uninsured children and their families is only possible because of our partnerships with Nemours.” The health system has supported Shepherd’s Hope’s annual back-to-school physicals initiative since it launched in 2014.

Back-to- school physicals are a summertime ritual for school-aged children and their families. But, for the estimated 27,000 children in Central Florida who are uninsured, this annual rite of passage can be out of reach.

“We are honored to be part of a program that offers so many families the ability to start the school year off right,” said Dr. Al Torres, Chief of Critical Care at Nemours Children’s Hospital. “As a pediatric health system that is focused solely on children, we understand the importance of creating healthy habits early on in life.”

Shepherd’s Hope provides free primary and secondary medical services to the 1-in-4 Central Floridians who are uninsured or underinsured, including children, at five health center locations in Central Florida. An estimated 850,000 Floridians remain in a gray area ─ in the coverage “gap” in regards to insurance availability ─ earning too much to qualify for some programs, but not enough to afford products offered on the Healthcare.gov exchange, even with federal subsidies, because of out-of-reach deductibles and co-payments.

For more information on Shepherd’s Hope services, visit www.shepherdshope.org or call (407) 876-6699. 

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » New & Renewed Members

Mon, August 21, 2017

New & Renewed Members

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NEW MEMBERS

EMERGING

Firefly Yoga Company
KB HOME ORLANDO, LLC 

ENHANCED

CEO Restoration
Florida Business Systems
Law Office of Modoline Altenor, PA
Net-Tel Solutions, LLC
PremierMED - Family and Sports Medicine
Princesses and Princes
Signs Now Orlando
Tremaine Boyd LLC

EXCLUSIVE

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Chef's Honor Guard Inc. AKA Honor Guards of America
Citrus Church

SCHOOLS

Innovation Montessori Ocoee

 

RENEWED MEMBERS

EMERGING

Barfield Insurance​
Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association
Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.
Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic
More Than Conquerors Counseling
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty
Shaklee - Nancy Brown
Stockworth Realty Group 
West Orange Airport Authority
Age Advantage Senior Care Services
Bishman Surveying and Mapping, Inc.
Fresenius Medical Care - West Orlando
Hardee's Of Ocoee
High Line Car Sales, Inc.
Legacy Lifestyles Senior Housing Management
Sand Lake Dermatology Center
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Viking SupplyNet

ENHANCED

Wes Pullin Automotive by Design, LLC
The Juice Bar of Winter Garden LLC
Charles Schwab
Coggan Realty LLC
First Impressions 
I-Drive NASCAR

ELITE

Think Minion
Costco Business Center
Park Development Corporation
American Pools and Spas
Azteca D' Oro 
Lake Bennett Health and Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
Pollo Tropical
WKMG News 6

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Oakland Nature Preserve, Inc.
Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

COMMUNITY TRUSTEE

CenturyLink

SUPPORTING TRUSTEE

WellCare Health Plans

SCHOOLS

Central Florida Preparatory School
Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School
SunRidge Elementary School
Whispering Oak Elementary

File under: Member News

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #27: P.H. Freeman & Sons

Tue, August 08, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #27: P.H. Freeman & Sons

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P.H. Freeman & Sons, Inc. is one of the Chamber's original members, joining in 1972. The citrus company has roots dating far back into the history of Winter Garden, having called the city home for nearly 50 years. The organization's original president, the late Robert Freeman, and his son, current president Richard, each have played an active role in the Florida citrus industry and throughout the community. 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » 45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #26: University of Central Florida

Tue, August 08, 2017

45 Pillars of the West Orange Chamber - #26: University of Central Florida

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The University of Central Florida, a WOCC trustee, has been a member for over 20 years. It is one of the largest and fastest growing universities in the nation, with over 64,000 students. UCF is a leader in workforce development, and over 100,000 of its alumni still live and work in the Central Florida region.

UCF is active throughout the community, and is a fixture as both a participant and partner on numerous WOCC events. 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Apply now to join the Leadership West Orange 2017-18 class

Tue, August 08, 2017

Apply now to join the Leadership West Orange 2017-18 class

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Apply now to participate in the 2017-18 class of Leadership West Orange, presented by Florida Hospital Winter Garden. Leadership West Orange is an annual program that brings a group of Chamber members together for a variety of sessions. These sessions are held monthly and the primary mission is to raise the awareness of the key segments of the total West Orange community. Days are a combination of lectures, tours, hands-on experience and behind-the-scenes activities. Contact the Chamber about cost and enrollment.

The West Orange Adult Leadership program began in 1994 and has been experienced by more than 400 local leaders. The mission of the Leadership West Orange program is to raise the awareness of the key segments of the local community; “To educate business leaders to better serve the West Orange community; To develop leaders and build a quality community.”  The education of our future leaders is very important in preserving our past, embracing our present and the visioning and planning of our future. Each month the class focused on a certain aspect of West Orange County.  The class examines the environment, economic development, government, media, health care and education by participating in a field trip once a month.

For more information about this West Orange Chamber program, contact Krista Compton Carter at 407-656-1304 ext. 6 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Where are my leads?!

Tue, August 08, 2017

Where are my leads?!

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Posted By

Heather Papoulis

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There are many fish in the business community but how do you catch the right ones? One of the most important services the Chamber of Commerce offers our members is referrals but they do not come in the way, or the time frame most imagine. It is important to honor and match expectations accordingly; we act on your goals with results but step one is knowing your goals so we can best refer. So how DO you receive leads through the Chamber? How does it work? Each business is different and it depends on your goals; by communicating with your Chamber membership team, you increase your exposure as we are asked every day, “Who in the membership does…?”

We train the business community to mention they are members but sometimes there is a psychological block that relates to the perception of vocalizing membership means “asking for a discount” and many are embarrassed to mention they are members when seeking Chamber businesses. We encourage members to vocalize! Leave each other positive Facebook reviews, tag the Chamber, call or email each other and open with, “I am a Chamber member too,” show you are a connected, supportive and active part of your business community! 

We connect and introduce members daily and all of our programs, events and remote benefits are designed to facilitate that opportunity to connect and grow those relationships and turn them into business.

Do you feel like you are lost in the sea of membership? We have lifeguards standing by! Wave us down and we are happy to intercept, direct and connect you at any time! Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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