941CEO November/December 2016

Page 1

november / december 2016


Checking Into Airbnb


Tax Tips! Experts Weigh In

Left to right: Robyn E. Messer, Fay E. Bainbridge, Kip D. Schoonover, Jerry L. Bainbridge, John B. Leeming, Jeanmarie Giambra, Joel G. Oldham and Jennifer B. Chauvel.

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Lori Sax

November / December 2016


The year’s biggest deals, and the people who made them happen.


34 40 44 50

The Deal Addict Chris Brown keeps looking for the next smart investment.

Top Tax Tips Ways to save money from the pros.

Cottage Industry How local landlords are cashing in on the online vacation rental biz.

o, Christmas Trees Global faux flower company Lux-Art Silks decks the halls.

ADVERTISING SECTION RASM Commercial Investment Division Gulf Coast Builders Exchange Top Architects, Builders and Landscapers Tax Strategies

53 59 75 93

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November / December 2016



Stuff you need to know, from business issues to watch in 2017 to the debate over a $15 minimum wage.


Tech Tools

Ingenious apps for helping you manage your money.


Tourism Beat

Culinary tourism increasingly takes the cake.


What I’ve Learned How Ted C. Abrams saved Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea from being a perennial money loser.


Fast Track

Movers, shakers and headline makers.


The Seen

People and events in pictures.

Picking Winners Real estate dominates the economy—and conversation— in Sarasota and Manatee. And, right now, with all the construction cranes from the Manatee River to the Charlotte County line, we’ve got lots to talk about. We wanted to spotlight the top projects impacting our economy and quality of life, so we spent some time huddling with real estate experts and insiders to choose the highlights of the last year. You can read our selections in our 2016 Real Estate Awards. Let us know if you agree. As part of that story, we planned to recognize the top residential producers based on their sales volume for a 12 -month period. We got the names—but not the dollar volume of their sales—of the top 15 residential producers from the Realtor’s Association of Sarasota and Manatee. After numerous calls and emails, we discovered that some realtors passionately guard and often dispute theirs and each other’s sales volumes, and that their totals are calculated in complex and (at least to us) confusing ways. At times, we felt we were negotiating a complex Middle East peace settlement—in a foreign language. But with tact, persistence and some outright begging, we finally brought home the numbers—and they’re impressive. Case in point: The No. 1 producer, Coldwell Banker’s Roger Pettingell, sold $77 million in homes in a one-year period. Now that’s worthy of an award.


Off the Clock

Webmaster and zombie ace Robert Holzer.



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People, companies and issues you need to know. 16  Business class  //  19 empty lots  //  22 my latest craze

Talk i nnov a tor

Che Wise-Jarvis The Steri-Straw inventor aims to change germy, old-fashioned straw dispensers.


hold more than 600 straws and is powered by a rechargeable battery pack. (A future version of the product will even send an email when the battery and straws are low.) The cheaper, unwrapped straws should reduce costs for restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands and will require less time and money to clean up discarded wrappers. Fast-food restaurants, sports arenas and theme parks have all shown an interest in Steri-Straw, and some outlets, including a Universal Studios resort, have signed preliminary contracts. Wise-Jarvis is also targeting medical and governmental markets. Full-scale production began in China last month, and WiseJarvis has plans for similar hands-free products that will dispense sanitized lids, ketchup, napkins and more. — Hannah Wallace Che Wise-Jarvis and his Steri-Straw dispenser at downtown Sarasota’s Waffle Stop.

Alex stafford

arasota engineer Che WiseJarvis has invented a lot of products, from surgical clamps to surf board cases. His latest inspiration? Straws.

In 2008, the South African native was living in Australia when he became obsessed with mechanical drinking straw dispensers, the 50-year-old kind with push-down levers that release a single straw at a time. “They’re always jammed, always dirty, and what tended to happen was people would take the lid off the machine and just start helping themselves through the top,” Wise-Jarvis says. The inventor envisioned an electronic, hands-free straw dispenser and moved with his family to the U.S. to take advantage of the larger market. (He chose Sarasota because it most resembled the beachy lifestyle he’d enjoyed in Australia.) Americans, he realized, often use straws that are individually wrapped in paper for an added sense of sanitation, so Wise-Jarvis incorporated an ultraviolet sanitizer in the design. His Steri-Straw dispenser, developed at a Cattlemen Road facility and priced at $199, can



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Talk biz rules

On the Horizon New business rules to watch in 2017. ● by Kevin Allen

Changing the EEO-1 Reporting Form: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is adding compensation data for everyone on the payroll for any employers with more than 100 employees. Currently, employers must report age, race and gender statistics for everyone on the payroll. The compensation data could shed light on how many companies are failing to

offer equal pay for equal work and could lead to punishment for companies that are violating the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The new reporting system begins March 2018. Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage to $15 per hour: California did it. New York did it. Now that two of the three largest states in the country passed laws to gradually raise their respective minimum wage to $15 an hour and several big cities followed suit, could Florida be next? Florida’s minimum wage currently sits at $8.05 an hour. In 2016, two proposed bills in the Florida House and Senate died in the committee process, but don’t expect

them to go away entirely. While it’s not inevitable, it’s a good idea for employers to start planning for the what-ifs. Reevaluating NLRB Joint Employer Standards: The National Labor Relations Board in August 2015 made a landmark ruling to change its standard for determining whether two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce. A joint employer relationship might occur when you have a contract company whose employees work for a third party. In a warehouse setting, where contractor agencies are often used, the new regulations would mean that the warehouse owner is liable for any employment-related claims brought by employees. Previously, only the contractor’s agency would have been liable. It also exists in franchise locations. A McDonald’s worker is technically an employee of the franchise owner and McDonald’s Corporation. With the NLRB’s new regulations, McDonald’s is liable for any labor violations that their franchisees may commit. The previous precedent, which stood for 30 years, required “direct and immediate” control over employees for joint-employment status to exist. The move is opposed by business groups, such as the Coalition to Save Local Business, who believe that the ruling is vague and potentially damages long-standing relationships between small businesses. In 2017, Congress could intervene to repeal the decision.

“We won’t have as much development activity [in downtown Sarasota] next year because there’s been so much in the pipeline. You’re going to see smaller projects, not as many mixed-use. Everybody anticipates the Quay is going to be a massive project that could suck the wind out of other projects. The city is also doing Bayfront 2020 and, of course, you have Main Plaza that just sold and who knows what those guys are going to do with that project. Developers are going to be more cautious.”

ov e r h e a rd

–T o n y V e l d k a m p, managing director of SVN Commercial Advisory Group, recapping September’s 2016 Downtown Horizons event of the Commercial Investment Division of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. 12


Shutterstock: MJgraphics


very year, a new set of business rules goes into effect, and changes are always on the horizon. Here are three that local businesses should track in 2017.

A Musical Fable of Broadway Based on a Story and Characters of

Music and Lyrics by



Choreographed and Directed by




Talk Y O U D O W HA T ?

● by Ilene Denton

Aneta Lundquist


and her husband, Eric, of Sarasota-based Kombucha 221 BC brew, bottle and wholesale seven flavors of kombucha—a fermented tea that's trending among the health-conscious—to some 400 Florida grocery and specialty stores, including Whole Foods and Richard’s Foodporium. (Aneta is the brewer, Eric is the business manager.) Aneta, a self-professed “hippie in heels,” says, “I have a huge passion for kombucha and what our product represents: living healthy and loving yourself.”

“Kombucha is an ancient drink from Asia. The recipe is over 2,000 years old. That’s where our name came from—221 BC stands for ‘221 before Christ.’ We use high-quality organic tea leaves and sugar and ferment that in a culture, then add fresh-pressed, raw, organic unprocessed juices. It creates probiotics, enzymes, B vitamins. There’s a trace amount of alcohol—less than .5 percent— but it’s not considered an alcoholic beverage.” GROWTH MODE

“We started small in December 2014 [by brewing] in tiny buckets and launched the product slowly. Now we have eight employees in our commercial kitchen and brewery here in Sarasota and we produce 40,000 bottles every month, which retail for $3.99 to $4.29 each. We keep growing; we’re heading toward another five states: North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama and Louisiana. We plan on building a national brand and tripling our production over the next year.” BE ACTIVE, BE HEALTHY

“When I started doing this, I knew it would be big business. I want to make the world a more beautiful, healthier place. The people I hire for our sales team have the same mission and the same principles. [And] we use a lot of social media [to spread the message].”

Aneta Lundquist 14


Chad Spencer


“We also are in the boat dealership business in Wisconsin, and I had a boat detailing company. We were snowbirds here for six years [before moving here full-time] because that is a seasonal business up North. Eric still goes back and forth.”

LA PETITE ROBE DI CHIARA BONI The Mall at University Town Center SARASOTA, 120 UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER DR. 941.364.5300.

Talk b u s i n e ss c l a ss ●  by Jackie Rogers

Play Ball! Wi-Fi Warrior


This personalized, all-in-one leather tech envelope is a great gift for the organized executive. It stores cords and cables, cards and cash, passport and travel docs, and even an iPad Mini. The premium leather will soften and wear with time and use. Free monogramming and exclusive font collections. | Mark & Graham, Leather Tech Envelope, $149, markandgraham.com.

holiday gifts for the executive.

Spending quality time outside the office with clients can be a great way to solidify business relationships. Surprise clients with tickets to Orioles Spring Training at Ed Smith Stadium. The renovated stadium provides an up-close and personal view of the players while enjoying everything Florida has to offer in March. | For information on schedules and tickets go to baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/ spring_training.com.

Office Barista

Upgrade the executive’s office coffee experience with a personal Nespresso CitiZ coffeemaker that produces barista-style coffee and espresso at the touch of a button. Ideal temperature and extraction methods make this coffee way better than office kitchen brew, and the coffee capsule selection provides a wide range of strengths and flavors to satisfy everyone’s taste preferences. The sleek and compact design adds instant sophistication to any office, and the exec will appreciate the mid-afternoon pick-me-up. | Nespresso CitiZ, $249, Sur La Table.



Stay Chill

Alexa, Fetch My Slippers Meet the new personal office assistant, Alexa. Capable of doing everything from ordering a pizza to adjusting a thermostat with a voice command, Amazon’s Alexa uses a smart speaker called Echo. The device plays music, provides information, news, sports scores, weather and more. No need to call IT for connection, just plug it in, connect to Wi-Fi and start talking. New services like Uber and StubHub being added daily will make Alexa Employee of the Year. | The Amazon Echo with Alexa, $179, amazon.com.

Whether your executive likes dayslong wilderness treks or flying back from the Bahamas with a cooler full of fresh fish, look to the Yeti Hopper 20 to keep food and drinks super cold. This soft-sided cooler locks in the cold and eliminates leaks with Cold Cell Technology and HydroLok Zipper (think Haz-Mat suit) technology. The Dryhide Shell fabric is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures and UV rays. Its tote design and slick color scheme keep it stylish and fit for any circumstance. | Hopper-20 Cooler, $299, West Marine Sarasota.

Sharing the Love Consider a catered luncheon for your boss or a favored client. Morton’s Market foodies will select lunch items, gourmet cheese boards and specialty desserts to make the meal memorable. If the lunch hour is too hectic, order an impromptu holiday happy hour with hors d’oeuvres and wine pairings. In addition to being known for specialty food and wine section, Morton’s carries last-minute hostess gifts and specialty items to take to a holiday party. Prices vary. | Morton’s Gourmet Market, mortonsmarket.com. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016


Talk As k t h e Boss Marcus Anast

Should Florida implement a $15 minimum ● by Isaac Eger

Ed Chiles CEO, The

Kim Githler Chair and

CEO, MoneyShow

“It would kill this economy. People are already losing their jobs because [small] businesses are having a harder time making a profit. People can live on minimum wage. I worked at Neiman Marcus and a restaurant in order to live a lifestyle that I wanted to live. I paid off my first car at the age of 15 on minimum wage. It gets back to the economics of our government. We are printing money at a very fast clip. Our currency is purchasing fewer goods. The responsibility to fix the economy should not be leveled on businesses to pay more.”

Chiles Group (Sandbar Restaurant, Beach House Restaurant, Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub)

“It would be a huge issue for our industry. Currently, you’ve got waiters making $5-$6 an hour plus tips with the tip tax credit. Our servers are making about $30 an hour. If the state took our labor budget and upped it by 150 percent that would be a big burden. How much would that mean an average plate has to go up? Are people willing to spend more? We’ve got to provide a living wage, but we have to do it in steps, and Florida has been doing that. We’re trying to move [our industry] towards no tips.”

Career Path 1


●  by Hannah Wallace


“When I graduated, there was not much demand for people in energy engineering. But I had a math background, so I went to a software house to do banking software.”


Lance Thompson of Sarasota Catering Company. From engineering to software design to cooking. 18


“I was doing process redesign. The guys who get $10,000 a day call it ‘re-engineering.’ I looked at the processes companies had in place and tried to make them more efficient. I did that in a lot of different places—banks, insurance companies. I worked with State Farm for three years.”


“I was arbiter of performance investment portfolios, giving an independent analysis of how they compared to other funds of the same size and makeup.”

“We pay way above minimum wage and we always will. My thinking is: I don’t want a human being in my world to be resentful. I don’t want them to think they could be making more money elsewhere. I don’t want them to think that it’s a job. I want people to be there for me and my business because I was there for them from the get-go. If the environment is relaxed and happy and workers are not treated like drones and people are paid accordingly, business is good.”



“When the technology market crashed, I retired. I went to cooking school to learn how to make things better. I just did it for fun, with no intention of doing anything with it.” (2003) COOK, MONSOON, CHICAGO

“In one sense, working in a restaurant

5 is easier than catering. You have a fixed menu, so you’re doing the same thing all the time. But restaurants have a high turnover, and they have a tough time making it. [Monsoon] doesn’t exist anymore.”

Lance Thompson



“My wife retired in 2004 and we ended up buying a house at The Oaks, but I didn’t like golf enough to play it all the time. I was looking for something to do. I wanted the creativity that goes with making food, and the catering business gave that to me.”


Chad Spencer


Co-owner, The Sarasota Collection Home Store

E m pt y Lots

Land of Opportunity Once earmarked for workforce housing, these 300 acres in Venice are up for grabs. ● by Kevin Allen


ack in 2007, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s annual report envisioned a community called The Bridges, “a 146-acre community designed to be economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable.” It was an ambitious project slated for the area just east of I-75 off Laurel Road in Venice. The organization spent more than $16 million on that original tract in 2005, hoping to be “good stewards” and building what foundation CEO Mark Pritchett once envisioned as “a mixedincome, mixed-use community that would also have workforce housing.” Everyone knows what happened to the real estate market in the ensuing years. The Great Recession claimed The Bridges as one of its many local victims, and now those 146 acres— along with a neighboring 153-acre tract that the foundation purchased for $8.55 million in 2007—are on the market for $24.3 million.

