Category Archives: Announcements


New Online Clubs & Organizations Directory

Lakeland’s sense of place is something that the Chamber and the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau highlights on a regular basis. With 90,000 fabulous residents and another 110,000 in the surrounding areas*, there are plenty of diverse interests and needs!

For several years, the Chamber has produced a printed directory of Clubs & Organizations to help each resident and visitor find his or her niche in our community. This year, we are proud to release an online searchable database of clubs and organizations. There are still some bugs, and it is a work in progress, but we are proud to offer this added benefit to the community and our members! Please be sure to check the directory to find your outlet to serve, or to be sure that your favorite club or organization is listed.

Thanks for visiting, we hope it will help you find your “sense of place”.

[*Editor’s note: Jim Studiale, City of Lakeland Director of Community Development, sent us this message regarding Lakeland’s population: “Jason Willey in my office puts out the demographic atlas each year in cooperation with others to give all organizations one benchmark [consistent with FL BEBR and the US Census] and the numbers in the recent issue are; 94,163 for city pop in 2009 and 253,084 in Lakeland Electric Service Area.” That report is available here.]


Planning for the Chamber’s Communications Future

Each year, the Chamber is faced with some important decisions- just like your business. This year, I’m charged with determining the future of our communications- the blog, emails, printed magazines and the Buyer’s Guide. In order for me to accomplish this task, I need to know how people use the resources that we produce!

I’ve created a survey- that will be emailed to all the folks on our mailing list tomorrow. But, I don’t think that they’re the only people that I need to hear from. Our Chamber, with a vision to create “Florida’s community of choice”, sees Lakeland residents- employees, owners and customers of Lakeland businesses- as our stakeholders. I’d like to know how we can serve as a true catalyst for enhancing our quality of life. Your opinions & ideas are best served if they’re out in the open, and even better if I know about them… Please, take just a moment to share your thoughts!

Communications Planning Survey 2010

There are four sections of questions – 16 questions in all. Your answers to each question will help Chamber staff and volunteer leaders determine the future of our publications and communications.

The survey will remain open until Friday, May 14. Please, forward this link to your friends, clients and business partners. Your contributions are important!


May 6 Polk Growth Matters Webinar: Housing Trends & Issues

Brian Walsh, Vice President of Purchasing and Production, at Highlands Homes in Lakeland will be the featured speaker at the May 6th Polk Growth Matters Workshop and Webinar. The topic will be Polk’s Housing Trends and Issues. The meeting is being co-hosted by the Polk County Builders Association and the Polk County Growth Management Department.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Green Building Trends:  Sustainability principles, materials, and practices including energy effectiveness, justifying the impact of construction on the environment, and reducing waste
  • Workforce Housing: Single-family homes for sale at prices that workforce families can afford.
  • Building Outlook: Prices, volume, and first time Home Buyers
  • Construction Technology Trends: Use of laptop computers in construction, prewired homes vs. wireless and how the use of technology helps keep builder costs down

Residents are encouraged to attend or watch online. The workshop will be at the Jim Miles Training Center 5204 US 98 Hwy South across from the Highland City Town Center, and begin at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary coffee and light refreshments.  Speaker presentations will begin at 7:00 p.m. Reservations are appreciated; to RSVP go to and click on Housing Trends and Issues or call (863) 534-6005.

The workshop will also be offered as a webinar for residents that would prefer to stay home and watch from their computer. Residents can also email questions to the workshop leaders to be discussed during the workshop.

The webinar is free and requires no pre-registration or enrollment. Anyone interested in participating can log on below.

Polk Growth Matters is a community forum hosted by the Polk County Growth Management Department.  Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for citizen education and constructive discussion on growth management issues.  It is intended to further a general and common understanding of current issues in Polk County.  Consistent with its focus on community education and dialogue, the forum is not used to advocate a position on issues.


Celebrate Your Small Business with FREE Business Development Seminars

In celebration of Small Business Week, the Small Business Development Center, at Central Florida Development Council, with collaboration from our partners, will be conducting all-day business training seminars in Polk County.  These will be held at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 5204 US Hwy 98 South, Lakeland, FL 33813.

May 24, 2010

  • Welcome/Opening Session, 8:30am – 9:00am
  • Certifications for Growth, 9:00am– 10:15am
  • Growing Globally, 10:30am–11:45am
  • Marketing for Growth, 12:30pm-1:45pm
  • Emedia Marketing, 2:00pm – 3:15pm
  • Financing Growth, 3:30pm – 4:45pm
  • Wrap-up session, 4:45 – 5:00pm

To register for a seminar, please visit the Web site: For more information, please contact the Small Business Development Center at (863) 667-7913.


All American Fire & Safety Partners With Local Non-Profit

All American Fire & Safety | (863) 838-5573

8240 US Highway 98 North

All American Fire & Safety, Inc is proud to announce they have contracted with Peace River Center (PRC) and Image Creations by Billie, Inc. to provide a split transitional employment position (TEP) for members of CLUB SUCCESS.

CLUB SUCCESS is a rehabilitation club for people with mental illnesses where real-life job skills are taught and used to achieve “meaningful work” as a contributing member of society. Temporary TEPs are negotiated with local businesses to provide members with the opportunity to learn responsibility develop self-esteem and communicate effectively while working in a professional environment.

The newly contracted TEP will be split between All American Fire and Safety, Inc. and Image Creations by Billie, Inc., which is mutually owned by husband and wife duo, Chris and Billie Porche.

Time spent at All American Fire and Safety, Inc. will require members to assist with fire extinguisher inspection and sales, and duties at Image Creations by Billie, Inc. will include helping with various screen and banner printing jobs.

The new TEP will begin in late April and is expected to be a favorite among club members. If you or anyone you know is interested in being a TEP provider please contact Luis Rivas at 863-413-3267.

All American Fire & Safety, Inc. opened in March of 2010 to help promote awareness of the fire safety codes for small businesses. “It is something that all small and large businesses must comply with, but very few understand what they must do to be compliant. This is where All American excels according to the owner, Chris Porche. They will travel to the customer’s location and inspect their fire extinguishers and safety lighting annually, perform any necessary maintenance and make sure they are and stay in compliance with the life safety codes. Chris has been in the fire equipment business for over 25 years and likes to share his experience with his customers. They will train your staff to use a fire extinguisher, and even provide live fire training for your staff.