On behalf of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

There are many things I am thankful for here at the chamber. I am thankful for the wonderful chamber members who have invested in our chamber and continue to support and promote it through networking, high-energy involvement and monthly participation in activities and events. Our membership continues to grow and get stronger.

I am thankful to the North Port residents who continue to make our city such a wonderful and unique community in which to live and do business.

I’m thankful to our board of directors who provide me the opportunity to be executive director, and continue to provide their leadership, experience and knowledge that has been instrumental in the success we have experienced.

I’m thankful for the staff at the chamber: Denise Berg who is my right hand at the office and keeps me in check on a daily basis, and Emily Shaw, who brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy to our chamber family. Their daily professionalism, hard work ethic and positive attitude have made it such a pleasurable environment.

I’m thankful for our volunteers who give endless hours to help us succeed at the office, and at monthly and special events.

I’m thankful to our Chamber Champions who invest additional dollars on top of their membership to support the chamber and ensure we can carry out our mission and meet the needs of our members and our community.

I’m thankful to our Diamond Donors and to Fred Tower III, who are our inaugural donors to the new chamber office building fund campaign and were instrumental in the purchase of our new office. Through their generosity, the chamber now owns a building that the membership and the community can proudly call their Chamber of Commerce.

I am thankful for our city’s elected leaders and professional staff who have invested, partnered and assisted in the growth of the chamber and the community.

I am thankful for our visitors who come to North Port and experience the wonderful amenities that our community offers.

I’m thankful to the media outlets that promote chamber and community events which showcase North Port to our residents, businesses and outside communities.

I am thankful to The Daily Sun, which understands the importance of a strong and successful chamber in their community and provides us the opportunity to write this column on a weekly basis.


The North Port Chamber will present its annual Frosty Awards to the storefront business or organization judged to exhibit the most festive holiday decorations.

Businesses/organizations need to be chamber members to be considered. There will be two categories: Judge’s Choice Award and People’s Choice Award. Judging for the Judges Choice Award will take place from 2-8 p.m. Dec. 8. The public can vote for the People’s Choice Award Dec. 7-11 by completing an online ballot on the Chamber’s facebook page. Paper ballots for the People’s Choice Award will be available at our office.

The Annual Frosty Awards will be presented at our annual Awards Luncheon on Dec. 16.


Our Annual Holiday Social is set for 6-8 p.m. Dec. 7 at Pitmaster All American BBQ, 2200 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte. This year’s theme is “Good Old Fashion Country Christmas,” so come in your most festive attire.

This is a great opportunity for chamber members to celebrate the holidays together and to thank your employees for all of the hard work they provided over the past year. Cost is $30 or $50 per couple and includes appetizers, beverages (cash bar available), live DJ, dancing and much more.

We are again partnering with the North Port Police Department to support their annual Shop with a Cop Program. It helps less-fortunate families during the holiday season with presents for children and families. Officers shop with these children at Walmart, building trust and positive relationship law enforcement. Please bring a monetary donation or Walmart gift cards for this program. Visit www.northportareachamber.com.


Chamber members and the public are invited to attend our Annual Awards Banquet, set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Suncoast Technical College, 4445 Career Lane, North Port. All nominees and winners of the 2021 Business-of-the-Year Awards and the Frosty Awards will be announced, and all committee members who volunteered over the past year will be recognized. The cost is $30 and includes a choice of steak with mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and bread, or salmon over rice with green beans, salad and bread, or a vegan platter catered by Longhorn Steakhouse. Table sponsorships are $250 for six people or $150 for three and includes recognition in the program, verbal recognition at event, and a special table sponsor sign.

Come join us as we recognize the nominated and winning businesses/organizations for their accomplishments and success. The deadline to register is Dec. 13.


We would like to welcome GrandCare Plus, Houseman Team-Keller Williams Peace River Partners, New York Life Insurance Company, Nico’s Coffee Roastery and North Port Music & Bird’s Eye Studio as new members of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.

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, or visit www.northportareachamber.com.


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