Try to find 300-plus acres available for development along the I-75 corridor in Manatee or Sarasota counties. It’s not happening. This is one of the largest tracts of land to come on the market in recent years. It offers proximity to area employers like Tervis, easy access to I-75 and current zoning of 1,100 residential units and 225,000 square feet of commercial use. And while there are still many, including Pritchett and Venice Mayor John Holic, who would like to see the land used for affordable housing, wetland preservation and a park, it’s not a guarantee. Holic even hoped GCCF would donate some of the land for a police station, school and park. The foundation doesn’t seem eager to pass along any discounts. “We have an appraised value on the land and a fiduciary duty to get as much as we can based on that appraisal,” Pritchett says. “That’s important. Plus, we feel like our staff time would be better suited toward bigger initiatives in our community.”

Ian Black Real Estate partner Michele Fuller, who worked with GCCF in 2005 on the original land deal when she was with Coldwell Banker, is the listing agent for the property. She says there has been plenty of interest on the site from local and out-of-state developers. “We’ve had so much interest, but people don’t want to be specific about where they want to take the [property] or what their intention would be,” Fuller says. None of the prospective buyers have been public about their plans. “When you think back to Lakewood Ranch and some parts of that area that hadn’t yet been developed a few years back, and you see where they are now, that’s the vision we see for these 300 acres [and the surrounding area east of I-75],” she says. Pritchett’s organization will not be giving preference to one developer over another based on their plans for the property. “We’re going to be hands-off in terms of what goes in there,” he says.

The 300 acres in red are zoned for 1,100 residential units and 225,000 square feet for commercial use.

Laurel Rd




Allen Carlson

regional director, UF Innovation Station Sarasota County

● by Kathy Walker Van Citters place where they can make a large impact on the global innovation economy. We have a strong creative class, a wealth of seasoned leadership as well as forward-thinking entrepreneurs and start-ups, collaborative educational, government and philanthropic partners, and a physical environment that can’t be topped. At the same time, our businesses need technology-based economic development to foster growth. Q.  How will Innovation Station benefit the local region?

Every community in the U.S. is trying to recruit engineers, but why not grow them locally so that they already have ties to the community and employers? That’s the idea behind the UF Innovation Station Sarasota County. The program kicked off in March as a partnership between the UF College of Engineering and leaders from the region’s academic, public, private and philanthropic sectors. Allen Carlson, former president and chief executive officer of Sarasota-based Sun Hydraulics, is regional director.

Q.  What is the UF Innovation Station Sarasota County? A. It’s the first extension office of the Florida Engineering Experiment Station (FLEXStation), an arm of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering in Gainesville. Its mission is to accelerate economic development using the university’s assets. Q.  Why did UF choose our area for the first Innovation Station outside Gainesville? A.  Local leaders convinced the UF College of Engineering that our region is a


A. Regional businesses prefer to hire local talent but currently have to do a lot of outside recruiting for engineers. Innovation Station is opening up the student talent-technical jobs pipeline. We have a lot of plans in the works with K-12 schools to boost science, technol-

ogy, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. We are recruiting high school seniors now and working with State College of Florida ManateeSarasota (SCF) through our new collaborative program, Gator Engineering at SCF. The first class of up to 10 UF engineering students will arrive at SCF Venice in fall 2017 where they will be admitted to UF’s engineering program while starting their coursework at SCF. And we will work to place these engineering students in internships at local companies. Having ready access to UF engineering’s resources is another great benefit for local businesses. We’ve met with 20 local companies and three have signed up for Integrated Product and Process Design (IPPD), an experiential education program in which multidisciplinary teams of senior-year undergraduates, under the guidance of UF faculty

coaches, work to design, build and test products for industrial sponsors. Q.  What are the top goals? A. In addition to increasing the region’s supply of student engineering and technical talent, our goals are to link UF’s engineering assets with local entrepreneurs and growing companies, and create and nurture collaborations between businesses and educational institutions. Our overarching goal is to drive economic impact in this area. Q.  Who are the players that brought Innovation Station to our region? A.  Making this happen took an 18-month effort by the Sarasota County Commission, the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. In addition to SCF, Ringling College of Art & Design, New College of Florida and Sarasota County schools were involved as were Sun Hydraulics and PGT Inc. Voalte’s CEO, Trey Lauderdale, a UF engineering graduate, persuaded UF’s engineering leadership to come check us out. For more information, contact Allen Carlson, acarlson@eng.ufl.edu.

Building Bridges Local options to earn an engineering degree got another boost this fall with the launch of the Bridge to Engineering program, a partnership between the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) and USF Tampa’s College of Engineering. Five local students will take general education courses at USFSM the first two years then transfer to USF Tampa to complete their degrees. There’s no admissions cap for Bridge to Engineering, part of USFSM’s expansion of STEM programs. Contact: Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean, College of Science and Mathematics, pkirchman@sar.usf.edu, usfsm.edu/csm/ bridge-to-engineering.


Salvatore brancifort; Innovation Station Courtesy of UF

F i v e Q u e st i ons

AGENDA N O V e m b e r − D E C E MB E R





Englewood Chamber of Commerce Manasota Mystique gala, 5 p.m. at the Manasota Beach Club, 7660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood. $150. Tickets and event details at englewoodchamber.com.

Suncoast Technology Forum Techbyte Luncheon, with guest speaker Dr. Renitia Bertoluzzi on “The Power of Company Culture - We have a Bus!,” 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch. Register at suncoasttechnologyforum.com/events.


nov. nov.

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance Sandies Members’ Choice Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Polo Grill/Fete Ballroom, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch. $35. To register, visit lwrba.org.




Manatee Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce present Expo 2016 mega-networking event, 5-8 p.m. at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto. $5. For details, visit manateechamber.com.

Venice Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Five, 5:30-7 p.m. at Home Instead Senior Care, 141 Pond Cypress Road, Suite A, Venice. $5 for members; $10 for nonmembers. No registration required; pay at door. venicechamber.com.



11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Polo Grill/Fete Ballroom, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch. $65 for EDC investors; all others $75. To register, visit thinkbradentonarea.com.






Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation Annual Update Luncheon,


Sarasota-Manatee Brunch on the Bay, USF 11:301:30 p.m. at USF SarasotaManatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $125. For details, visit usfsm. edu/brunch.



Manatee Chamber of Commerce presents Techxpo, with panel of local technology experts, 9 a.m.noon at the Manatee Chamber Lakewood Ranch office, 4215 Concept Court, Lakewood Ranch. $28 for chamber members; $38 for nonmembers. To register, visit manateechamber.com.

Third Annual PINC Sarasota conference, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. $425 includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a complete list of international speakers who will address the themes of people, ideas, nature and creativity, visit pincsarasota.com.

Manatee Chamber of Commerce Holiday Coffee Club, 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Free for chamber members; $10 for nonmembers. For details, visit manateechamber.com.


Where Will We Live? If Florida continues to develop with current population and development patterns, the state will have nearly 34 million people (a 70 percent increase from 2015’s 20 million) with more than two-thirds of the state developed. SOURCE: Florida 2070 Report, a study done by 1000 Friends of Florida, the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture



Talk m y l a t e st c r a z e Seven things I'm grooving on.

Anand Pallegar, founder, atLarge Inc.

●  interview by isaac eger

1. Moleskines Squared. Soft cover. Size, large. —moleskine.com “For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried one of these around

with me to capture notes, scribbles, sketches and tasks. I go through several

2.Time Timer —timetimer.com “This is a beautifully designed, simple timer originally developed for children with autism. You set your timer and this bright gadget visually illustrates the remaining time—it’s today’s modern hourglass. If it can work for kids, it can work for me, since simple ideas are often the most effective. I’ve been using it to timebox myself, specifically for meetings and timesensitive tasks. You’ll probably see these in conference rooms soon.”

a year, and since I keep them all, I have amassed a historical archive of ideas. Capturing things with pen is insanely valuable to me; it enables me to relive a meeting or thought years later.”

5. Turquoise “You can’t have enough of it. Seriously. It’s a color that makes my world a little brighter. I often work on creative, dynamic projects, and most of my efforts require serious focus, so incorporating something bright and bold, from my shoelaces to random items around my home, desk and office, helps to create mental balance and captures my imagination.”


6. Purple Pens “I tend to use only one of three specific types of pen and will go to great lengths to find the right one. And they’re all purple. Pilot Varsity Fountain, UniBall Vision Stick Rollerball or a Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip.”

3. Trello —trello.com “This organizational tool puts each one of my projects on a digital board that I can see at a glance and shows me what needs to be done and what has been done. It helps me prioritize what I need to focus on at any given point in time. It has the right balance between flexibility and ease of use and acts as my personal task manager.”

4. Evernote —evernote.com “Another brain extension tool; this one’s digital. From photos to documents, this is the digital equivalent of writing things down and is one of my most useful digital tools, especially when I need to recall information from months, or even years, ago.”

7. Bike Trainer + iPad —cycleops.com. “I picked up a trainer [in-home exercise bike] to save time in the mornings. I roll out of bed and hop on the bike to crank out a quick workout. I use this time to map out priorities by strapping an iPad to the handlebars to access my inbox, calendar, meetings and whatever else starts my day. It’s great for getting your body in shape and your mind more focused. Let’s see how long it lasts!”




● by hannah wallace

Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar

Fish favorites in a charming creekside location.

Cord Cutters Media consumers, especially millennials, who are canceling their cable service to watch programs online.

m e tr i c

LEFT: Alex stafford. Right: Shutterstock

Calypso salmon salad

the place This charming, weathered fish house right on the water offers ample seating at wooden tables in the window-lined dining rooms and outside overlooking the docks. Tables topped with paper towel dispensers and a decorating scheme heavy on nautical bric-a-brac make for a laid-back feel, which complements the calm creek view, where you might spot see manatees milling about. phillippi creek oyster bar

the people  Locals on lunch dates; vacationing families soaking up an Old Florida experience. time factor  The Creek can get hopping, especially in season, so budget at least an hour to kick back and enjoy yourself. the food The big menu features all of your seafood

favorites, of course, like fish and chips, crab cakes and grouper sandwiches, plus the oyster bar’s requisite oysters on the half shell. But the Creek also ups the ante with more creative fare like a Calypso salmon salad with chickpeas and plantains, or the Maui seafood stir fry served over jasmine rice. Keep an eye out for innovative seasonal specials, too.


North PortBradentonSarasota MSA ranking out of 389 metro areas in the U.S. as best place to start a business. SOURCE: CNBC Metro 20: America’s Best Place to Start a Business, Aug. 2016

5353 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota  /  (941) 925-4444  /  creekseafood.com




Properties Top sales, deals and producers in our 2016 Real Estate Awards. By Kevin Allen

Especially in Southwest Florida, real estate confers wealth and power. What properties are trading hands, who’s selling and buying (lots of out-of-town investors this year) and what they’re paying are big news and an important barometer of our market’s growth and health. We dug through the archives and interviewed dozens of real estate experts to find the year’s biggest sales, game-changing construction projects, major players, superstar agents and top trends to tell the tale of real estate in the 941.

Top Sale RESIDENTIAL The Year of the Apartment Complex

ParkCrest Landings Bradenton, $75 million —In August, Passco Companies, a California-based real estate investment company, bought ParkCrest Landings, a 400-unit multifamily complex off State Road 64 in Bradenton, for $75 million. It capped off a busy year for apartment complex sales. In January, New York-based real estate investment company Bluerock Residential Growth REIT Inc. partnered with the Carroll Organization to purchase the 320-unit Citation Club Apartments in Palmer Ranch for $39.25 million. The complex was rebranded and renamed ARIUM on Palmer Ranch. Just a month before that, a California investment firm bought the 340-unit Vista at Palma Sola in Bradenton for $43 million. December also saw the sale of the Yacht Club at Heritage Harbour. Massachusetts outfit Northland Investment Corp. bought the 392-unit Bradenton complex for $70.5 million.

Bradenton’s 400-unit ParkCrest Landings topped apartment complex sales.



Top Sale

Top Sale

Top Sale

RETAIL Publix Goes Shopping

OFFICE BUILDING Banking on Downtown Sarasota

LAND ONLY It Takes a Village

Bayshore Gardens Shopping Center

BMO Harris Plaza

Placida Land

Sarasota, $23 million —In July, Ian Black Real Estate facilitated the sale of the BMO Harris plaza, the 11-story, 128,000-squarefoot office tower located at 240 S. Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota. New York-based investment group Belle Amie Anthem Realty LLC purchased the property for $23 million. Ian Black Real Estate handled the listing on the buyer and seller side, with agent Michele Fuller, a partner with the firm, introducing the property to the buyer. Jag Grewal and Jorge Portela represented the seller. Fuller says the sale “signifies the strength of our market,” showing “that outside investors were willing to come here.” At the time of sale, the building boasted a 95 percent occupancy rate, with tenants including Brown & Brown Insurance, Allegiant Partners and Insula Properties.

$20.6 million, 30 acres —In one of the largest—and most unusual—land deals in recent history, the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association purchased 30 acres of waterfront property in Placida (which is in the 941 area code) at the entrance to the Boca Grande Causeway in Charlotte County. Jag Grewal of Ian Black Real Estate represented the seller, Boca Norte LLC, in the cash deal, in which more than 1,100 residents and GCIA members contributed the funds necessary to purchase the tract. Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International served as the seller’s agent. The association plans to demolish the structures on the property and protect it as a habitat for birds, animals and marine life in perpetuity. It took just a few months for the group’s 1,100plus contributors, many of whom

Bradenton, $42 million —In July, Publix continued its Southwest Florida spending spree with a $42 million purchase of 19.5 acres from Bay Gard Ltd. The deal gave Publix four parcels in the 6100 block of 14th Street West in Bradenton, comprising the Bayshore Gardens shopping center. Those parcels house Target, TJ Maxx and H&R Block, among several other tenants. The 59-year-old shopping center was redeveloped in the early 1990s when a movie theater on the property was torn down. Publix added the Bayshore Gardens Shopping Center to the $86 million of land deals it made in 2014 and 2015 in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

opposite page, top: shutterstock. Bottom: Everett Dennison This page: Everett Dennison

BMO Harris Plaza was purchased by a New York investment group.

N o V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6


2016 Real Estate Awards are deep-pocketed Boca Grande residents who made multimilliondollar donations, to raise the necessary funds. Top Sales INDUSTRIAL The eight-month flip

—This property—the former Venice Chrysler lot—on South Tamiami Trail on the island of Venice just south of Center Road sold for around $4.3 million, notable since it was sold in 2015 for $2.3 million. The previous owner, investor Joe Collins of Casey Key, seems to have made $2 million in roughly eight months. The new buyer is a Texas company called Cross Development.


Sarasota Herald-Tribune —The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s decision to move its headquarters this year was notable for the iconic building it would be leaving behind. When it opened in 2005, the Herald-


Westfield Southgate Mall gets a facelift and new tenants.


