I’m often asked what the purpose of the chamber is. That question seems to come up more during first couple months of the year, as it is during this time that hundreds of business owners receive their dues renewal notice.

What do we do? Well, we do a number of things that are similar to the other chambers in the area (Venice, North Port, Punta Gorda and Charlotte County). Like those other chambers, we provide resources to help business owners successful accomplish their goals. Some of those resources and tools include regular networking events, weekly email communications, effective websites, printed community guides and membership directory. (Note: We are hosting a membership orientation seminar at 8:30 a.m. April 4. The purpose of the seminar is to detail all of the free resources that are available to our members.)

However, there is a major difference between the Englewood community and the communities in which those other chambers are located.

For example, the Venice Area Chamber is located within the city of Venice. The North Port Area Chamber is in the city of North Port. The Punta Gorda Chamber is in the city of Punta Gorda. The Charlotte County Chamber is in Charlotte County. As you can see, each of the other area chambers have a local governmental entity that also services their community.

A number of people are surprised to learn that there is not a city of Englewood. Englewood is actually an unincorporated community that is in both Sarasota & Charlotte Counties. We don’t have elected public officials who are directly accountable to the populous of our area. Because of that, at times, it becomes challenging to have the needs of the community heard and addressed.

There have been occasions when the Englewood Chamber of Commerce has been able to assemble a collective voice of the local citizens. We than do what we can to have that voice heard. Our leadership regularly attends the commissioner meetings of the two local counties. We communicate with our elected officials in Tallahassee and Washington, DC.

We have gotten involved discussions such as beach renourishment, water quality, and many more. We even played a role in getting the new “Doggy Dining” ordinance passed in Charlotte County. We encourage you to contact the chamber if there is an issue that you feel we might be able to help with.

In addition, other community assistance has been in the form of financial relief to those affected by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and by red tide last year.

So, as you can see, we are more than an association of the area businesses. With that being said, we want to thank all of the business owners who belong to the Englewood Chamber of Commerce. It is because of your financial support that we are able to do what we do.

National Vietnam Veterans Day

The Englewood Chamber invites everyone to help us Honor our Vietnam Veterans at a light breakfast and program. The event begins at 8 a.m., across the street from the chamber, at the Lemon Bay Cemetery. The activities there will honor all our military veterans who are buried there. The affair then moves over to the chamber for breakfast and a brief program. A special Thank You goes out to our sponsors Karin Dubbs of Keller Williams Realty Gold, Mason Financial Group and The Windsor of Venice.

Upcoming events

Thursday, noon-1 p.m., Biz@Noon Networking Lunch. The Lighthouse Grill at Stump Pass, 260 Maryland Ave., Englewood.

Friday, 1 p.m., Chamber Day with the Tampa Bay Rays, Charlotte Sports Park. The $20 ticket includes two beverages and food in picnic area. Visit www.EnglewoodChamber.com to buy ticket.

March 28, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Lunch ‘n’ Learn. “Taking the Mystery our of Social Marketing” in the chamber’s Community Room. Thank you to our sponsor, Arnold Insurance

Ed Hill is executive director of the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at ed.hill@englewoodchamber.com or 941-474-5511.

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