RC – Ramada Inn

The new Ramada in Lakeland anxiously awaited opening and finally did so on November 21, 2008. The property is at 4620 Socrum Loop Road beside Wendy’s & Five Guys Burgers and Fries. There are 77 rooms available at this property including two room and connecting room suites. There are also rooms with Jacuzzi tubs in the bathrooms and some off of the bedroom area. All of the rooms have queen or king size beds, microwave ovens, refrigerators, iron and iron and ironing boards, coffee makers and many other amenities you would expect to find at home.

The property serves a Continental Breakfast daily and also has a fitness center and an outdoor pool. There is a computer available for guests use, and the property offers wireless capabilities all provided free of charge. The staff is readily available to help when need is required.

Congratulations to the Ramada Inn on their open.


RC – Brightway Insurance

Charlene Rodriguez has been in the insurance industry for the past 10 years and after running an office for a local SF Agent she decided that It was time to open her own insurance agency. She found Brightway Insurance in Jacksonville. The Lakeland office offers a full line of nationally-backed, premier auto, home, business and personal insurance products at competitive value. They take pride in servicing your needs with a personal touch. They will shop the best coverage’s at the lowest rates. In their office, they will bring you more choices of coverage’s from more carriers, for the best protection at the lowest rates.

Congratulations to Ms. Rodriguez and Brightway Insurance.


January Business After Hours

BAH Hosts

Join us for our January Business After Hours hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry and Alpha Appraisal Services. So come out and network with 250 other business professionals at the James J Musson Boys & Girls Club. Located at 950 Pinewood Ave. on the corner of W. Highlands.

BAH Hosts

Cost to attend:  $10.00 Chamber members ~ $30 Non-Chamber members


Please R.S.V.P. by 5:00 PM the day prior to the event.  You may register and pay online or call (863)688-8551, Ext 301



Increase Your Business Potential at the Chamber’s Hats Off Event

Looking to increase your business potential? Mark your calendars as The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Hats Off! event, scheduled for January 26, 2010. Volunteering for Hats Off! offers you a unique opportunity to visit businesses as a Chamber representative while still promoting your company. In one afternoon, each volunteer will deliver up to 20 packets with 2010 Buyer’s Guides and new membership window clings to our 1,800 member businesses.

The day begins at 8 a.m. with breakfast provided by Florida Technical College and ends as volunteers return delivery receipts to the Chamber office.

How can you get involved?

1) Be a Volunteer

Volunteer to visit up to 30 chamber businesses on January 26 to deliver the 2009 membership materials

2) Be a Secret Hat Company

Create a decorative hat or basket incorporating 50 one dollar bills into the design to be presented to the volunteer who delivers membership materials to your company

Please make sure that everyone in your company knows to answer YES when asked, “Are you a Secret Hat Company?”

To secure your place as a volunteer for Hat’s Off, please click here to register using our online registration software. If your company is interested in more recognition as a “Secret Hat”, please contact Terry Ottinger at  or (863)688-8551 Ext. 231.


Retail aCCess – Creating Customer Communities

Lakeland retailers were at work well before their shops opened yesterday, meeting at Bramble Ridge Golf Course for the inagural event of the Lakeland Chamber’s Retail aCCess program.  After indulging in Chef Paulie‘s superb omelet bar, attendees were treated to an informative and inspiring presentation from Mary Kay National Sales Director, Bett Vernon.  

Bett’s 24 years as an entrepeneur provided her insights into creating customer communities and persevering.  She likened our current economic situation to a deep winter storm back home in South Dakota.  Even on the darkest of days, she knew that, early or late, the Spring would come.  She encouraged us to use exceptional customer service to set us apart from our competition and turn our customers into a salesforce.  Without undue optimism, Bett painted a hopeful picture for those willing to put their customers’ needs above their own.

My portion of the program was intended to show that the internet can be used to deepen personal interactions with customers instead of substituting for them.  I went over how companies can use blogs, twitter, facebook, and other social networking applications to enhance their customers’ experience.  I even snuck in a picture of Chef Paulie at the omelet bar!

Many thanks to Jennifer at the Verizon Wireless store at 4120 S. Florida Ave.  for providing us with internet access.

Staff Picks and Additional Reading:
Bett recommended subscribing to SUCCESS Magazine,
published by Darren Hardy.

Matthew recommends you read “Tribes” by Seth Godin.

Amy recommends “Word of Mouth Marketing” by Andy Sernovitz.