Tribune’s modern headquarters, designed by Miami-based global firm Arquitectonica, reflected a boom time in real estate and complementary skyrocketing ad sales. But times change, and after a series of cost-cutting measures and layoffs, the Herald-Tribune’s latest owner, New York-based Gatehouse Media, hired Bell Tenant Champions to help search for a new headquarters. They needed only to look next door. The HeraldTribune’s 110 employees will occupy the fourth, fifth and ninth floors of the much less remarkable SunTrust bank building.

Westfield Southgate Mall —The departure of most of its upscale tenants like Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and Saks Fifth Avenue two years ago for the new Mall at University Town Center dealt a big blow to venerable old Westfield Southgate. Westfield is fighting back with its revitalized “lifestyle center” concept—first, with a flurry of interior upgrades and a host of new

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is hopping from its modern headquarters (below) to the SunTrust next door.


The $21 million Siesta Key Public Beach pavilion is finally finished.

opposite page, top: westfield. Bottom: Everett Dennison This page, top: courtesy sweet sparkman architects. Bottom: courtesy Benderson development

retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, then the upscale CineBistro cinema/restaurant complex that opened last spring, and now with construction on several new restaurants at the northwest corner of Siesta Drive and Tamiami Trail. A CycleBar indoor cycling gym will join the mix later this year, as will a branch of LA Fitness, heading to the old Dillard’s location. TOP CIVIC PROJECT


Wells Fargo Advisors Building —After it purchased Sarasota’s 13-story Ellis Building at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue, Benderson Development Co. turned to Solstice Planning and Architecture to reignite one of downtown Sarasota’s most visible buildings. The renamed Wells Fargo building has since seen a complete

overhaul of its façade and a new entryway. The renovation was enough to lure Michael Saunders & Company to relocate its downtown sales center to the building’s first floor. It joins Synovus Bank and Orangetheory Fitness, which also recently moved there.

Benderson Development’s renovated Wells Fargo building.

Siesta Key Public Beach —After nearly 10 years of planning, two years of construction and more than $21 million in public money, the recently completed redesign of the Siesta Key Public Beach pavilion, parking lot and entryway has elevated America’s No. 1 beach into one of the all-time great community parks. Kudos to Sweet Sparkman Architects for the broad, paved pedestrian esplanade; elevated concession stand (an outstanding spot to watch the sunset); nifty geometric concrete picnic shelters; and dramatic cantilevered beach pavilion that adjoins the original 1960 pavilion designed by architect Tim Seibert. N o V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6



Vue Sarasota Bay/Westin Sarasota —The Kolter Group’s massive $120-million Vue Sarasota Bay, the 141-unit residential tower, and its neighboring 255-room Westin hotel, have created a firestorm of controversy. Located on the critical corner of Tamiami Trail and Gulf Stream Avenue, The Vue has Sarasotans questioning the city’s planning process and spurred the launch of STOP, a group that wants less administrative approval and more citizen input on new projects. With condos listed as high as $3.4 million, affordable housing this is not. The project was originally slated for completion in late 2016, but it looks like we’ll be well into 2017 before residents will start moving in. TOP ROAD PROJECT

Diamond Interchange at I-75 and University Parkway —Given fast-track funding by Gov. Rick Scott, the $74.5 million diverging diamond interchange (DDI) now under construction at I-75 and University Parkway is causing traf-

The massive Vue Sarasota Bay TOP BRIDGE BUILDER

fic jams at the moment, but when it’s finished in September 2017, it should alleviate gridlock at one of Sarasota’s busiest commercial corridors. The construction deadline for the fancy DDI—the first in Florida—is tight. The World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park, which is situated at that intersection, starts Sept. 24 and is expected to bring in thousands of athletes, their families and spectators.

Fort Hamer Bridge Project —The $32.69 million Fort Hamer Bridge will be only 2,300 feet long when completed in 2017, but its impact as a catalyst for growth in northeast Manatee County will be mighty. The two-lane bridge will provide a new and muchneeded north-south corridor across the Manatee River, and will link Lakewood Ranch to Parrish. It’s set to open sometime next summer.

This page, top: kolter group. Bottom: courtesy FDI, FDOT opposite page, top: machado silvetti. Bottom: Everett Dennison

The $74.5 million diverging diamond interchange




Whitfield Warehouse Project —The warehouse at 2651 Whitfield Ave. was in rough shape when Raynat Properties of Sarasota purchased this bank-owned property for $645,000 in February 2015. Keller Williams Realty of Manatee served as the listing agent for the property, which has a 25,000-squarefoot warehouse on 2.5 acres. Raynat investor Ray Gibson, who also works as a commercial real estate agent for Preferred Commercial Inc., did a major overhaul of the property in 2016, according to Preferred Commercial owner Carl Wise, the buyer’s broker. “[It was] an amazing amount of work, not counting the electrical and air-conditioning replacement.” The warehouse is now leased to Tile and Stone of Italy.

of the Ringling complex. Boston’s Machado Silvetti architectural firm designed the “jewel box,” which contains gallery space for The Ringling’s burgeoning Asian art collection, a multipurpose lecture hall and study rooms for researchers and students.



Center for Asian Art at the Ringling Museum —World-class contemporary architecture came to The Ringling earlier this year in the form of the $10 million Center for Asian Art. The 7,500-squarefoot building, clad in more than 3,000 custom-designed glazed jade-green terra cotta tiles, stands in striking—and yet somehow harmonious— contrast to the rest

N o V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6

The $10 million Center for Asian Art at The Ringling opened this year.

Main Plaza —East Main Street is due for a facelift, and this underused 8.5-acre cinema/mall property could be the catalyst. A group that includes local entrepreneurs

Jesse Biter, Eric Baird and David Chessler purchased it in 2015 for $18.1 million. Longtime tenant the Sarasota Family YMCA is already out (to the dismay of its devotees), and the Hollywood 20 movie complex’s lease will be up in May 2017. Skeptics point out that the building has a strange configuration and might need a teardown. But the new owners are saying upgrades will happen, taking place in phases, including added retail and a refurbished Hollywood 20.

Struggling Main Plaza needs a redo.


2016 Real Estate Awards COOLEST APARTMENTS

One Palm —Sarasota’s downtown apartment boom took off with the January opening of One Palm, the 10-story, 141-apartment complex on Palm Avenue and Ringling Boulevard. With its rooftop pool and bar, cyber café, fitness center and a location on one of the prettiest corners of Sarasota—plus its close proximity to the Aloft Hotel, the waterfront and downtown restaurants and clubs— it leased immediately and has a long waiting list. Next up: The DeSota by Atlanta-based developer Carter. It’s a 10-story, 180-unit luxury apartment building that will include 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on Second Street just north

of Whole Foods. Completion is expected in 2017. BEST PARK PROJECT

condition that it would be turned into a park. It has the potential to become a recreation hub for the nearby Plantation community.

Tuscano Park


—Major changes are coming to this county-owned 11-acre park in Venice. A $13.5 million investment will bring increased parking and new playgrounds, bathrooms and pavilion. Future phases will see new trails in the park, an amphitheater hill and lighted multi-use fields. Tuscano Park, which is located at the intersection of Taylor Ranch Trail and Tamiami Trail near Taylor Ranch Elementary, sits on land that was gifted to the county under the

SpringHill Suites —In 2017, expect to see one of Marriott’s SpringHill Suites hotels rise at the former longtime site of the Manatee Players, opposite Bradenton City Hall. The $17 million project calls for a nine-story building with a 3,500-square-foot restaurant. It will add 120 much-needed hotel rooms in the heart of downtown Bradenton. The Manatee Players moved to the $21 million Manatee Performing Arts Center a few blocks east in 2013.

One Palm and the Aloft Hotel ushered in hip urban living this year.



The 228-apartment CitySide in the Rosemary District opens this fall. BIGGEST CULTURAL UPGRADE

opposite page: Everett Dennison This page: Everett Dennison

South Florida Museum Expansion —The South Florida Museum is expanding its footprint in downtown Bradenton. The $12 million project includes a hands-on exploration wing for children 2-8, a large multipurpose room for public programs, aquarium upgrades for Snooty the manatee and friends, plus upgrades to the planetarium and more. The added exhibition space will allow for major national exhibitions to come to Bradenton. The museum has raised nearly the entire $12 million to fund the expansion.

overlay district approved by the city of Sarasota in 2014 that allows for greater density, and despite the scores of homeless people who continue to congregate outside the nearby Salvation Army shelter. CitySide, whose 228 apartments stretch along Cocoanut Avenue from Sixth to 10th streets, is slated for occupancy this fall. It will be joined by boutique condominium projects under way like Vanguard Lofts, Risdon on 5th and the mixed-use Rosemary Square. When all eight projects are completed, city officials predict as many as 6,000 new Rosemary District residents. —ILENE DENTON



The Rosemary District


—With eight multi-family residential complexes in the works, downtown Sarasota’s long-suffering Rosemary District is finally coming into its own—thanks in large part to the

—The opening of the 138-room Aloft Hotel on Ringling Boulevard and South Palm Avenue in February started an avalanche of new downtown Sarasota hotels, with a whop-

N o V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6

ping 912 hotel rooms to open by the end of 2017. Already under construction are the Westin Hotel, part of The Vue complex at Gulfstream and Tamiami Trail; the Embassy Suites at Second Street and Tamiami Trail; and Hotel Sarasota, adjacent to the Palm Avenue parking garage. Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, says new hotels will bring new visitors, including business travelers loyal to the Aloft and Westin brands. And hotel fever has struck the island of Venice, for the first time in more than 20 years. Three hotel projects have been proposed: one on the site of the former circus arena at the island’s southern gateway, another on the site of the former Classics Steakhouse near the entrance to downtown, and a third on the site of the current U.S. Post Office at Venice Avenue and Harbor Drive. Plus, downtown Sarasota’s Hyatt Regency just sold for $75 million. 31

2016 Real Estate Awards


Bass Pro Shops —Since July 2014, it seemed like a given that Bass Pro Shop would anchor a new commercial development on the northeast corner of I-75 and Fruitville Road. This year, the deal fell apart, and Bass Pro Shops terminated the contract that would have brought an 80,000-square-foot store to the property. The land’s trustee, G. David Walters of the Walters’ Trust, told local media that plans for a mixed-use community are in the works.

Top Residential realtors Here are the 12 Realtor members of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee who have the highest sales (by dollar volume) from Sept. 1, 2015 through Aug. 31, 2016. All sales volumes are self-reported and reflect the sum of the closed sales price of every property. (The sales price was not doubled if the agent represented both buyer and seller.)

Roger Pettingell

Barbara Ackerman

Coldwell Banker Sales Volume:

$77,428,000 Top sale: $5.25 million, 1201 Hillview Drive, Sarasota. A 3,700-square-foot, classic 1950’s Paul Rudolph-designed residence called The Burnett House. Pettingell was the selling agent.

Bass Pro Shop, Brandon, Florida

Lynne Koy Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

ILENE DENTON also contributed to this story. 32

bass pro shop

Sales volume:

$51,077,062. Top sale: $4.93 million, 364 W. Royal Flamingo Drive, a bayfront, 6,289-squarefoot home on Bird Key.

Judy Kepecz-Hays

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

Amy Drake

Sales volume:

Ascentia Realty Group

$5.2-million Longboat Key bayfront home.

$69,322,000 Top sale: $2.8 million, a 3,659-square-foot, all-white, ultramodern home at 6860 Pine St. on north Longboat Key’s bayfront.

$67,972,000 Top sale: $4.25 million, a 3,940-squarefoot, fourbedroom penthouse at Aria on Longboat Key.

Bruce Myer

Stephanie Church

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Sales volume:

$69,332,753 Top sale:

Sales Volume:

Sales volume:

$50,233,750 Top sale : $6.2 million, 3331 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, a Gulf-front, five-bedroom, 5,264-square-foot home.

$38,871,865 Top sale: $7.1 million, 1204 Hillview Drive, a Clifford M. Scholz-designed home with five bedrooms on the Sarasota bayfront.

Sales volume:

Ian Addy and Gail Wittig Michael Saunders & Company Sales volume:

$38,133,700 Top sale: $5.1 million, on 9/25/2015, 901 Norsota Way, a 6,438-square-foot, five-bedroom home overlooking the bay and Ringling Bridge on Siesta Key.


Kim Ogilvie Michael Saunders & Company Sales volume:

$61,505,000 Top sale: $5.25 million, 1201 Hillview Drive, Burnett House. See Pettingell description at left. Ogilvie was the listing agent.

Jim Soda Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Sales Volume:

$54,800,324.00 Top sale: $2.53 million home in The Lake Club.

Patrick DiPinto III Ocean Real Estate LLC Sales volume:

$35,946,400 Top sale: $4.25 million, a fourbedroom Gulffront unit with a private swimming pool at Aria on Longboat Key.

N o V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6




THE CEO After building up a portfolio of prime Sarasota properties, Chris Brown keeps looking for the next investment.

The Deal Addict



Photography by Salvatore Brancifort

by David Hackett

the span of a decade, from 1994 to 2004, Chris Brown went from sleeping on the couch in his parents’ condo with less money in his bank account than he owed on his cell phone bill to owning $8 million to $10 million in Sarasota properties, from a strip mall and apartment complex to a number of homes.


Real estate investor Chris Brown on the unfinished second floor of Kress Plaza, one of his downtown Sarasota properties. NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016


THE CEO Then, in 2004, he had an epiphany: The market he had ridden so far, so fast was headed over a cliff. “I told my wife, Michele, that none of it made sense,” Brown recalls. “People were paying $20,000 for mortgages on properties that were earning only $18,000, and the banks kept lending them money. I said, ‘We have to sell everything.’ Within 90 days, we had, even our own house.” It was 2004, near the top of one of the frothiest real estate markets in Florida’s history. Flush with cash, seasoned at doing deals and in good standing with lenders, Brown capitalized on the real estate fallout of the Great Recession. Today, Brown is one of Sarasota’s most prominent real estate investors, owning prime properties in Siesta Key Village, including the iconic Beach Club, the Hub Baja Grill, the Cottage and the former Blu Smoke, which he is redeveloping. He also owns the restaurants on the properties.

“I started buying in 2005 and now have two corners of the only intersection in the village,” says Brown, who also owns the nearby Morton’s Siesta Key Market and Siesta Key Village Hardware. Now Brown is staking a claim on downtown Sarasota. His portfolio includes part of the historic Kress Building, now occupied by Fit2Run, as well the nearby Smokin’ Joes bar. He is a part owner of Indigo Hotel. And, in the past three years, Brown has assembled a rare Sarasota jewel: an entire block at 1700 Main Street, ripe for redevelopment. “I haven’t seen him make any mistakes,” says John Harshman of Harshman and Co. Inc., a downtown Sarasota commercial real estate firm. “He’s able to recognize opportunity and to accept risk. You have to be impressed with what he’s done.” Brown didn’t always buy at the bottom of the market. He bought the Beach Club and other Siesta Key properties in 2005 when prices were still rising. But he said those prices were validated because the properties were insulated by their proximity to one of the world’s most celebrated beaches. “You can’t predict peaks and valleys,” Brown says. “But you can recognize when the numbers don’t make sense. In 2004 and 2005, they didn’t make sense to me. By 2011-12, my phone was ringing off the hook with bankers trying to make deals with me. [I] turned out to be in the right place at the right time.” Brown’s Hub Baja Grill on Siesta Key.

