Glen Nickerson, publisher of the Venice Gondolier, welcomed the crowd when kicking off the annual Business Matters dinner and recognition ceremony, held to honor the Top 40 local businesses.

The event was held Tuesday, Aug. 20 at Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club, which served as Venue and Top 40 Business Professional sponsor of the event. Presenting sponsor was Venice Regional Bayfront Health (VRBH) and Gulf Coast Medical Group.

“Business Matters is a celebration of businesses in the community,” Nickerson said.

He then introduced his boss, Mike Beatty, president of Adams Publishing-Florida.

“Someone wanted me to do some entertaining, but I won’t be doing that tonight,” Beatty joked. “My wife knows I’m a good singer,” he said, nodding to her, seated at a nearby table.

He talked about it having been a whirlwind year with the company having purchased a newspaper in Key West and has grown in circulation at the Venice Gondolier, which is one of 200 owned by the Adams Publishing Group.

“This is a family-oriented newspaper,” he said. “Our family has always been such a believer in newspapers, and without advertisers we cannot grow. We need your support and hope to give what you need in quality advertising.”

Kim Phillips, Venice Gondolier multimedia sales manager, took the podium as emcee and introduced the advertising staff. Then more fun was on tap as Phillips introduced each Top 40 award winner, cajoled them up to the podium and asked for some to share a few words.

Karen Fordham was thrilled to be honored, especially since it was her first time at the event and was about to celebrate her first year anniversary of being VRBH CEO.

“I live on inspiration and brought our medical team and representative of the volunteers,” she said.

She then gave a quick rundown of various statistics about the hospital and thanked the businesses and community for supporting the hospital.

“We couldn’t take care of our patients without businesses’ support, and we are honored to be your presenting sponsor.”

Fordham was joined by 39 other business professionals in receiving the honor of being a Top 40 Business that reflected nominations made by members of the community. They crossed various business entities, such as real estate, auto mechanics, florists, restaurants, health care, banking, finance, jewelry, furniture and more as listed in “Business Matters,” a magazine that was published in the Wednesday, Aug. 21 edition of the Venice Gondolier.

Following the awards, Phillips conducted a little trivia game wherein she asked who could name businesses by their length of time in Venice. She then called each business representative up to be photographed with others in their decade.

Paradise Grill Coastal Cuisine, Burgundy Square Care, Jackie Griese-Realtor, and BrewBurger’s were some of the youngest kids on the block, being in business nine years and under.

Ten years and over included such businesses as Affordable Golf Cars, The Windsor of Venice, Allegro Bistro, and Gulf Coast Medical Group.

Seven businesses filled the 20+ years spot and included Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club, Honest Air Conditioning and Pit Stop Auto Repair. Topping that group in years were 11 members of the 30+ years category, including American Import Auto, James Griffith Salon and Pop’s Sunset Grill.

Forty years-plus included Rattan Wicker and Cane, Elephant’s Trunk Thrift Shop, and Venice Symphony. Fox Furniture stood by itself in the 50+ years category, and 60+ named four businesses, including Venice Art Center and Venice Regional Bayfront Health.

The longest running business accolade went to the Venice Gondolier in the 70+ decade for its 73 years of bringing news to the community.

Email: ablackwell@venicegondolier.com

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