Category Archives: Announcements


August Business & Breakfast to Talk Stress

Stress is a hot topic these days- like going green or buying local- but it certainly doesn’t seem like quite as much fun to discuss! Dr. Parker from True M.D. hopes to change all that at the August Business & Breakfast on 8/13 at 7:30 a.m. You won’t want to miss out on the information, hands on tips and give-aways that are in store!

gilit true card front

3627 South Florida Ave | Lakeland, FL 33803

August 13, 2009 | 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.

$5 for members; $15 for guests

Cash or check only at the door. To pre-register using our online payment system, click here.


Participate in Revitalizing Neighborhoods

Chamber Members Swan Development Advisors & Keystone Challenge Funds have partnered with Polk County to redevelop foreclosed properties and offer down-payment assistance for low and moderate income families. In July, Polk County was allocated nearly $14.5 million to create the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Read more about this program at,, Fox 13 News, and Channel 10 News.

Right now, the NSP is searching for local vendors to join the effort. The list of needs includes, but is not limited to:


  • Appraisers
  • Attorneys/Title Work
  • Carpentry and Cabinetry
  • Concrete
  • Construction Site and House Cleaning Services
  • Demolition
  • Electrical
  • Environmental Consulting/Remediation
  • Fencing
  • General Contracting
  • General Maintenance
  • Landscaping and Lawn Care
  • Locksmiths
  • Mechanical
  • Painting
  • Pest Control
  • Plumbing
  • Property Management
  • Roofing
  • Tree Trimming/Removal


There is a vendor application at, as well as additional information about the program, it’s funding, management and resources available to the targeted neighborhoods.


Business Disaster Survival Kit Now Available

Thinking about disaster preparedness may not be at the top of your priority list this Friday… in fact, at the top of mine was heading downtown to catch up on some much needed coffee & Facebook time. But let’s just keep that little plan to ourselves…

Thanks to the folks at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Business Continuity Planning Alliance, The State of Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Regional Planning Councils, (and Barb here in our office), we now have CDs to share!

Disaster and crisis response plans should be in place for everything from natural events and hazards to technological changes or threats. While many of us may not consider Lakeland to be in a threatened area, we’ve seen proof in other close-knit communities that disaster and violence are not reserved for the big city.

disaster CD In addition to the CD resource, there is also a Web site set up for businesses to explore. By visiting, you and your business can be well on the way to developing your Business Continuity Plan. That, and there’s a pirate-themed “game” for you to play. It won’t seem like you’re learning, but I guarantee you will… This game, by the way, is the only game that I endorse as appropriate for business. If you try to use this post as evidence that Facebook is a viable use of work time, I will not vouch for you.

Please, stop by the Chamber to pick up your Business Disaster Survival Kit CD and take some time (after you’ve played the pirate game) to write down your Business Continuity Plan. When you do, and you can provide evidence of a plan, we’ll do a special feature here and in December’s Forum for Business Monthly of our member companies who are prepared.*

*Businesses that have a plan must provide evidence of that plan on or before October 23, 2009 by emailing Amy Wiggins or Terry Ottinger in order to be included in the December feature.


Twitter For the Rest of Us

I will be the first to admit that I am not the social media guru here or in my personal life. Recently, I’ve ventured into the Twitter-sphere with our Catalyst Campaign updates ( as well as with a personal account ( So far, I’m not very good at either one, but I’m trying!

I’ve decided that until I’m more interesting, the personal account will be good to get updates from my favorite stores & organizations. I just can’t seem to find a good reason to tell people what I’m doing yet- people are already sick and tired of hearing about my dog.

The Catalyst account allows me to share information and updates with followers. For the volunteers and others who follow, it’s nice to be able to mention their accomplishments (that’s when you put an @ symbol before their account name in your tweet) and disseminate information that is important to sales.

I came across this slideshow that helps put things into something concrete. Everyone has a very different learning style, and mine is remedial. There are not enough examples out there to keep me from forgetting how or why CatalystLkld even exists. So, in the spirit of progress, I decided to share!


Feel free to comment here and let us know what you think or how you’re using Twitter successfully in your business.


More Than Half Of Lakeland Schools An “A”

The Florida Department of Education released the FCAT grades for the 2008-2009 school year and more than half (51 percent)  of Lakeland schools received a grade of A.

The statistics for Lakeland schools:

A – 22     B- 7     C- 11     D-2     F- 1

Exactly two-thirds (67 percent) of Lakeland schools (29 schools) received an A or B. Ninety-three percent (40 schools) received an A, B or C. The Polk Public Schools received an overall grade of B from the state for the second consecutive year.  A listing of Lakeland schools by FCAT grade is listed below:

A- Blake Academy, Carlton Palmore Elementary, Cleveland Court Elementary, Dixieland Elementary, Griffin Elementary, Highlands Grove Elementary, Jesse Keen Elementary, Kathleen Elementary, Lakeland Highlands Middle, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Lincoln Avenue Academy, McKeel Academy, McKeel Elementary, North Lakeland Elementary, Phillip O’Brien Elementary, Rochelle School of the Arts, Scott Lake Elementary, Sikes Elementary, South McKeel Elementary, Southwest Middle, Valleyview Elementary, Wendell Watson Elementary.

B- Dr. N.E. Roberts Elementary, Kathleen Middle, Lake Gibson Middle, Lakeland High, Padgett Elementary, R. Bruce Wagner Elementary, Southwest Elementary

C- Churchwell Elementary, Combee Elementary, Crystal Lake Elementary, Crystal Lake Middle, George Jenkins High, Lake Gibson High, Medulla Elementary, Sleepy Hill Elementary, Sleepy Hill Middle, Socrum Elementary, Winston Elementary.

D- Kathleen High, Tenoroc High

F- Oscar J. Pope Elementary