“I turned out to be in the right place at the right time.” 36


That timing has allowed Brown to sift through the ashes of the real estate meltdown to find bargains unimaginable a decade ago. Take Mad Moe’s Sports Pub (named after Brown’s two daughters, Madison and Morgan). In the mid-2000s, the former owner invested $900,000 in building a pastry shop on the property at 106 N. Tamiami Trail in Osprey. It quickly went out of business and was on the market for years until Brown swooped it up in 2014 for $150,000, turning it into one of the most popular sports pubs in the area. He had to buy the neighboring properties just to handle the overflow parking. As with his Siesta Key restaurants, Brown is more than a property owner at Mad Moe’s. He owns the restaurant. “I work with good people who know the restaurant business,” he says. “It’s worked out well.” Downtown Sarasota offers new possibilities. He paid $1 million for the former Firestone auto care center on Main Street, about $74 a square foot, the final piece in consolidating the square block. “That was a good price for that site,” says Harshman. “I would have priced it higher.” Taken together, the 1700 Main properties could be redeveloped into 65 condos, considerable retail, a hotel or a combination of all of those things.

“I’ve been told that spot is the connector between upper and lower Main Street,” Brown says. “It’s been relatively quiet—too quiet. It has a lot of potential. Let’s just say I’m intrigued by the possibilities.”

Starting low, aiming high earing a pinstriped dress shirt with sleeves rolled to the elbows and khaki shorts, Brown looks younger than his 51 years as he slides into a booth at Patrick’s 1481 restaurant. He has an easy laugh and is self-effacing about the trappings of success, including the charcoal gray Porsche 911 parked outside on Main Street. “When I pulled into the driveway after buying that car, my wife said, ‘Chris, I’m really sorry to hear about your penis,’” Brown says, laughing. “I’m going to get rid of it soon, get an SUV.” But even in an SUV, Brown would be far from 1994, when he sold his part ownership in a Milwaukee bar and moved into the Sarasota condo owned by his mother, a former principal, and stepfather, a retired school administrator. He was 28, had gone five years to college, but was two semesters short of his degree in political science. He had $2,500 to his name. “If I had stayed in Milwaukee, I’d probably still be on a barstool like a lot of the guys I grew up with,” he says. “Florida seemed like the land of opportunity. I thought I could succeed here. I just wasn’t sure at what.”


Brown owns the 1700 block of Main Street in Sarasota, which is ripe for redevelopment. NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016



“I’m always looking for That great opportunity.” Prime Properties

Chris Brown’s acquisitions since 2005. The Beach Club live music bar, Siesta Key Village

The Hub Baja Grill

pan-Latin cuisine restaurant and bar, Siesta Key Village

The Cottage seafood restaurant, Siesta Key Village

The former restaurant Blu Smoke Island Grill which he is redeveloping, Siesta Key Village

Morton’s Siesta Key Market Canal Road, Siesta Key Village

Siesta Key Village Hardware Canal Road, Siesta Key Village

Mad Moe’s Sports Pub and Grill U.S. 41 in Osprey

1700 Main Street in downtown Sarasota, a square block that includes the Iberia Bank building, several other businesses and the former Firestone auto repair center. Zoning allows up to 65 condos.

Smokin’ Joes 1448 Main St., downtown Sarasota.

Part of the Kress Building and addition at Five Points on Main Street, which includes the Fit2Run store

The Indigo Hotel 1223 Boulevard of the Arts (Brown is a part owner in this.) 38

Brown got a job wholesaling cars, which involved buying used vehicles from one dealer and selling them to another. It was during the early days of mobile phones, when they were the size of bricks. Brown was on the road so much and talked so incessantly that he ran up a $3,500 monthly bill on his Motorola, $1,500 more than he made that month. “I had a lot of anxiety,” Brown recalls. “I remember coming back down I-75 from Fort Myers one afternoon after not being able to buy a single car. I was driving an old Mercedes that the company let me use. It was barely running. I was broke, sleeping on my mom’s couch. It was the lowest time of my life.” But by the end of that week, Brown sold a car, pocketing $150. Other sales followed. Working seven days a week, he soon became so adept that Firkins Automotive hired him to manage its inventory control for two of its dealerships. On the road all day looking at cars, Brown also had opportunities to scout real estate. He cobbled together his savings, borrowed from his parents and bought a four-plex near Point of Rocks on Siesta Key for $330,000 and moved into one of the apartments. Rent from the other three units allowed him to pay his mortgage and save his salary to buy more property. The real estate market was heating up, and Brown flipped 30 homes, apartment buildings and a strip mall on the South Trail, all while still working for Firkins. He estimates that he doubled his investment. ”I was working nonstop,” he says. “I’d run up 6,000 to 8,000 minutes a month on my cell phone.” It was all going beyond his wildest dreams until Brown sensed the market was about to crumble. When Brown decided to liquidate in the spring of 2004, he did not start looking for another career. He kept looking for properties. “I knew then, I was a deal addict,” he says. “I still am. I’m always looking for that great opportunity. I’ve slowed down some, but it’s still fun and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”


Smokin’ Joes bar is another one of Brown’s tenants in Kress Plaza.

Brown has an office on Siesta Key, but most of the day he is still on the road, working out of his Porsche. “I don’t want to buy everything,” he says. “What I want is the best properties in the absolute best locations. I want the kind of properties that if you ever got in trouble, there would be 10 people standing in line waiting to bail you out.”

An advocate for density hris Brown’s ascent has not come without bruises. Between 2007 and 2011, he sued Sarasota County three times over disputes about parking for businesses on Siesta Key. The county settled all three suits, but the legal actions cost Brown far more than he won in settlements and delayed opening one of his restaurants. It also led to bruising battles with former County Commission chair Nora Patterson and Lourdes Ramirez, former president of the Siesta Key Association. “A win is never truly a win in those situations,” Brown says. “It cost me.” At their heart, Brown says, the battles were philosophical, pitting two views about how the area should evolve against each other. His critics contended that Siesta Key was already congested, and expanding parking, as Brown sought, would worsen the problem. Brown sees density as inevitable and, done right, better than sprawl. “You’re not going to be able to stop growth; you have to manage it,” he says. “On Siesta, it’s time to look at a boutique hotel, a parking structure.


NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016

Look at what Sanibel and Marco [islands] are doing, the revenue and jobs they are creating. It’s September and the 600 rooms at the Marriott on Marco are all booked. We should be getting that conference business. But we need the facilities to get them.” Brown has made peace with the Sarasota County Commission, which he says has made a “180-degree turn” under new leadership. “It’s a more honest commission, one that isn’t so quick to say, ‘No,’” he says. “They’re listening to their staff’s recommendations.” Now, moving downtown, Brown needs to learn a whole new set of players and rules at the Sarasota City Commission. As he walks through the empty second floor above Fit2Run, Brown looks out the window overlooking Main Street. The view, even through dusty windows, offers a commanding sight of busy Five Points, contrasting with the stripped floors and barren walls. “That’s the money shot,” Brown says. “I have to figure out what to do with it, but the potential is incredible if the city will just have some imagination and foresight.” That’s not his only concern. Soaring real estate prices are starting to make Brown nervous, not sell-everything-nervous like 2004, but concerned. “It’s become fairly frothy, especially for the right locations,” he says. “But we’re still seeing 50 percent of buyers paying cash. That makes me want to explore more. Are they really paying cash or are they borrowing from somewhere else? I don’t know the answer.” π


by Sylvia Whitman Nobody we know starts

Pennywise tax strategies for the a business because they love parsing the end of 2016 tax code and keeping records. Oh, wait—except accountants. We called several of these local experts and compiled a list of year-end and the start tax strategies to help small businesses manage taxes in 2016 and prepare for the year ahead. This tip list may save you money and of 2017. time, and even make your tax prep work—dare we say it—fun. Illustrations by Victor Juhasz


Go Shopping and Depreciate

Want to save money? Spend money, says Aubrey Lynch, a principal with CS&L CPAS. Only she didn’t phrase it quite that way. She did suggest looking into Section 179. Usually when you buy bigger-ticket items, you have to expense the cost over several years—a dribble of a deduction. As long as you have enough income (there’s always a hitch, isn’t there?), Section 179 allows you to lop off up to $500,000 in fixed asset purchases (new and used) in 2016—a veritable waterfall of accelerated depreciation. So if you’re planning to buy a used truck for your land-


scaping business or off-the-shelf software for your design studio within the next year, consider doing it before the corks pop on Dec. 31. Almost as rewarding is a related accelerated depreciation provision, 168(k), nicknamed bonus depreciation. You can immediately expense 50 percent of the cost of additional new qualifying business property—even if it generates a loss— which will help you offset other income. Let’s say you laid out $600,000 on your design studio, and your income allows you to deduct $350,000 under Section 179. And let’s imagine you spent the remaining $250,000 on appropriate new goodies. Bonus depreciation may allow you to deduct an additional $125,000. The final $125,000 you can depreciate over time. Section 179 is the Santa Claus of the tax code. Just remember that those bureaucrats in Washington love to keep taxpayers guessing. The PATH (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) Act of 2015 enshrined the expansion of Section 179 as a “permanent extension,” but bonus depreciation, which nearly got the axe, will begin phasing out after this year, down to 30 percent by 2019. So gather ye rosebuds while ye may. And check with your accountant before you head to the car dealership, reminds Brian McGinn, CPA, of Complete Small Business Solutions in Sarasota. Responding to the Hummer craze of the 1990s, the tax code places special limitations on business SUV deductions.



Travel for Business

Flight cancellations, PowerPoint presentations and the cheese Danish diskettes in hotel continental breakfasts have given business travel a bad rap. But consider an edifying business trip outside the United States in November or December, suggests McGinn. “I’ve had architects who have traveled to Italy to view the historic architecture. It’s entirely and directly related to their industry and refreshes their ideas,” he says. The IRS bloodhounds are sniffing for potential abuse, of course, but as long as the purpose of your travel is work, not vacation, a few days of learning in a foreign culture can “give you some tax benefit and allow you to provide better service and clear your head about your business and your direction,” McGinn says. “Make your business fun, so that you enjoy what you’re doing,” he advises. If it involves travel, so much the better. “Whatever is ordinary, necessary and not extravagant could be a business deduction,” he says.

Look for Tax Credits and Get Credit Too many small businesses miss out on tax credits, says Lynch, which are strewn across the tax code like Pokémon—so GO find them. “A credit is so much better than a deduction,” Lynch says, “and many people qualify but just overlook this.” Unlike a deduction, which can lower taxable income and lighten your bill by a percentage, a credit reduces your taxes dollar for dollar. Farmers, for instance, may be eligible for a fuel credit. Employers who hire ex-cons, unemployed veterans and people with disabilities fresh out of vocational rehab can claim a Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), restaurant owners must pay the employer share of taxes on tips, even though those tips go straight into the pockets of their

N O V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6

employees. So restaurateurs may file for a FICA tax credit through Form 8846. It’s complex, so don’t try this at home by yourself. However, “I have yet to find a restaurant that doesn’t qualify for that credit,” Lynch says. With credits, you can do right by your employees and shear your tax bill. Really small businesses (fewer than 25 modest-wage employees) that comply with the Affordable Care Act can earn a tax credit up to 50 percent of the employer contribution toward premiums for two consecutive years, says Lynch. Taking care of your staff can lead to deductions and a different kind of “credit.” Wow workers with your good intentions, even before you pony up, by establishing a retirement plan for employees, including for yourself if you’re self-employed, says McGinn. Set up certain 401K plans with a profit-sharing element by year’s end to qualify for a tax deduction or deferral, and then you can wait to fund the plans until you file your return in 2017. “There’s a litany of tax advantages,” says McGinn.



Collect Your Receipts Linda Lindsay, of LLJ Accounting in Sarasota, has

a large proportion of entertainers and circus workers among her clientele. Like most accountants, she gives all her customers a New Year’s planner. She also shoots them an Excel spreadsheet with orders to write down year-beginning (and 12 months later, year-end) mileage as well as every donation and expense—travel, lodging, gas, props, costumes, makeup, hair styling. “Most entertainers just don’t have the time to do this on the road, so I tell them to put every receipt in a shoebox under their seat,” she says. Once home, they can enter the figures on the computer. “It’s not fun if they don’t use the sheet,” she confesses. “It’s like digging in the dirt.” In a variation on the shoebox, McGinn urges clients to keep folders on their daily f light path—at the house, at the office, in the car. A credit card statement is not sufficient documentation. “Say I charge $150 at a Walmart Supercenter, and I don’t keep the receipt,” he says. “How does the IRS know that I’m not buying a TV or groceries or a tent for my Scout troop?” Better yet, go digital, McGinn suggests. Snap a photo of the receipt, which you may be able to sync with your bookkeeping software. (Save your emails while you’re at it, he advises.) Apps like Genius Scan, for example, allow you to take a photo of your receipt, which is automatically turned into a PDF. You can send or save this PDF to another app like Box, iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive or any other email app, so you never have to worry about tracking down receipts. Better record keeping is the No. 1 New Year’s resolution accountants would like to make for you. Small business owners often tell Lynch they’re too busy concentrating on operations to track income and outlay. “But [record keeping] saves you so much heartache,” she says.



Meet with Your Accountant

The end of the year is a great time to meet with your accountant and avert problems. You can meet your Affordable Care Act obligations, avoiding large penalties, says Lynch. You can get an accurate handle on yearly income and make sure you’ve paid in enough estimated tax. You can review your insurance and buy more coverage if you need it, adds Lindsay. And you can go crawling to the IRS, if need be. “If you’ve received a letter from the IRS, address it,” urges Pearl Perla, CPA, who teaches bookkeeping and tax classes for the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) based at the University of South Florida’s MUMA College of Business in Tampa. Many of her clients have discovered “kinder, gentler” IRS agents, at least on a second or third call to the agency. If you’re not satisfied, she recommends the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, “like an ombudsman,” that guarantees movement forward on your issue within 30 days. As McGinn points out, many accountants are small business people, too. And they have a stake in your success.


But accountants need to get to know you. When CPA Lea Graf of Sterling Tax & Accounting in Sarasota learned that a photography client had to order food to work through lunch on a shoot, she was able to deduct 100 percent for business meals. If you keep manufacturing or construction in the U.S. rather than overseas, for instance, you may qualify for the Domestic Production Activities Deduction—“one of the instances where taxpayers can take a deduction without actually spending any money,” says Graf. “You should have an adviser that you like,” she continues. “Then your meetings can be about planning for the future.” “The only fun part of taxes is when you don’t owe any, and the only way you don’t owe any is you haven’t made any money,” reasons Perla. “So as long as you’ve done your due diligence and paid up, you have to rejoice and celebrate that you’re doing well in business.” ■

No, No, No Local accountants (and their clients) give us the Not-To-Do list. Beware, Pierre: As local businesses become more global, they need to track international dealings, even in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, warns Lynch. One IRS gotcha is failure to disclose foreign assets, pensions, bank accounts, partnerships and the like. Penalties can run a minimum of $10,000 per occurrence. Ka-ching!

