Catalyst Volunteers Celebrate $300,314!

On August 28, Catalyst Volunteers joined together to celebrate a to-date total of $300,314- a significant milestone! The celebration included some words of wisdom and congratulations from Vice Chair Walker Wilkerson (The NCT Group CPA’s, LLP) as well as Vice Chair Kathryn Koch-O’Malley (Lanier Upshaw). Rinnai provided a beautiful setting for the best part of the event- a martini competition!
Catalyst Reward Session #2
Special thanks to Rinnai and Nikki DeSapio for hosting and to Chef Paulie for sharing fabulous hors d’ oeuvres!
Catalyst Reward Session #2
Volunteers conclude sales on September 12 and are championing a goal of $395,000. The Catalyst Campaign seeks to secure funding for the Chamber’s 2009 programs, events, advertising and sponsorships. There is still time to promote your business through the next year- contact a Catalyst Volunteer today! For additional information, please visit the Catalyst Web site!



Stinson’s Home Design Center

2315 Commerce Point Drive, Suite 130

Lakeland, FL   33801-7603


863/665-5756 Fax


In 1981, Bill & Jean Stinson opened Stinson’s Carpets on Edgewood Drive. Their son Randy was fresh out of High School and with his mother, they sold carpet strictly to builders. When 1989 came around, Bill & Jean opened offices & warehouse space on Edenfield Place and in 1990 expanded to include wood flooring. Ceramic tile was introduced in 2001. In 2007, the Stinson’s opened their “retail” doors in a beautiful home design center on Commerce Point Drive. Continuing to expand their products and services, the Stinson’s are now proud to offer window treatments and “California Closets” to their commercial and retail customers.

Now run by the three Stinson brothers, Stinson’s Home Design Center furnishes and installs home fashion products and specializes in all types of floor coverings, window treatments, closets, and other additional home accessories

Quality products, timely service, exceptional value and professional installations are part of the Stinson experience. The family is committed to being at the forefront of changes in the industry including: using the latest measurement and design programs; attending seminars involving market directions, industry changes, and management/leadership. Stinson’s Home Design Center also conducts “green” seminars and takes pride in offering such products including carpets made from corn and plastic. Customer satisfaction is one of the core values of the company. The Stinson’s are proud to feature “full package services” with complete service and pricing- no hidden fees!

At Stinson’s you will find a beautiful meeting/conference room adjacent to the showroom- fully equipped with a fabulous espresso machine to make your experience as comfortable and inviting as one could imagine. Customers are encouraged to lay out samples or browse the internet for ideas as they shop.  Ultimately, the family and staff at Stinson’s Home Design Center strive for complete customer satisfaction and product education. Randy Stinson is a Certified Flooring Executive with the World Floor Covering Association and is very active in the community along with many others at Stinson Home Design.

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Stinson’s Home Design Center as the August Small Business of the Month award winner.

SBA Winner - August - Stinson


RC- Citrus Connection

The Lakeland Chamber was thrilled to participate in the Ribbon Cutting at the Citrus Connection Bus Terminal on South Florida Ave. CC unveiled new bus ticket vending machines at the bus terminal itself. Before if you wanted to ride the bus you would have to go out to the main office to purchase your tickets or you could purchase them through the mail which would take some preplanning. Now the bus riders have the availability to purchase bus passes right at the terminal creating a convenience for riders.

RC - Citrus Connection

RC- CC Vending Machine

In this day of high gas prices, this added convenience will certainly lead to an increase in riders and hopefully fewer cars on the road. The Citrus Connection does a great job providing an superb bus system. Though how effective do you think it is. I read a interesting and a bit politically incorrect post on the CEOs for Cities blog entitled "Will it Draw Hot Chicks" , I will let you read it and find out what that’s all about. Please let me know your thoughts, and comment here.


oneSMARTlakeland & CEOs for Cities

In 2007 the Lakeland Chamber engaged in a Key Strategic Initiative (KSI) to make Lakeland a place that engages the Creative Class; a place where both young and old can thrive and be attracted to stay our urban corner of the world. So a mission was established, that could guide this new concept.

That mission:

"Enabling collaboration to encourage connectivity and integrate technology for the transformation of our community"

The concept, a ‘smart community’

  • Defined by http://www.smartcommunities.org/ is a community that has made a conscious effort to use information technology to transform life and work within its region in significant and fundamental rather than incremental ways. The goal of such an effort is more than the mere deployment of technology. Rather it is about preparing one’s community to meet the challenges of a global, knowledge economy.


  • Defined by the strategy group as "a community with a vision of the future that involves the use of information and communication technologies in new and innovative ways to empower its residents, institutions, and region as a whole" and defined in process by "Transforming life and work to meet the challenges of the new millennium."

This concept was introduced by Chamber Board Member & Vice President/CEO of USF Polytechnic, Dr. Marshall Goodman at the September 2006 Chamber retreat, in an effort to enable the Board to understand and engage the gravity of the challenges & effects of the global economy.


So with this basis the KSI members engaged in a process to effectively brand the idea, so people could grasp this concept. This was accomplished with the help of Kingston Partners and the final product being:



With a commitment by Chamber President Kathleen Munson and Board Vice Chair Anu Saxena of ASC Geosciences, the Chamber joined a leading organization in the development of these smart communities: CEOs for Cities.



Lakeland was the second city in Florida to join the organization, which showed the progressiveness of the decision. Currently Lakeland is 1 of 3 cities in Florida (Tampa and Miami being the other two) to have organizations join this group; and 1 of only 43 cities nationwide. Not only has the Chamber joined this initiative, but the esteemed Lakeland EDC has also joined the cause.


At this point, I am sure your interested in why I am telling you all of this. Here is the exciting part…The Chamber in cooperation with  LEDCs High Skill Initiative are thrilled to announce that CEOs for Cities President, Carol Coletta, will be speaking at The Chamber’s Annual Board Retreat; in a presentation entitled "Transforming Lakeland’s DNA".  These are exciting times for Lakeland, and I hope that our Board will listen and engage in what Ms. Coletta has to tell us.


Get out and Vote


The Primary Election are being held today Tuesday, August 26th, so don’t forget to head to the polls.  For more information on polling locations, please visit http://www.polkelections.com/content.asp?c=32&event_id=30

As a reminder, BusinessVoice, Inc. has endorsed the following candidates who will appear on tomorrow’s ballot:

Phillip Walker – State Representative District 64

Mike Horner – State Representative District 79

Bob English – Polk County Commission District 1

John Shamp – Polk County Commission District 3

Sam Johnson – Polk County Commission District 5

Brenda Reddout – Polk County School Board District 4

Marsha Faux – Polk County Property Appraiser

BusinessVoice, Inc. was created as an organization to support pro-business political candidates and to promote issues which impact the business community.  BusinessVoice, Inc. works to serve as an endorsement board for those individuals who personify the objectives of the business community.

For more information call the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce at 863/688-8551, ext. 241 or e-mail alink@lakelandchamber.com.