The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 33rd annual Business & Community Expo from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the George Mullen Activity Center, at 1602 Kramer Way in North Port.

The theme of this year’s Business & Community Expo is The Art of Business.

Once again, the chamber is partnering with the North Port’s annual “Arts on the Green” event which will be held on the same day from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the City Green.

The chamber is pleased to announce that Worksite has agreed, for the second year in a row, to be the title sponsor for this event.

The combination of the Business & Community Expo and the Arts on the Green events will become a major community event each year and will draw a large crowd for each event.

The annual Business & Community Expo is a free event to the public and is designed to introduce local businesses to the community and allow them to showcase their products and services. The public will receive complimentary “goodie bags” filled with promotional items provided by chamber businesses and a chance to win raffle prizes being offered by each Vendor Booth at the Expo.

Two Tampa Bay Rays baseball game tickets will be given away every hour as raffle prizes at the expo. A grand prize raffle for two tickets on the Key West Express and four Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Game tickets for the sold-out Spring Training baseball game on March 24 will be offered.

Chamber/Community Membership Drive

The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce will be conducting a “Art of Business” Chamber/Community Membership Drive from March 9 – 29.

Businesses that are not members of the chamber are encouraged to join during the membership drive and let the chamber help their business or organization grow and succeed in 2019. The chamber is offering additional incentives to businesses that join during the Membership Drive. These incentives include:

Administrative fee waived ($25 value)

Three days of advertising in the North Port Sun newspaper ($339 value)

Priority listing on the chamber’s website ($99 value)

Free flyer in the chamber’s Monthly Communicator Newsletter ($50 value)

A chance to win a 30-minute interview on Bill’s Business Spotlight Show on WKDW Radio

A chance in a raffle for a chance to win a $100 Circle K gas card

The chamber realizes that are current chamber members and members of our community are the best ambassadors for the chamber. We are offering incentives to our current chamber members that solicit and secure new chamber members during the membership drive. These incentives include:

One new member — $25 credit to their chamber account plus a chance to win a priority listing on website ($99 value)

Two new members — $50 credit to their chamber account plus a chance to win an enhanced listing on website

($249 value)

Three new members — $75 credit to their chamber account plus a chance to win a banner ad on website ($599 value)

Four new members or more — $100 credit to their chamber account. The current member who brings in the most, new chamber members, with a minimum of four new members, will be awarded a Bronze chamber championship

($500 value) for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. If a chamber member wished to upgrade to a higher chamber champion sponsorship level, a $500 credit will be applied to sponsorship level of choice. In case of a tie, the chamber member that brings in the most in investment dollars, will be the winner.

Plus, every chamber member and community partner that secures a new chamber member during the membership drive, will be entered in a raffle for a chance to win a $100 Circle K gas card.

Breakfast Club Networking

This month’s Breakfast Club Networking will be held tomorrow, at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 6 at the Olde World Restaurant, 15514 Tamiami Trail, North Port. This event is open to all chamber members and there is no cost to attend unless you wish to order a meal off their delicious menu. Non-chamber businesses and organizations are encouraged to attend to experience the power of chamber networking and see if the chamber is a viable option for their business or organization.

A Night at the Races Kick-Off Celebration

The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting an After-Hours Kick-Off Celebration for the upcoming “A Night at the Races” event. The Kick-Off Celebration will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at Beef-O-Brady’s, at 1037 Sumter Boulevard, North Port. The 2018 A Night at the Races sponsors are invited to attend this event as chamber guest.

Chamber members and members of the public are invited to attend and the cost is $20 per person and includes heavy appetizers, beverages and two complimentary beer and wine tickets.

The kick-off celebration is an opportunity for chamber members and the public to learn about the various sponsorship and ticket opportunities associated with the event.

Each person that attends the Kick-Off celebration will receive $10 in play money to be used for the “A Night at the Races” event. The “A Night at the Races” event will be held from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at the George Mullen Activity Center. The Kick-Off Celebration is open to all chamber members and to the public.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies

The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce will be conducting ribbon cuttings ceremonies for two new businesses that recently joined the chamber:

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Honest Air Conditioning of Venice will be held at noon Friday, March 8. Honest Air Conditioning of Venice is located at 795 Commerce Drive, Suite 5 in Venice. Food and drinks will be provided.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Gulf Coast Scratching Post Cat Hospital will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 13. Gulf Coast Scratching Post Cat Hospital will be holding an open house the same day from 4-7 p.m. They are located at 3135 Bobcat Village Center Road in North Port. Beverages, snacks and raffle prizes — cat related, of course).

Join us for these ribbon-cutting ceremonies and see what types of products and services they have to offer to the community and help us welcome them to the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce. Ribbon cutting ceremonies are free and open to all chamber members and to the public.

Leadership North Port Raffle

I would like to congratulate the 2019 Leadership North Port class for conducting a very successful fundraising project to benefit the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition. The class conducted a “Wagon of Cheer” Raffle and sold raffle tickets for four weeks. The goal was to raise $3,000 from the raffle.

At the end of the raffle sales, the Leadership North Port class exceeded their goal and generated $3,310 — with $3,000 of the raffle sales was donated to the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition to be used as matching funds for a grant so that the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition could purchase a storage shed and pad to store items they collect for their clients.

I want to thank everyone that purchased raffle tickets and supported this very worthwhile cause. Keep up the great work Leadership North Port class.

New chamber members

The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome the following businesses that have recently joined our Chamber. They include: The B-12 Store — Port Charlotte and Uncommon Integrity Business Contracting Services — North Port.

For more information, please call the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce office at 941-564-3040 or visit the website at www.northportareachamber.com.

Bill Gunnin is the executive director of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 941-564-3040 or email at wgunnin@northportareachamber.com.^p

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