Seeing Double: One of Lindsay’s clients efiled for an extension on Tax Day, and the form bounced back. Turns out an identity thief had already submitted a false return under the client’s name and collected the refund. With this type of fraud on the rise, even procrastinators can outwit thieves by filing early for extensions. High Jinks Ahead: In part to stem identity theft, the IRS has moved up deadlines for 11 different forms, such as 1099s and W-2s. Tax specialists are dreading the crunch. “Your accountant would appreciate an extra bottle of Maalox on Jan. 31,” says McGinn. “Or I’d love it if somebody would send over a chair massage or maybe one of those St. Bernards with a barrel on his collar.”

Sorry, Charlie: In business, as in comedy, timing is everything. A whiff of knowledge compounds the potential for a f lop. One local client heard (not from his accountant) that if he sold business assets, he could avoid a tax on the profit through a “like-kind” exchange. Indeed, Section 1031 allows you to defer paying tax on such a gain, but only if you reinvest promptly. The client sold some real estate at a price that made him smile, but because he didn’t identify the replacement property within the required 45 days, he couldn’t defer the tax. The IRS had the last laugh.

N O V e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6


Cott ge Industry

Checking into the region’s home-sharing vacation rental economy.


Su Byron

photography by

Salvatore brancifort

F Like many retirees, Elizabeth and Richard Martin make extra cash on Airbnb.


ormer Sarasota mayor Richard Martin and his wife, Elizabeth, live in a small fourplex they own near Ringling College of Art and Design. For years, they rented out the two-bedroom apartment in the fourplex on an annual lease. When their long-term tenants left, they listed the apartment on the online vacation rental marketplaces Airbnb and HomeAway.


Switching to a vacation rental model has doubled their annual rental income, Martin says. This year, their apartment—which rents for $100-$125 nightly or $750-$950 weekly, depending on the time of year—is 100 percent booked during peak season, January through March, and 80 percent in the off-season. “We used Airbnb for the first time while traveling in Vermont and had wonderful stays with great people. We decided to go for it, and we haven’t looked back,” says Martin. “Airbnb has allowed us to live more comfortably in retirement.” Retirees like the Martins are part of the fastest-growing demographic of Airbnb hosts in the U.S., according to a 2015 Airbnb study, but they aren’t the only people deciding

hosts and 1,228 listings in Sarasota and Manatee. Sarasota’s Kimberly Martinez, CEO of Bonitas International and the mother of three school-aged children, is another one of those hosts. In May 2015, Martinez purchased a house in the Gulf Gate area with two attached rental units. Income was the goal. “Mortgage rates were super low at the time,” she says. “I jumped at the chance. It was a no-brainer.” After renovating, Martinez listed the two rental units through Airbnb and HomeAway, ranging from $169 a night for a one-bedroom unit to $229 for two bedrooms. Within months, both units were 80 percent booked for the season. She also rents her three-bedroom house for $400 a night when she and the kids enjoy

Hotels vs. Homes Hotels are feeling the competition. Airbnb demand is approaching 10 percent of hotel demand in many U.S. markets, according to a 2016 report by global hotel consultant CBRE Hotels. In downtown Sarasota alone, five hotels are being built and three more are in the planning stages for a total of approximately 1,300 more hotel rooms, which only adds to competition for vacationers for existing hotels. David Rubinfeld, the owner of Turtle Beach Resort & Inn on Siesta Key, says the competition with Airbnb and the other peerto-peer rental platforms has hurt his business. “We’ve lost almost 100 percent of our long-term [two weeks and more] clients,” he says.

Booking Into the Future $100 billion – Amount the vacation rental industry is said to be worth globally, with the U.S. accounting for a quarter of that 60 million – Number of vacation renters on Airbnb, the largest global online rental platform

to rent out a room or a home in the new sharing economy. Airbnb’s global inventory has increased to nearly 2.3 million since it was founded in 2007. More than 750,000 people used Airbnb’s platform to book Florida vacation rentals in 2015, a 149 percent increase from 2014. More than 16,000 Floridians rented their homes or rooms through Airbnb in 2015, earning the typical host upwards of $7,000 annually. Airbnb tracker Airdna lists 759 active NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016

extended vacations. After only six months, Martinez earned enough rental income to purchase another property with two more rental units, and today she says she’s earning six figures a year from her rentals. “This is a real business and I’m good at it,” she says. As Michael O’Neil, Airbnb’s regional head of public policy, says, “Home sharing is creating economic opportunity for thousands of Floridians.”

24% – Percentage of leisure travelers who have stayed in a vacation home rental in the past two years, according to the Vacation Rental Managers Association 47% – Percentage of leisure travelers who plan to stay in a vacation home rental over the next two years

Source: Vacation Rental Managers Association

The Martins’ rental property on Whitaker Bayou in North Sarasota.

2.3 million – Number of Airbnb listings worldwide (Competitor HomeAway reports 1 million listings)


COTTAGE Industry

Kim Martinez makes six figures annually from her rentals.

“Airbnb is turning consumers into travelers and explorers.” “It’s a price and size factor. We get cancellations all the time now from people who tell us they are renting a four-bedroom house for the winter for a fraction of the cost that they would spend here. They can even invite their friends and share in that cost. I can’t compete with that.

Look at Anna Maria Island. It’s turned into one big hotel. People are buying homes all over [Siesta Key] as business investments.” The vacation market is changing, agrees Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County. And yet, the impact of vacation home sharing isn’t

Martinez’s beach-themed decor attracts visitors.


as damaging in Sarasota as it is in major cities. Tourism is up, Sarasota hotel occupancy rates have held steady and hotels are increasing average daily rates, she says. And, in the 941 market, hotels are accustomed to competition. Condominium rentals have long been a bigger segment of the vacation market than hotels. “Airbnb is a new channel, but not necessarily a new rental,” she says. “The bigger impact is on available housing for locals.” Sarasota has 15,430 rental units, according to the Sarasota Tax Collector’s December 2015 annual report. Of those, 7,056 were condos; less than 5,000 rooms were in hotels and motels. Of the more than $19 million in tourist development taxes from properties rented for less than six months, the majority—46 percent—came from condos, according to Sherri Smith, assistant tax collector. The hotel/ motel industry generated slightly 941CEO

Siesta Key Palms Resort owner Henry Rodriguez markets ambiance.

more than 32 percent; the rest came from single-family home rentals. Haley thinks Airbnb and other home-sharing rental platforms, while disruptive, benefit the local economy. “The bigger picture is they are turning consumers into travelers and explorers,” she says. “Airbnb and HomeAway draw visitors to Sarasota County who might not otherwise come here because of cost or lodging availability. These are often people who don’t want to stay in a typical tourist area or vacation lodging; they prefer to experience neighborhoods and local lifestyles on a more grassroots level.” Elliott Falcione, the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the tourism industry is seeing a generational shift. “Millennials prefer new experiences outside the mainstream,” he says. “These sites

The Siesta Key Palms pool and tiki hut.

allow us to reach that demographic and introduce them to the Bradenton area. As long as property owners comply with our tax office and contribute to our economy, which we know a vast majority are, we have no

issue with them and see them as a positive.” So far, Michael Saunders & Company’s vacation rental division doesn’t feel threatened, says division director Jamie Styers. Its current

“Unless you want to go the way of the dodo bird, you have to become competitive.” NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016


COTTAGE Industry

vacation inventory is 218 properties in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, and he expects that to keep growing since demand is greater than ever. “We can’t fill the amount of inquires we receive now,” he says. “People are also staying longer. Five years ago, it was common for people to stay only for 30 or 45 days during season. Today, that number has stretched to 90 days.” Styers also says there is more to renting a property than advertising. “Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway are great if you live nearby and can handle the day-to-day demands of property management,” he says. “But for those owners who want to reduce their hassle and have the marketing and property management handled for them, a full-service rental team is ideal.”

Taxing Questions Initially, the hospitality industry and tax offices worried that the new breed of vacation hosts would avoid paying their share of old-fashioned taxes on rental income—in Sarasota and Manatee that means 5 percent of the revenue from rentals of six months or less. That concern is lessening as tax collector offices around the state get better at finding who’s in the extended-stay vacation rental market. “Most people are honest,” says Smith, the deputy tax collector for Sarasota County. She adds that honest mistakes occur, and her office is working hard to educate the public. They also check up on vacation hosts, sifting through local properties on vacation rental websites and sending polite letters that tell property owners

what they owe the taxman. Manatee County does the same. But it’s not just about taxes. “You need to make sure that you can rent the property out in the first place; some properties aren’t zoned for that. You also have to comply with any condominium or deed-restricted neighborhood regulations,” says Smith. Guests need to follow the rules, too, she says. Each county has rules about firearms, noise and a whole host of issues that keep people safe and good neighbors. For Henry Rodriguez, who spent $800,000 transforming an old hotel on Siesta Key into the boutique Siesta Key Palms Resort this year, Airbnb is here to stay. “You cannot regulate disruptive technology,” he says. “Hotels don’t get it. They think they’re selling hotel rooms. My job is to create a reason for people to come to my hotel. Guests want an experience, so we’ve created a tropical oasis. Unless you want to go the way of the dodo bird, you have to become competitive.” ■

Florida Airbnb hosts average $7,000 annually from their rentals. Before You Home Share Let’s say you’ve got a great space to rent to vacationers. The new online platforms make it easy as long as you follow a few rules. “Do your homework,” says Michael Saunders rental director Jamie Styers. “Being a landlord is a serious responsibility.” Consider the costs and behind-the-scenes challenges: personality clashes, zoning changes and leaky roofs. Home sharer Kim Martinez says, “You can’t simply cash the check and


forget about it. The owner has to respond to inquiries, greet guests and keep the property well maintained.” Martinez enjoys being a host and includes a basket of gourmet food and wine, luxe linens and bathroom accessories, coupons and tickets to area cultural and recreational events—even surfboards for guests who enjoy the waves. “First and foremost, you have to want to be a host,” she says. “You can’t resent it or think it’s a chore. If you love making people happy, if

hospitality is built in your DNA, you’ve got what it takes.” For now, Martinez still rents mostly through Airbnb, but she’s also started her own rental company, Siesta Key Beach Apartments, to avoid dependency on a single entity. And, she adds, Airbnb “holds the money after the guest reserves the property and that can mean I’m not getting paid for six months. I have repeat guest business now. I have my own website. Giving that revenue away to Airbnb doesn’t make sense.”



O,ChristmasTreeS by Susan Burns

Photography by Barbara Banks

Holidays are big business for Lux-Art Silks.

Every November and December, Lux-Art Silks’ 50,000-square-foot showroom off U.S. 301 north of University Parkway is transformed into a Christmas wonderland with festive trees, decorations and holiday collectibles. The holiday season makes up 70 percent of the company’s annual retail sales, but that’s not Lux-Art’s core business. For 50 years, the Sarasota-based company has been designing, manufacturing and supplying lifelike flowers, plants, trees and accessories to the designer trade across the country and world. Lux-Art president Scott B. Brann purchased the Lux-Art’s permanent business from his botanicals are sold in mother when she 50 states and several retired in 1996 and has countries, with major grown the business to national homebuilders more than $5 million and furniture stories as in annual revenues. the largest customers. “It’s a designers’ The fastest-growing resource for the most territory is the Dallas botanically correct market. lifelike permanent botanicals,” he says. π 50

Lux-Art employs 23 people, including 10 full-time designers. Twenty-five national sales reps sell the products around the country. 941CEO

Most of the 3,000 designs of silk polyester-blend botanicals are handmade and hand-painted in China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand factories. Lux-Art is a direct importer, and Scott Brann visits each factory annually. All products are designed and assembled in the Sarasota headquarters.

Christmas orders are placed in January. It takes 12 employees two weeks to decorate the showrooms.

Lux-Art’s Sarasota headquarters includes a manufacturing facility, showroom and warehouse. It also has trade showrooms in High Point, North Carolina, and Dallas.








Sarasota’s most inspiring evening, our first annual GeneroCity is dedicated to shining a light on the nonprofit organizations making Sarasota-Manatee more prosperous, beautiful, healthful and sustainable—in a word, better—for all our citizens.




TICKETS: $40 each | Young Professionals $25 sarasotamagazine.com/generocity


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RASM Commercial Investment Division Whether you’re a CEO of a growing company or a project manager tasked with finding a new facility, locating new office space is a daunting task.

What do you do? Where do you start?

Your first instinct is to turn to the internet. But Google “office space Sarasota” and over half a million websites pop up: Craigslist, Loopnet, Cityfeet, Rofo, Oodle, etc. You don’t have time to navigate these endless options. Your time would be much better spent on your core business operations—doing what you do best. The Commercial Investment Division (CID) members of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) hope you’ll call them for your next move. This is what they do best: Find the best commercial real estate for you to purchase or lease.

NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016


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Why use a RASM CID member for your

commercial real estate transaction?

Even if you manage to find the right property on the internet, call agents and organize property viewings on your own, there’s still so much more work to do. Finding a property you like is only one-fourth of the process. Once you find a potential property, these questions remain:  Do you have the time or the knowledge to properly analyze it?  Are you aware of recent sale prices or what the lease price should be?  Is it a net or gross lease, and what is CAM (Common Area Maintenance)?  Are you aware you have to pay sales tax in Florida on commercial leases?  What are the benefits of owning versus leasing and vice versa?  Are you adept at negotiation?  How can you get to the price you need or get the improvements to the property that you want?  Does “no” really mean “no”?

CID Realtors® gathered at the 2015 Annual Golf Tournament.

What is the RASM CID?

