Teri Ashley.jpg

So, we might as well get the announcement of a major postponement out of the way first. It will now be hot in more ways than one on Wednesday, Aug. 11. That is the new date for the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce “10th Annual Hottest Business Day in Paradise Expo” at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center.

The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce made the decision to change the Feb. 10 date due to ongoing pandemic health and safety concerns, and to ensure the local business participants and expo guests enjoy the maximum benefit of a fully attended, positive event.

“The health and safety of our members, staff, and the entire Charlotte County community remains our first priority,” said Justin Brand, board president. “That is, without a doubt, best for all long-term business objectives as we move forward into 2021. For that reason, it has been decided to postpone the 10th Annual Hottest Business Day in Paradise Expo from February 10 until August 11. The expo will then be even bigger and better than ever.”

Already, more than 60 local businesses will be participating in the day-long expo which averages 1,500 attendees. And if you think the first nine annual expos were something, just wait until you experience this one. It will still have the same business-to-business appeal, along with the public attendance invitation.

But knowing in August that many of our businesses will be not quite as … busy, and the public will be a lot more … local, the day will have a little bit of a different, shall we say, vibe. I can tell you this, you won’t want to miss it. Get your sunglasses ready and stay tuned.

For information about joining the already 60 local businesses at the Aug. 11 “10th Annual Hottest Business Day in Paradise Expo,” please contact the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce at 941-627-2222.

Let’s Network at Noon

Lasagna. That’s what I picked for my meal choice at the Wednesday’s Networking at Noon luncheon at The Grill at 1951, located 1951 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte. The membership luncheon begins at noon, but please arrive early. This will give you plenty of time to place your business cards and literature on each table, chat from a safe distance, and find your seat.


Along with a fantastic lunch and great comradery, each attendee is given a minute or so to speak about their business.

Yes, I’m having the lasagna. But the other three meal choices are: Jazzy Mussels, black mussels sautéed with andouille sausage, cherry tomatoes and roasted corn in a citrus white wine butter sauce and crostini; Chicken Modena Sandwich, brioche bun with pan-fried chicken breast topped with bruschetta, mozzarella, artisan greens, and balsamic glaze; and Chicken Caesar, Romaine hearts, grilled chicken breast, house dressing, herbed croutons, black pepper rim, and (optional) anchovies.

And speaking of eating, face masks are required except when socially distanced or eating and drinking. Reservations are required and can be made at charlottecountychamber.org or by calling 941-627-2222.

Let’s have Coffee on the Third Wednesday

The monthly Third Wednesday Coffee for our members will be on Jan. 20. Long-time member Hessler Floor Covering will be sponsoring the meeting and updating us about their amazing business. We will also hear from our nonprofit business, Valerie’s House, this month.

Let’s get Oriented

Immediately following the Third Wednesday Coffee will be the Quarterly New Member Orientation. This is a 30-minute Chamber 101 session to give the newbies an in-person overview of our programs and services. They have already received tons of information over the phone and via email, but we want to make sure they have the opportunity to meet the board president and any board members who can attend, meet each staff member, and be able to ask any questions they have for us.

And, here’s a tip for the not-so-newbies: We had long-standing members attend Chamber 101 in October. They went away with lots of newfound (or newly remembered) knowledge. They were very appreciative, asked questions, and didn’t even hide in the back of the room. Please feel free to attend as well.

Teri Ashley is the executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, now in its 96th year. She can be reached at 941-627-2222 or at tashley@charlottecountychamber.org.

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