All posts by Cory Skeates


Citizens Bank & Trust Holiday Open House

Citizens Bank Logo
Chamber members are invited to join the Citizens Bank family as they celebrate the holidays in their new location on Lake Morton! There will be plenty of networking, holiday cheer & delicious edibles from Chef Terrie Lobb.

Thursday, December 11
5:00-7:00 pm
Citizens Bank & Trust Downtown Office
402 S Kentucky Avenue
Please RSVP by December 8 to (863) 686-1430.

Why Buy Lakeland?

If you ask me, I can think of an endless number of reasons to remember our Chamber’s “Buy Lakeland” campaign.

… it builds our schools!

… it paves our roads!

… it employs our neighbors!

… it makes good cents!

In fact, if we’re not careful, I may just come up with a top ten list every day! As the holiday season gears up for big sales and even bigger stress, look to your local retailers for great gift ideas and even greater service. From large “big-box” stores to local mom & pop boutiques, our retailers offer a fabulous assortment of gift options along with all the assistance you need in shopping for your loved ones and your holiday time together.

This year, with the news reporting stories of economic downturn and cautious buyers, it is more important than ever that our community bands together to keep our dollars local! Remember, that gadget you bought online might not have cost quite as much, but your computer can’t provide you with the same service or assistance that your neighbor can! Visit our Preferred Business Directory to get started on your shopping and let our local retailers know how much you appreciate their contribution to our economy!


Get Ready to Schmooze!

The Chamber’s newest networking opportunity is filling up fast!

November 13, you have the opportunity to meet up to 20 new contacts over lunch! Schmooze a’Palooza is power networking the Chamber way. Different from a Business After Hours event, Schmooze (as it’s affectionately known) features limited seating, one-on-one networking opportunities and 30-second commercial time for each attendee.

Schmooze a’Palooza is held only for Chamber member businesses and enforces a limit of two (2) persons per company to ensure participants maximize connections.

November 13, 2008 – 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

GrillSmith at Lakeside Village (1569 Town Center Drive)

$20 per person, includes lunch

Reservations are required for this event. Visit the Chamber’s online store today to reserve your space!


RC – Rita’s Water Ice

Rita’s Water Ice made its official debut in the Lakeland area this Saturday with a grand opening celebration – a true family affair.  The newest business venture of the Joseph family, Rita’s is managed by partners James Joseph and Victor Cuellar.

Rita's Italian Ice by you.Rita’s signature product is their Italian Ice, which is much smoother than a snow cone and combines ice with real fresh fruit; made daily on-site and served within 36-hours of mixing.  Also offered are Cream Ice (including the limited engagement “Pumpkin Pie” flavor) and Frozen Custard, offered plain or in combination with Italian Ice or Cream Ice. 

This latest location of the Rita’s franchise is located in Joseph Town Center at 2405 EF Griffin Road.  Many members of the Joseph family were joined by friends and customers to celebrate the grand opening, officiated by Lakeland’s mayor, the Honorable Buddy Fletcher. 


Opening Session Bring Entrepreneurs Together

Last night, 20 of our community’s dreamers and doers embarked on a new journey in their careers. Some had business plans, some entrepreneurial dreams; some veteran business owners, others looking for an opportunity to work for themselves. The launch of the 2008 Entrepreneurial Academy was at hand.

Academy Sponsor WONN/WPCV/WLKF/WWRZ Radio was represented by Nancy Cattarius who shared how proud the radio stations are to have committed to the program from the beginning. A huge “thank you” goes out to our local stations and their employees for exemplifying corporate citizenship and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit in our community!

Chairman of the Chamber board of directors, Tim Campbell (Clark, Campbell & Mawhinney, PA) was also eager to welcome class members and congratulate them on taking this first step. The large number and great success of small businesses in our community is one quality of life benefit that the Chamber is proud to boast!

For the majority of the opening session, Carolyn Jackson, VP of Member Relations, introduced the group to the syllabus for the Academy and reviewed “house rules”. Questions were answered and attendees formulated expectations and goals for their participation.

Finally, everyone was asked to share a 10-second commercial about his or her idea or dream. As each person spoke, the room followed- making mental notes about questions and suggestions to share. At the end of class, no one stayed in seats; every person was up networking, sharing dreams and looking forward to what the Academy could offer to see their business succeed.

For the next 9 weeks, these 20 opportunity-seekers will learn the ins and outs of business ownership from leaders in our community who have lived the challenges and celebrated the successes. There’s no text book here, just real-life experiences and hard-earned lessons!