The Commercial Investment Division (CID) is a sub-board of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota & Manatee. All CID members are members of the Realtor® Association and many have earned the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation, the highest level of commercial real estate education offered through the Realtor® Association. Being a Realtor®

means being held to a higher standard through cooperation with other Realtors® and adhering to the Realtor® Code of Ethics. When you hire a Realtor®, you’re already working with someone who takes their career more seriously and professionally. The CID takes this one step further with its commercial real estate practitioners. The CID’s mission statement is, “To be the leader in our marketplace through education, communications and business development.”


sions where members gather to promote


new listings and scout properties for their buyers or tenants; business partners can also attend these gatherings to promote their businesses to the Realtors®. The CID is also involved in the community by hosting an annual golf tournament that donates 100 percent of proceeds to a local charity. 54



ing opportunities and weekly pitch ses-


The division does this by holding monthly educational meetings, network-

Closing the deal can take great effort and requires business acumen as well as creativity. Often, getting the contract signed is the easy part. The loan, appraisal, survey, inspection and last-minute twists— these issues are where RASM CID members earn their commissions. Best of all, having a CID agent represent am To u r n you in your commercial real estate lease or purchase costs nothing. Most commissions are paid by the seller or landlord. Your commercial real estate purchase or lease could be one of the biggest transactions your company makes. Go Without professional guidance, you could make any numlf nt Tourname ber of mistakes that cost your company money both now 2016

by promoting professionalism to our membership




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and in the future. As they say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When it comes to leasing versus ownership, low interest rates continue to create a strong incentive for investing in commercial real estate ownership, and CID members can help you with financial analysis. You should also consult your attorney and tax professional to get the full picture; there may be liability issues or tax consequences that sway your decision. What RASM CID members bring to the table:  Required to adhere to their Realtor Code of Ethics  Market knowledge as well as process knowledge  Experience with multiple transactions  Trained in negotiation skills, which have been honed through experience  Will be your advocate during the process, representing your needs  Zero cost to you, the purchaser or lessee

2015 CID Golf Tournament


Commercial Real Estate update Retail real estate continues to be in high demand

Where to Start The RASM CID’s commercial information exchange

in Southwest Florida, and rental rates and prices have risen sharply. Office



properties are still our market’s bread and butter. While the industrial market has tightened up

My Florida Commercial Real Estate, MFCRE.com, is the pre-

over the past few years

eminent website for commercial real estate in Manatee,


Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

ects, the office market

Several years ago, the CID leaders created their own internet-based commercial real estate infor mation exchange system to share listings, property data and sales/leasing comparables with each other. That system is now open and viewable by the public at MFCRE.com.




also has improved with decreased vacancy and increased rental rates.

TONY Veldkamp 2016 CID President

But there are still plenty of options to choose from when looking for a new home for your business.

The website features more than 1,800 local CRE list-

Whether you’re looking to lease, buy or sell, the

ings and 254 commercial real estate professionals. There,

commercial real estate practitioners and members of

you can search for properties that are for lease and for sale,

the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee

and you can also locate a CID member who can assist you.

Commercial Investment Division are standing by to help you do what you do best, by doing what they do best.



COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST Proud to be a board member of the Commercial Investment Division Living, working and playing in SRQ Top producing associate in 2015 for MS&C Commercial Division

SUSANGOLDSTEIN 941.350.9747 or 941.907.9595 susan@srqgold.com

michaelsaunders.com/commercial | 100 South Washington Boulevard | Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941.957.3730

Rico Boeras −Broker


“With more than $100 million in closed transactions and nearly 20 years of experience, I get the job done!”

Sherri Coble −Realtor


“My mission is to provide exceptional service, knowledge and guidance throughout your real estate transaction.”

Is it the time to find a new home for your business? SVN Commercial Advisory Group is a proud member of the Commercial Investment Division of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota & Manatee.

Call one of our very qualified commercial Real Estate Advisors today. National Power, Local Expertise

Sales • Leasing • Property Management

1718 Main St. Suite 201, Sarasota, FL 34236

Office 941-677-5250

www.sarasotacommercialrealty.net NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016

1626 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 500 Sarasota • (941) 387-1200 1401 Manatee Avenue West, Suite 950 Bradenton • (941) 747-7887



Only 8 condos remaining

Limited Office/Retail space remaining

Hembree& Associates is a premier full service real estate brokerage firm. Experts in development, sales, leasing and management of commercial real estate projects, we are extremely proud of our latest mixed use project, 1500 State Street, welcoming Sarasota Magazine, S’macks, ReMax Platinum and Optional Art. SALES & LEASING - TENANT REPRESENTATION - MARKET RESEARCH & CONSULTING Hembree & Associates was established in 1985 in Sarasota, FL, and has been family owned and operated ever since. President, Joe R. Hembree is a commercial real estate veteran with over 40 years of industry experience. Sons, Joe C. and Kyle Hembree are both licensed Commercial Real Estate Associates and Realtors, working with some of the area’s most talented commercial realtors, brokers and property managers. Our team of experts specializes in medical, office, and retail space, as well as industrial property and undeveloped land.

Walk in, Call or View Our Featured Properties & Services Online 1335 2nd Street Sarasota, FL 34236

941-951-1776 www.hembreeco.com

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Gulf Coast Builders Xchange

Join the leaders in your industry and become a member today.

Members Doing Business with Members

(941) 907-7745 AlbaniGustason@gcbx.org

Since 1952, Gulf Coast Builders Xchange (GCBX) has been serving the business needs of local building contractors and tradespeople in the commercial contracting industry. Throughout the years, we’ve been devoted to educating and advocating for our members. GCBX works with local and state officials to reduce regulation, reduce fees and create a business-friendly environment that creates a robust economy.

GCBX takes immense pride in the knowledge that its hard-working, influential members have literally built the offices, manufacturing facilities, stores, hospitals and schools that make up our community, turning countless dreams and visions into solid reality. In the process, GCBX members have provided jobs, boosted the region’s economy and given their time and resources to local charities.

GCBX provides opportunities for members to network with each other and build relationships that lead to successful business opportunities, which ultimately lead to successful projects. Decision makers and leaders in the commercial contracting industry understand that participation in these events are important to their business and make them a priority on their calendar.


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Reasons to Join



Interact with industry leaders

Education Expand your mind



Your interests are represented by experts

Make a difference in your community

Government Advocacy


Be in the Know Learn about projects first



Community Service


Decision Makers Meet with key players




Alternative and Renewable Energy • Construction Management • Land and Energy • Surveying Management • Environmental Policy • Alternative Medicine • Hospitality Management • Business Administration LEED • International Business ALIGNED • Crisis and Disaster COURSES • Aviation/Aerospace* •


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U.S. Green Building Council and Everglades University are weaving the principles of sustainability, green building, nutrition, and environmental consciousness into its undergraduate degree programs.

SARASOTA CAMPUS 866.907.2262

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Mark Freeman

Why GCBX matters to the community

v i c e P r e s i d e n t, ME&S Gener al Contr ac tor s

- Construction is an important sector in Florida’s economy. More than 21,000 people work in construction jobs in Sarasota and Manatee counties. - GCBX took the lead in the business community in updating Sarasota’s Comprehensive Plan, creating a more business-friendly community for the next decade. - GCBX took the lead in the business community to ensure that impact fees were reasonable and did not hinder future economic development. - GCBX continues to work with county staff to ensure that zoning codes and land development regulations support economic development, job creation and a vibrant community for future generations. ME&S has been a longtime member of the Gulf Coast Builders Xchange and appreciates all that it does to facilitate relationships among its members and to strengthen the construction industry in the Sarasota and Manatee area. Through GCBX, general contractors, subcontractors and related industries have a solid platform to ensure that their common voice is heard in important community political matters and governmental affairs. GCBX consistently offers activities throughout the year to appeal to and benefit its varied membership, including social, networking and educational events and programs.

By the Numbers Florida added

22,000 construction jobs between August 2015 and August 2016.


Construction worker average wage in Florida is

Florida had


Construction wages and salaries in 2014 totaled

construction firms in 2013, . of which 93 $ percent were small businesses in Florida. with fewer than 20 employees.


18.5 billion

Nonresidential spending in Florida totaled


billion in 2014.

GCBX and its local resources have helped ME&S remain a successful local commercial contractor for almost 30 years and we look forward to our continued involvement.


Engineering Possibilities Since 1982

DMK Services

Land Development

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4315 S. Access Road Englewood, FL 34224 941-475-6596

421 Commercial Ct., Suite C Venice, FL 34292 941-412-1293

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M a r t y Bl a c k G e n e r a l M a n ag e r , W e s t V i l l ag e s

Upcoming Events November 18 Sporting Clays Tournament at Knight’s Trail December 1 Holiday Social at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota January 12 New Year Networking Social at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing February 1 65th Annual Installation and Awards Dinner at Hyatt Regency Sarasota

Membership in Gulf Coast Builders Xchange gives us many ideal opportunities to interact on several levels with key members of the commercial building industry. As the developer of the master-planned community, West Villages, relationships such as these are essential for helping us to move forward and continue to stand out as the premiere community in Southwest Florida. Our involvement in GCBX has also proven to be helpful in key political activities and initiatives. We value the legislative expertise that the group provides. Together, we have a voice that is soughtout, recognized and respected. We cannot take on such tasks alone. Already, we have seen

positive results from the legislative and governmentrelations activities of GCBX. We also enjoy the exchange of ideas and insights as we learn about other important opportunities that are coming in the near future. GCBX is innovative, helpful and truly our partner. We value this membership.

Thank you to the following 4th Annual Chili Cook Off Team sponsors: Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Tandem Construction, Sutter Roofing, Waste Pro USA, Apex Consulting Engineers PL, Aqua Plumbing & Air, Enterprise Commercial Trucks, Rhyno Glass, Delta Engineering, Grapevine Communications, DM Constructors 64


STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING DESIGN & RESTORATION CONSULTANTS ...for your New Construction and Restoration/Renovation Projects!

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J e r ry S pa r k m a n a n d T o dd S w e e t Sw e e t Spa r k ma n Architects

GCBX Members: Recruit JUST ONE New Member!

What does the Just One club do for your business? • Strengthens the voice of our organization in the community to better support you and your business • Gives you access to more Members to do business with • Provides opportunities for more Member-to-Member discounts AND MORE b e c o m e a p a rt o f th e J u s t O n e C l u b t o d a y !

Jerry Sparkman and Todd Sweet

Sweet Sparkman Architects has been a proud member of the Gulf Coast Builders Xchange for over four years. GCBX has supplied our firm and the construction community with opportunities to build relationships instrumental in the procurement of important projects. The knowledge gained through the vast resources of GCBX have proven very useful. Recently, our firm was pursuing a project managed by a firsttime potential client. Executive Director Mary DoughertySlapp provided an immediate response to our questions, even though she was at an outof-town conference. She was able to guide us to an industry expert. The expert offered us valuable insight into our proposal. With the knowledge provided through GCBX, our firm successfully obtained the project against other firms who were non-GCBX members.

( 9 4 1 ) 9 0 7 -7 74 5 A l b a n i G u st a s o n @ gcbx . o rg



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2016 Board of directors

Mark Freeman, McIntyre Elwell & Strammer; Lem Sharp III, Sharp Properties, Inc.; Michael Bennett, Bright Future Steve Padgett, Fawley Bryant; Brian Leaver, Tandem Construction; Paul Stehle, 2016 GCBX Chairman, Climatic Conditioning Company; Jason Swift, Jon F. Swift Construction; Doug Sutter, Sutter Roofing Company; Mary Dougherty-Slapp, GCBX Executive Director; Bill North Jr., Hill, Barth & King, LLC; Chuck Jacobson, Aqua Plumbing & Air; John Brown, Attorney’s Title Fund Services, LLC; Jeff Charlotte, J.E. Charlotte Construction; David Karins, Karins Engineering Group, Inc.; Russ Bobbitt, Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency; Darrell Turner, Turner Tree & Landscape. (Not Pictured: Mary Forristall, Forristall Enterprises; Jack Cox, Halfacre Construction) From left: Electric;

2016 Annual Dinner


Paul Stehle, Nick Stehle

Mike and Lori Moran

Carlos Beruff, Mary Dougherty-Slapp, Sen. Bill Galvano

Kevin Hicks, Linda Hicks, Rep. Greg Steube, John Brown


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Sustainable, Imaginative and High-Performance Precast is Cool. It’s Design Freedom.

Broward County Courthouse

Homestead City Hall

Valencia College

Architectural Precast Specialists Engineering – Manufacturing – Installation www.STABILconcrete.com

Sandler provides training solutions and consulting for small- to medium-sized businesses as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies. We work with you to identify the training solution that best suits you or your organization. Our training is based on the concepts of incremental growth and change — supported by reinforcement, business coaching and accountability. Sandler has more than three decades of experience helping professionals like you grow and businesses like yours succeed. We have both the reputation and the results to prove it! If you’re looking to move up to the next level or to learn more about our various training solutions, contact Jamie Kane at (941) 907-1520 and let us know how we can help.

6371 Business Blvd. • Sarasota, FL 34240 • www.jamiekane.sandler.com

NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016


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2016 Annual Dinner


Paul Stehle, Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, Patty Stehle

Eric and Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson

Mike Allen, Manatee County Commissioner Betsy Benac, Greg Burkhart

Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer, Dee Dee Harmer, Kim French

Nancy Maio and Sarasota County Commissioner Al Maio

Rep. Bill Galvano, Betsy Benac, Mickey Poston, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston

Manatee Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett and Dee Bennett

Sen. Bill Galvano


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941.377.6800 CGC 1523455

Fully Licensed & Insured #CBC1259247


1645 Barber Road Sarasota, FL 34240



941-623-4577 NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016


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A Model for Career Training GCBX is proud to support the Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center, which opened in September 2016 as part of the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota. Created to serve youth— especially impoverished youth—the Career Resource Center bridges the gap between available local jobs and qualified candidates by holding classes and training programs for club members between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. The goal is to prepare these young people for competitive community employment

in Sarasota County and to continue their academic career at the collegiate level after high school graduation. The center is also partnering with industries and other community partners to advance the training programs that provide full-time, long-term career employment opportunities for high school graduates at the completion

of their technical training. Over 15 different GCBX member companies were involved in the planning and completion of this project. GCBX member Halfacre Construction took the lead on the building, followed by countless donations of materials and time. GCBX is Proud to Build in our community.



Full service public relations

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Check out how we can help your business grow at


Candice McElyea president of

Three Six Oh PR supports the GCBX and we are #ProudtoBuild


THREESIXOH Public Relations


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Roofs in Florida are often put to the test, which can lead to damage SINCE 1902 that needs to be repaired. Sutter Roofing can help solve your problem! We provide detailed estimates and timely service with the industry’s best warranties!

Call SUTTER ROOFING for all your roofing needs (800) 741.0090 ︱sutterroofing.com

Southern Cross Contracting, Inc.



Medical - Restaurants Educational - Industrial - Retail



Steve Johnson, President southerncrosscontracting.com Certified General Contractors CGC 025894

NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016

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941-812-3341 73

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GCBX, owned by its members, is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. W e wou l d l i k e to t h an k our 2 0 1 6 Ke y stone sponsors .

D IA M ON D S p o n s o r

Pl a t i n u m SPONSORS

GO L D S p o n s o r s

SI L VER S p o n s o r s



Fawley Bryant Architects

Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency, LLC

Adams and Reese LLP

Gulf Coast Signs of Sarasota, Inc.

Service Painting of Florida

Andersen Race Park

Karins Engineering Group Inc.

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Aqua Pluming and Air

Kast Construction

S.J. Collins Enterprises

Bright Future Electric

Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.


Climatic Conditioning Company, Inc.

McIntyre Elwell & Strammer GC, Inc.

The A.D. Morgan Corporation

Distinctive Surfaces of Florida, Inc.

Mass Mutual – Bob Blaikie

Waste Pro USA

E.T. Mackenzie of Florida, Inc.

