The North Port Young Professionals will have a free “Back to School” Bash from 1 to 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at CoolToday Park, home of the Atlanta Braves spring training, 18800 West Villages Parkway.

There will be live entertainment. Students get free polo shirts while supplies last. You can buy tickets for games, bounce houses, rock climbing wall, a dunk tank, face painting, food, drinks and more. Proceeds will help local students in need with school supplies and uniforms.

There will be a special tug-of-war between North Port’s Fire Department and the Police Department. Make a donation to predict the winner. Proceeds benefit North Port Police Officer Association and the North Port Firefighters Benevolent Association.

For more information, call 941-257-3170 or email


We’re proud to be an official drop-off location for the Kiwanis Club of North Port’s clothing drive for youth in North Port. Their goal is to keep children from having to attend school in ragged clothing, and to provide new socks and underwear when needed. Many of our families were financially devastated by the pandemic, and the need will likely be even greater this school year. We’re asking all of our members and the community to bring new packages of youth-sized underwear and socks to our office, 1337 N. Sumter Blvd., during working hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


The chamber will host the “Hot Summer Nights IX” Business-to-Business Expo, presented by Kyle Kurtis Salon & Spa. It’s set for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 W. Price Blvd., North Port. The expo is designed to bring the business community together for networking opportunities. Promote your business and establish worthwhile business relationships. It’s open to all chamber and non-chamber businesses. Admission is $5, or free if you provide a business card that will also get you in the door prize drawing. Vendor booths will be decorated for the “Hot Summer Nights IX” theme. The booth voted best decorated will win free booth space at the 2022 expo. A limited number of booths and sponsorships are available.


We’re accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Leadership North Port program. Leadership North Port is a series of city-wide sessions that enhance participants’ awareness of our community and its needs by examining how leadership in the historical, geographical, educational, economic, governmental and cultural segments work together to perpetuate and advance our community and its citizens. It’s also designed to nurture and engage the leadership skills of potential and current leaders by providing an atmosphere that stimulates and fosters diverse viewpoints, resulting in innovative answers to the critical questions facing our community. The program strives to create awareness and to connect leaders with issues; it is not an academic leadership training program. Application deadline is Oct. 1. Orientation is Nov. 30, and begins with SIMSOC Dec. 3. Visit for more information and an application.


The North Port Chamber recognizes and understands the difficulties employers are having finding people willing to work. We’re teaming up with CareerSource Suncoast for a weekly live Job Cafe show on our Facebook page, starting at 8 a.m. Mondays. We’ll highlight 11 different employment sectors in our area. Businesses can post and announce their employment opportunities. On Monday, we’ll highlight the retail industry. Chamber members may post and announce employment opportunities through the chamber. Non-members may post opportunities through CareerSource Suncoast. Please call our office at 941-564-3040 or email if you want to participate or for more information.


Our Annual Summer “BILL”board Campaign continues to be a smashing success for the chamber and each participating partner. Each day, I wear different business attire provided by business partners. I email a promotional flyer about the business, post the flyer, and conduct a live Facebook posting on the chamber’s page. This program is free to all chamber businesses. Dates are still available. I’d like to thank the businesses participating this week: Coastal Carwash, Gulf Breeze Apparel, Restore Medical Partners, Gator Wilderness Camp and Valerie’s House.


Join us on our “Business Spotlight Show,” 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday on WKDW 97.5 FM Real Community Radio. This 30-minute radio show is also shown live on our Facebook page during the taping at 11:30 a.m. Fridays. This week, we’ll will be talking to Valerie’s House. Please join us and learn more about our wonderful chamber businesses and organizations.


We would like to welcome 360 Business Growth & Cutco Closing Gifts as a new member of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Gunnin is executive director of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 941-564-3040 or, or visit


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