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Economy appears to be slowly improving for Pine Island businesses

May 31, 2011
By JAY JOHNSON, president, Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce

Many businesses reported this year was better than last year. Overall, the economy appears to be slowly improving. We have a way to go before most people begin to feel comfortable and businesses return to solid profits. Let’s hope the higher fuel prices begin to decrease an don’t slow our progress. Contact the chamber with your ideas on how the chamber can work for you to bring more business to the Pine Island area. The chamber how has 255 members and continues to grow.

I was fortunate to be one of 150 business executives and community leaders invited to attend a seminar, Market Watch Future Vision, as an elected representative of the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce. The seminar was sponsored by the Fort Myers News-Press. The speaker was Edie Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., a leading futurist consulting group. She spoke about Future Vision on Wednesday, April 6, at the Sanibel Harbor Resort and Spa. Weiner is one of the most influential practitioners of social, technological, political and economic intelligence gathering. Her firm identifies opportunities in marketing, product development, strategic planning, investments, human resources and public affairs. The firm has worked with Coca-Cola, IBM Ford and other companies to identify trends shaping their business. Edie Weiner suggested businesses look for opportunities instead of challenges as technology changes. She also mentioned “if there are disagreements and conflicting desires or needs we are taught to sit down and reach a compromise,” she said “Compromise is a lose-lose.” Instead, she said, people should look for common needs to build solutions. Weiner also suggested that a business go out and hire a young person for a few hours a week and ask them what type of suggestions they may have on how to better run the business to meet particular goals.

The Dollar General Store has modified their signs. As was mentioned in my last president’s corner, they had agreed to make the sign on the front of the building smaller and to modify the sign on Stringfellow Road to make it more aesthetically pleasing in its appearance. This is a very positive example of businesses willing to work with the community to reach a positive outcome.

MangoMania is the main fund raiser for the chamber. It will be held at the German-American Club again this year on July 30 and 31. I would like to see this event and others sponsored by “island” organizations coming back to the island. I would encourage each individual to contact John Manning, our county commissioner, and ask that Lee County obtain the necessary facilities on Pine Island to hold community functions, little league baseball, soccer, Taste of Pine Island, the Seafood Festival, etc. Having a location on Pine Island, for “Island-base” events will help to increase the involvement and support by our residents and visitors.

Jennifer Jennings has come on board at the chambers as part-time administrative assistant, and event coordinator for MangoMania. She brings experience as office manager at Randell Research Center as well as sales experience from Matlacha galleries to the chamber, volunteer work with MangoMania since 2001, with Kiwanis’ Taste of Pine Island Seafood Chowder Contest, and served as Mango Queen in 2003. The chamber welcomes Jennifer to our staff.

The speakers at the April Business Breakfast were staff from Lee County Code Enforcement. Chief Code Enforcement officer Rick Roberts (239-850-8120), Code Enforcement Officer for Sign and Occupancy permits Mary Zettel (239-533-8864) and Code Enforcement Officer for Pine Island Dave McFalls (239-410-8269). They and other staff at Code Enforcement welcome Pine island business owners and residents to contact them with any questions or concerns regarding code compliance, regulatory issues, etc. If the question falls out of their department, they will direct the interested party to the correct department.

Help me in welcoming the newest members to the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce:

— From Our Hearts, Karen Washburn, president

— Pine Island FISH, Dianne Higgins, president

Please add these new members to your list of businesses here on greater Pine Island and show your support of them.


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