Preferred Materials, Inc


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design, building & construction is excited to showcase the area’s top experts in

This is a must read for anyone in the market for property in Sarasota and Manatee counties. 941CEO’s top Architects and Builders section not only takes a look at major land deals, but the top brokers, biggest sales and game-changing projects. NOVEmber / DECEMber 2016


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B UI L D ER S / C ON T R ACTO R S Designing environments that reflect beauty—and harmony— with environmental values since 1997.




The Sarasota Audubon Nature Center produces more energy than it needs to operate, and is Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.


his year Carlson Studio Architecture celebrates 20 years of having the good fortune to be the architecture firm of choice for discerning, visionary clients in Florida. From the beginning, CSA has responded to demand in the market to create beautiful buildings that live in harmony with nature. CSA designed buildings have improved quality of life, productivity and reduced water and energy usage—saving building tenants money year after year. CSA designed the 2009 Green Home for HGTV and saw it raise awareness nationwide that green building can be beautiful, affordable and practical. As of this year, the firm has produced 14 high-performing projects that have met exacting third-party standards for sustainability. CSA looks forward to introducing their first international project in Helsinki, Finland. A branch office is now open in Seattle, Washington to expand their expertise in sustainable design and to 205 N. Orange Ave., Suite 202 share best practices. Sarasota, FL 34236 | (941) 362-4312

Dynamic spaces result from our thoughtful and deep integration of sustainable design principles throughout this lakefront home.

Contemporary and comfortable — buildings that care for their occupants. Let CSA design your next award-winning, green project.



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Manatee Gynecology, a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility for an all-female gynecological practice located in Bradenton, Florida.

Janie’s Garden, Phase III, Sarasota, Florida


he Janie’s Garden Phase III project provided 101,000 square feet of two-, threeand four-bedroom apartments covering a five-acre site in Sarasota, Florida. Additionally, this multi-family project included a 4,500-square-foot clubhouse/amenity center as well as a children’s playground area. The project was completed in ten months utilizing the services of local subcontractors and vendors. In fact, of the 26 different companies that were involved in the construction of the project, 22 of them are from either Sarasota or Manatee counties. Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc. (S&P) is a national award-winning construction manager and design-builder. The Florida office, located in Lakewood Ranch, provides design development, preconstruction estimating and construction management services for projects in Southwest Florida. In 2016, S&P was recognized as one of Engineering News-Record’s Top 7319 Merchant Court, Suite A 200 Contractors in America. Sarasota, FL 34240 | (941) 684-3100

Construction of a 40,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market and fuel station for WalMart in North Port, Florida.

15 acres of site development and construction of a multi-tenant retail center in Cape Coral, Florida.



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Standing back row: Brett Raymaker, Nathan Carr, Taylor Aultman, John LaCivita and Kim French. Seated front row: David Otterness, David E. Sessions (President/CEO) and Robbie Gronbach.




The Lodge-Royal Lakes Clubhouse in Lakewood Ranch. The 29,236-square-feet structure features rustic architecture that complements the club’s casual atmosphere.


illis A. Smith Construction, Inc. is a construction management firm headquartered in Lakewood Ranch, serving Southwest Florida since 1972. The company has a longstanding reputation for providing quality construction for its clients in the areas of education, healthcare, museum facilities, commercial, industrial and sustainable construction. The firm is also a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition, the U.S. Green Building Council and Sustainable Sarasota and currently has 15 LEED-accredited professionals on staff. Willis Smith Construction is well established as the regional industry leader for sustainable construction expertise. The firm’s mission statement truly expresses its strong commitment to this community: “To promote excellence and integrity in the construction industry while contributing to the betterment of our clients and the communities we serve.” Willis Smith Construction encourages a high level of employee participation in 5001 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. N. volunteer opportunities. Sarasota, FL 34240 | (941) 366-3116

The Center for Asian Art at the Ringling Museum features new art galleries, curation space, archive storage and gathering space.

The Plymouth Harbor Assisted Living/ Memory Care Facility under construction is a four-story building connecting the existing healthcare building.



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olar power offers an excellent return on investment while highlighting your company's commitment to energy security and sustainability. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, Brilliant Harvest, LLC, is a state-certified solar contractor committed to helping southwest and central Florida harness the power of the sun. Dramatically reduce your operating expenses, decrease your carbon footprint and lock in lower energy costs for years to come, while receiving a 30 percent federal tax credit on the cost of your system. Solar—it’s good business!

Solar installation for Tampa Bay Watch, Tierra Verde

Brilliant Harvest is proud to be an official Tesla Energy Authorized Reseller and Certified Installer of the Tesla Powerwall home battery.

1718 Independence Blvd. Sarasota, FL 34234 | (941) 359-3700






Cooper Family Medical is a 11,300-square-foot Caribbean-themed building

5515 21st Ave. W., Suite D, Bradenton, FL 34209 | (941) 795-2732


anasota's Construction Management team looks forward to “Enhancing your Construction Experience” with their distinctive, personalized services. Their 29 year track record in the Manatee-Sarasota market, for on time and on budget construction, gives them the experience needed for your next construction project. Manasota pays close personal attention to each project, from start to finish, through detailed attention to progress and quality control. Manasota’s success, a result of commitment to client’s needs and sound financial management, provides construction management, new construction, renovations and VP pre-engineered metal buildings.

Waterset Community Park includes pavilion, splashpad, lakeside deck and amenities for this new community to enhance their outdoor living and recreation space.





JAN.24.17 11:30 A.M. TO 1:00 P.M.


UNITY AWARDS LUNCHEON Honoring the people and companies who embrace diversity by creating an environment of equality where every person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, cultural background and experiences are valued.


Purchase Your Tickets Now UNITYAWARDS2017.EVENTBRITE.COM

T e c h T oo l s

Money management at your fingertips. ●  by Kevin Allen

Kevin Allen (@KevJosephAllen) is a Sarasota-based cloud technical evangelist for IBM, where he has worked as an editor and writer for Thoughts on Cloud and developerWorks. His articles have been published in Entrepreneur, PR Daily, the Chicago Sun-Times, ESPN, Fox Sports and many more publications.


past fall, right around the time college football season kicked off, intrepid college student Sam Crowder held up a sign during a live broadcast of ESPN’s College Game Day. Its message: “Hi Mom! Send beer money.” He followed those words with a logo for the mobile app Venmo and his user ID, SamC2270. Soon Crowder started receiving beer money, not from his mom but from complete strangers. More than 3,000 people bought the kid a beer by sending him a few bucks on Venmo. Assuming the cost of a beer is around $3, the app (and Crowder’s cleverness) netted him around $10,000. Not bad for an overhead that consisted of poster board, markers and a willingness to wake up early on a Saturday morning. Venmo is one of several helpful apps on the market that are revolutionizing the way we manage our money. Venmo lets any user pay another user for anything, anytime, anywhere. It’s exciting to think of where this mobile technology will take our wallets. And these financial apps do more than let you part with your money. There are plenty that will help you make it, save it, manage it and understand where and how you’re spending it. For the frequent shopper Soon we’ll wonder why any of us spent so much time clipping coupons.


Apps like Shopkick and Checkout 51 are helping shoppers find deals in the stores they visit most. Each of these apps has its own approach to saving the user money. Shopkick brings gamification to the shopping experience. Whenever the user visits a Shopkick-friendly retailer (like Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sephora and Starbucks, among others), he or she can check in and earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. The user can complete tasks within the store to earn extra points. Checkout 51 allows users to choose deals on grocery

items. They purchase the deal items at the store, upload their receipt, and as soon as their account reaches $20, Checkout 51 sends a $20 check. For the wise investor If you’re paying fees when you buy stocks, you’re doing it wrong. Several large investment houses will charge you up to $10 per trade. Not Robinhood. Every single trade you make with Robinhood is fee and commission free. The company makes money—likely not as much as the likes of Fidelity and TD Ameritrade—on interest from customers’ uninvested cash. Acorns is another app for novice

investors who want a convenient, lowrisk way to dip their toes in the market. You can set up Acorns to take out microinvestments from your account— it could be the leftover change on every purchase you make with your checking account rounded to the nearest dollar, for example—and it invests it in a diversified portfolio of around 7,000 stocks. For the declutterer OfferUp and Letgo have been revolutionizing the types of peer-to-peer transactions that eBay and Craigslist pioneered. The hook to OfferUp and Letgo is that both apps are locationbased. You post what you’re trying to sell, local buyers bid on it, and the winning bidder comes to your house (or a neutral location) to pick it up. Letgo

merged with a similar app, Wallapop, in May, and OfferUp recently raised close to $120 million in funding. For the savvy saver Digit takes the guesswork out of contributing to your savings account by analyzing your spending patterns and automatically pulling small amounts of money from your bank account and putting it into savings. That app only takes money from your account if it deems you can afford it, and all transactions take place via text message. ■ 941CEO

Shutterstock: Sentavio

Touchscreen Banking

Tourism Beat

Eating Habits Culinary travelers are putting Sarasota and Manatee on the foodie map. ●  by Cooper Levey-Baker


Shutterstock: aprilvalery

ocal restaurants rank high on popular lists of great eateries and in national food award competitions. But does that really make a difference for a restaurant’s bottom line? You bet, says Steve Phelps, the chef at Sarasota’s Indigenous.

His upscale restaurant, well reviewed for both its inventive cuisine and conscientious practices, was listed as one of Sarasota’s best restaurants earlier this year in a Condé Nast Traveler article that ranked Sarasota as the 14th best food city in the United States. An Italian couple who dined at Indigenous told Phelps they had found the Traveler article while still in Italy and sought out his restaurant because of it. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016

Awards help, too. In 2015 and 2014, Phelps was named a semi-finalist in the James Beard Foundation’s best chef competition. The recognition brought in James Beard fanatics, who make a point of traveling around the country and sampling the food of as many James Beard-nominated cooks as

Skift, 39 million American travelers “choose a destination based on the availability of culinary activities, while another 35 million seek out culinary activities after a destination is decided upon.” And those numbers are trending up: Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of travelers “who travel to learn

Condé Nast Traveler ranks Sarasota as the 14th best food city in the U.S. possible. Tourists stopped in Sarasota just to eat at Indigenous before driving to Miami to eat at a James Beardrecognized restaurant there. It’s part of a global trend: culinary tourism. According to a 2015 report published by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and the tourism research firm

about and enjoy unique dining experiences” increased from 40 percent to 51. “Culinary activities” don’t just include eating out at restaurants. Agritourism also plays a part, as do special cooking classes and food festivals. Tourism agencies here spotlight food destinations and events and have 83

T O U R I S M BEA T invited food writers and hosted food blogger meetups. Food blogs and usergenerated photos on social media are major draws for tourists, particularly millennial travelers, who are interested in food tourism. Their goal is to “live like a local” and connect with peers when they travel, according to the Ontario report. That means seeking out food trucks and dives beloved by locals, such as Cortez’s Star Fish Co., which serves grouper and mullet straight from A.P. Bell, the commercial fishing company next door. In 2012, Star Fish was ranked as one of the nation’s best seafood restaurants by Travel + Leisure. The exposure exploded Star Fish’s sales, according to owner Karen Bell, who is also a part owner at A.P. Bell. Two years after the Travel + Leisure article, Bell and two partners opened

Tide Tables in Cortez. Another Cortez restaurant, Seafood Shack, underwent $1 million in renovations last year. It now has an Instagram-ready, Old Florida chic look. Restaurateur Ed Chiles, who owns Anna Maria Island’s Sandbar and Beach House and Longboat Key’s Mar Vista, says diners, both tourists and locals alike, are more conscious of where their food is coming from and seek out heritage food products they can’t find elsewhere. At Chiles’ restaurants, that means tourists are dining on locally farmed clams, bottarga made from the roe of Gulf mullet and wild boar meat from nearby ranches. Greater investment in local food production would showcase the natural bounty and cultural history of Cortez and Anna Maria, he says. That would be a boon for tourism.

“We’ve got the opportunity to tell our story,” Chiles says. “The worst thing in the world is to go see a place and it’s lost its character, because it’s Señor Frog’s and this chain and that chain.” The goal, he says, should be to “maximize our heritage resources in a sustainable way.” Phelps points to Asheville, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, and Charleston, South Carolina, as three cities that have built major tourism industries using their cuisine. In Austin, barbecue aficionados begin lining up before dawn for a chance to eat at Franklin Barbecue. In Charleston, Sean Brock opened Husk in 2010, showcasing seasonal and heirloom ingredients and winning a host of awards. “All of a sudden you’ve got a foodie town,” Phelps says, “and you create a bump in tourism.” ■



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W h a t I ’ v e l e a rn e d

Ted C. Abrams

How Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea CEO turned the failing company around. ● by David Hackett


ed C. Abrams faced a daunting challenge in 2001 when he became president and CEO of Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company. The business, headquartered in Tampa, had lost money for 17 straight years since its founding, and the chairman told Abrams he had one year to make Joffrey’s profitable. Abrams, who knew little about coffee but had a head for numbers, took action, closing or ceding control of Joffrey’s nearly one dozen retail coffee shops, getting out of budget-crushing leases for new shops at Channelside and Tampa International Mall and putting the focus on what Joffrey’s did best: roasting and producing specialty coffees. The move cost 30 to 40 workers their jobs and elicited second-guessing from some longtime employees. Within seven months, Joffrey’s was profitable. Revenue increased from $3.9 million in 2001 to an expected $30 million this year, with a goal of reaching $50 million by 2020. No longer operating coffee shops, Joffrey’s has carved out a large piece of the growing specialty coffee and tea business. The bedrock is a deal with Disney that has made Joffrey’s its specialty coffee provider at its Florida theme park, resorts and cruise lines. Joffrey’s is also served in hospitals, such as Manatee Memorial Hospital and All Children’s Hospital, stores such as Morton’s Market, and restaurants, including Michael’s On East and Libby’s. Joffrey’s now has 150 employees and has seen its business line expand, with iced and specialty teas as one of its fastestgrowing products. Abrams, 54, lives in Lakewood Ranch with his wife, Penny, and their two sons.


“My first day on the job at Joffrey’s, I met with our roastmaster. Even though we had been continually losing money, I knew there must be something we were doing well. The roastmaster said, ‘We make the best coffee, time after time. We never falter.’ Then I asked what we didn’t do well. He said, ‘We’re terrible at running coffee shops.’ So I decided that we needed to get out of the coffee shop business and focus on what we did best.” NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016


W h a t I ’ v e l e a rn e d “In a turnaround situation, you first have to identify people who are willing and able to change. When I came to Joffrey’s, I gave each of my direct reports copies of the book Who Moved My Cheese. It’s a quick read, but powerful in identifying the qualities needed to embrace change. Only two of those five people are still with us. But that needed to happen if we were going to survive.” “I learned a lot from my dad about managing people. He was the first dermatologist in southern New Jersey, and he had a great reputation. The thing that impressed me the most was how he appreciated his employees. Every day, he would thank every one of them before they walked out the door. That stuck with me, and I still do that today.” “I was premed my first year in college, but one day my dad took me to see an operation. I almost passed out from the sight of blood. I said, ‘OK,

this isn’t for me.’ But I had a head for numbers and that became my path.” “I also learned a lot from Hugh Sawyer, whom I worked for before coming to Joffrey’s. Hugh was brought in to turn around National Linen Service. I remember him saying, ‘You can’t overpay for good talent. If you are unwilling to pay what the best candidate is asking, you’re going to end up with a mediocre team.’ This is especially true, I’ve learned, when hiring a CFO. There’s no substitute for a great CFO, and we’re very fortunate to have one [Jim Fanaro] at Joffrey’s.” “In 2010, coffee prices were going through the roof and we were struggling to adjust. I went to our chairman and said we need to make a change at the CFO level, and I told him it’s going to cost us more. It was really the first time he ever pushed back. But I told him, ‘We’re going to know within 90 days whether this was the right

move.’ In reality, you’ll know within 30 days. Six years later, we’ve more than doubled our revenue, and [Fanaro] has been instrumental to our success.” “If you don’t surround yourself with the strongest of the strong, you’re not going to get where you need to go. I know what I’m good at and I surround myself with people who are good at what I’m not good at. That’s what makes a team.” “I love the game of golf. I’m a member of The Concession. What I love about golf is that you can never beat the game. That’s also true about business. One day, you can shoot great. The next day you’re on the course and you say, ‘Where the hell did this come from?’ But the key is being mentally strong, being prepared and being able to stay in the game after you make a bad shot or even have a terrible round. That’s what I try to do on the golf course and in business.” ■

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FAST TRACK Talk Mov e rs , S h a k e rs & H e a d l i n e M a k e rs


C hristopher J .

L ouria ,

human resources director, Sarasota County government.

▶ ▶ J anet R obinson , commercial director, Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT’s West Central Florida region. ▶ ▶ T err y M iller , salesman, American Classic Car Sales. ▶ ▶ A llison W hitten , facility rental and service coordinator, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

N o v e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6

▶ ▶ J eff S tandring , executive director, Mental Health Community Centers, Inc.

Dr. Andrés E. O’Daly ▶▶

D r . A ndr é s E . O ’ D aly ,

orthopedic surgeon, Coastal Orthopedics Sports Medicine & Pain Management.

Brady Polk

Nate Meyer ▶ ▶ N ate M e y er , architect, Halflants + Pichette Studio for Modern Architecture. ▶ ▶ S teven G rair , director of production; and S tephen Fancher , development officer, Sarasota Opera. ▶ ▶ D r . R osemar y C ullain , clinical supervisor for child and family therapy services, Forty Carrots Family Center. ▶ ▶ J uliette R e y nolds , vice president and director of integrated marketing; and K ay lin D alton , digital account manager, C-Suite Communications.

Jeff Standring

▶ ▶ Tashara C ronshaw , promoted to vice president of human resources; N icole B rooks , promoted to vice president of sales, north region; D iane K erper , promoted to vice president of sales and marketing, south region; J osh H oot , promoted to director of construction; B randon J ohnson , promoted to area construction manager; and K atie L o z uke , promoted to area sales manager, Neal Communities.

▶ ▶ C hris D elp , solar industry and real estate attorney, law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick. ▶ ▶ L aura G ilbert , promoted to interim president and CEO, Sarasota YMCA. ▶ ▶ N atasha S elvaraj , attorney, Berlin Patten Ebling PLLC. ▶ ▶ D on B urrow , general manager, DeSoto Square mall.

Janet Robinson

Tashara Cronshaw

▶ ▶ C onnie A ndersen , chief nursing officer, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. ▶ ▶ A manda Parrish , director of business development; and J ean A ndrews , firm administrator, Fawley Bryant Architects.

▶ ▶ K y le T uroff , booking and house operations manager, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Chris Delp


▶ ▶ B rady P olk , private wealth analyst, BMO Private Bank. ▶ ▶ D r . A drienne Atkins , veterinarian, Mote Marine Laboratory. ▶ ▶ C raig B adinger , development director, Hermitage Artist Retreat. ▶ ▶ L isa H oward , promoted to CEO; and A ndy R eeves , chief operating officer, Lighthouse of Manasota.



F ederico R ichter ,


Matt Ferguson

and M att F erguson , architects, Sweet Sparkman Architects.

ACCOLADES The Manatee Chamber of Commerce’s 37th annual Small Business of the Year awards went to: R eali z e B radenton , nonprofit organization; L . A . E vents , small business under $249,000; P C I C ommunications , small business $250,000 to $1 million; and A nthon y ’ s ▶▶

▶ ▶ B rian P ost , director of horticulture and maintenance; and L eslie B obiak , graduate landscape architect, Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. ▶ ▶ E r z sike Papan , D .V. M . , veterinarian, Humane Society of Manatee County. ▶ ▶ P riscilla F r y e , director of real estate and market development, Goodwill Manasota. ▶ ▶ D eena S uliman R ied , account executive, Knight Marketing.

H eating C ooling E lectrical , small business $1.1 million to $6.5 million. ▶ ▶ The Manatee Chamber of Commerce announced its 26th annual Business & Education Partnership Awards: B ig B rothers B ig S isters of the S un C oast

and the P ittsburgh

P irates/ B radenton M arauders ; C ulver ’ s Bradenton at Ranch Lake; H arvest U nited M ethodist C hurch , Bayshore; L ittle C aesars Bradenton; K ona I ce ; L abinal P ower S y stems ; A nna M aria E lementar y S chool

and the C enter

for A nna M aria I sland ; G ood L ife H ealing

Jourdana LaFate

Kevin Cooper is the new CEO of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, with its 1,400 members and an annual budget of $1.5 million.

K arl B ernard ,

J ourdana L a Fate

Leslie Bobiak

30-year expert in the field of aging and a USF SarasotaManatee professor, was awarded the USF System’s Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award for her analysis of age-related issues. Black’s practice, AgeFriendly Sarasota, is also in the running to become one of the World Health Organization’s top 10 practices to counter ageism worldwide. She spoke about the issue in Geneva, Switzerland, this year in front of a team of professionals in the WHO’s age-friendly community movement. Her local research also led to a docudrama, Old Enough to Know Better, performed at Florida Studio Theatre. “The stories [in the play] are common themes,” she says. “We’re all experiencing the same milestones in life: raising a family, marriage, widowhood, caregiving and end of life.” Black hopes to raise awareness of aging here and worldwide, especially through the arts, and to counter ageism. “The world has much to learn from our community in which 50 percent are 50 and older,” she says.—Riley Board


Karl Bernard

Dr. K athy Black, a

Brian Post

physician, Vein Center at Erasers and Erasers Body Enhancement Center.


M.D. ,

C enter ; L aura R oberts , Bayshore High School; and W hiting P reston , Manatee Fruit Company, and A dam R ichert , Big Earth Supply. ▶▶

G ene M atthews

received the annual Clyde Nixon Business Leadership 941CEO


T he S tate C ollege

C olandro

Blalock Walter attorneys

M emorial N ursing & R ehabilitation C enter ,

owned and operated by Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, received the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s highest five-star

C harles F. J ohnson

and R obert G . B lalock , are included in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. ▶ ▶ Eight Williams Parker attorneys are included in The Best Lawyers in America 2017: C harles D . B aile y J r . , J ohn T. B erteau , R ic G regoria , M ichele B . G rimes , J . M ichael H artenstine , W illiam M . S eider , J ames L . T urner and E . J ohn Wagner I I .

F uren , T homas F. I card Rogan Donelly

J r . , R obert G . Lyons , W illiam W. M errill I I I

and J aime ▶▶

L . Wallace .

M anasota S C O R E

received an Outstanding Client Relationship Award at SCORE’s 2016 National Leadership Conference. ▶▶

R ingling C ollege of

is No. 16 on the Hollywood Reporter’s ranking of the top U.S. film schools. A rt and D esign

N o v e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6

D r . C arol

R ogan D onelly , president of Tervis, has joined the board of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. ▶ ▶ The Sarasota S ir S peedy received a Top 10 Sales ▶▶

president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, has been named president of the Florida College System Activities Association’s executive committee. ▶ ▶ E lisa G raber and J ohnette C appadona

joined the board of Project 180.

Mischa Kirby

Thomas F. Icard Jr. Jaime L. Wallace

M arisa P owers , E rin


P robstfeld ,

C lifford L . Walters I I I ,

S arasota

located at the Sarasota, Melbourne and Tallahassee campuses, was ranked 18th of the 50 Best Culinary Schools in the U.S. by Best Choice Schools.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld

S chool was one of just four Florida schools named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. ▶ ▶ Six Icard Merrill attorneys are included in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America: C harles J . B artlett , M ichael J .

Vander V een


U niversit y C enter for C ulinar y A rts ,


and S arah have joined the board of Turning Points. ▶ ▶ B ob C arter , recently retired president and CEO of the Friendship Centers, received the 2016 Quality Senior Living Award from the Florida Council on Aging.

Volume award recognizing the business as one of the top 10 in the worldwide Sir Speedy franchise network. ▶ ▶ The K eiser

of F lorida C ollegiate

Erin VanderVeen ▶▶

U.S. News & World Report ranked N ew C ollege the No. 5 public liberal arts college in the nation in its “Best Colleges 2016” edition. ▶▶

Clifford L. Walters III

rating for overall quality and safety. ▶ ▶ T homas H . D art of Sarasota is among 12 Adams and Reese attorneys statewide included in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. ▶ ▶ The New College of Florida Board of Trustees elected F elice S chulaner chair and W illiam R . J ohnston vice-chair.

Charles F. Johnson

Marisa Powers

Award from the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, and P enta 5 L L C received the Ringling College Innovation by Creative Design Award. ▶ ▶ R on K oepsel of Sabel Trust is president of the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council for 20162017. B arbara J ones of Kerkering Barberio is first vice president; J eff T roiano of Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen is second vice president; K imberly B leach of U.S. Trust is secretary; and Tammie S andoval of BMO Harris is treasurer.

▶ ▶ M ischa K irb y is the 2016-2017 president of the Central West Coast chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association. ▶ ▶ M ichael A . K essie , chief of the campus police department of New College of Florida and USF Sarasota-Manatee, was appointed chair of the university/education committee of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.



S arasota C ount y ’ s

Parks , R ecreation and


Scott Pinkerton Michael Harkins


S tate C ollege of

F lorida M anatee S arasota ’s online bachelor’s degree in Health Administration is among the top five in the country by the website Healthcare Administration.

William L. Mehserle Jr. ▶▶

Partners S cott

P inkerton , M ichael ▶▶

D r . D aniel L amar

of Coastal Orthopedics Sports Medicine & Pain Management became lead orthopedic consultant for the Tennessee Titans, based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Former Coach Inc. exec and AND OPENING New College MOVING M ixon ’ s F ruit Farms alum Felice has expanded with the addition of Mixon’s Schulaner is Farmhouse Inn and Mixon’s Play Place. the new chair Amazing E dible E legance b y of the college’s E li , a custom bakery, has opened at 3737 Manatee Ave. Board of W. in Bradenton. P urpose D riven Trustees: R estoration & R emodeling , a full-service “I owe my general contractor has alma mater. expanded to Bradenton. Fabletics activewear Time to pay store has opened at The Mall back.” at University Town Center. ▶▶



and W illiam have become affiliated with the Independent Channel of Wells Fargo, the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network. H arkins

L . M ehserle J r .


K eke ’ s B reakfast C af é

has opened at 1121 Cortez Road W. in Bradenton. ▶▶

T he S avor y Palate

gourmet pantry and tasting room has opened at 26 N. Boulevard of Presidents on St. Armands Circle. ▶▶

S arasota M emorial’ s

has opened at 500 John Ringling Blvd. on St. Armands Circle. U rgent C are C enter


G oodwill M anasota

has opened a retail store at 700 N. Beneva Road in Sarasota. ■ BArbara Banks

Nathan Benderson Park’s new recreational program manager, began rowing when she was 16 and rowed varsity for four years at the University of Oklahoma. While pursuing a master’s degree in adult higher education with a focus on intercollegiate athletic administration, she was a graduate assistant coach for the university’s rowing team, and for a year, the team’s director of operations. Before joining Benderson Park to develop and oversee all its recreational programs, Farrell worked as varsity women’s coach for the Sarasota Scullers. Farrell wants Nathan Benderson Park to become a busy community amenity, and hopes to increase the number of programs, such as classes in rowing and paddle boarding, sailboat rentals, camps and rollerblading. Her goals are to keep all these opportunities running smoothly and decrease costs. “Fair pricing is a big goal of ours as a community park, and we want to be open to the public,” she says. —Riley Board

D epartment earned the Excellence in Sports Tourism Award from the Florida Recreation and Park Association. ▶ ▶ J ohn Fain and A ngela M assaro - Fain , owners of Grapevine Communications, were named Humanitarians of the Year by the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund.

Brian Post

Meghan Farrell,


N atural R esources



ad ver ti si ng secti on



F e a t u r i ng :


C S & L C PA

Any recent tax legislation that could be helpful in my personal tax planning?



A. Use an accountable plan. Following the IRS’s accountable plan rules for reimbursing employees for their travel, entertainment and other business expenses can save your business payroll taxes. With an accountable plan, employees provide their employer with an adequate accounting of their business-related expenses and return any excess amounts within a reasonable period. Amounts reimbursed under an accountable plan are not included in employees’ wages.

A. The rules on rollovers to SIMPLE retirement accounts have been relaxed. After two years of plan participation, SIMPLE plans may now accept rollover contributions from a variety of other plan types. Also, individuals age 70½ or older may have as much as $100,000 a year transferred tax free from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to qualified charitable organizations.

How can I save on my business’s payroll taxes?

N o v e m b e r / D E C EM b e r 2 0 1 6

Can I deduct expenditures involved in a new business venture?


Marissa Rossnagle Marketing Director

A. If you are involved in a new business venture in 2016, you may elect to deduct up to $5,000 of your business start-up expenditures, such as travel expenses incurred in lining up prospective distributors or suppliers and advertising costs paid or incurred before the new business began operating. To claim the deduction in 2016, your new business must be up and running by year-end. 1515 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 900 Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 954-4040 CSLcpa.com


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Mauldin & Jenkins Ken Thomas

What is the most significant upcoming law change affecting businesses?


A. Nearly every employer will be affected by the newly updated regulations under the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The regulations become effective December 1, 2016. Under these new rules, any exempt employee earning less than $47,476 annually will be paid time and a half for any hours exceeding 40 worked in a week. All employers should review these new rules.

How important is it to have representation during a tax audit?


A. If you are faced with a tax audit, allowing a representative (typically a CPA, Enrolled Agent or Attorney) to assist is generally a good idea. These tax professionals can more quickly determine what an auditor is looking for and what they


need. Just as importantly, they can keep the audit focused and avoid expanding the scope of the audit by providing unnecessary answers or documentation.

What is the single most important tip for small business owners?


A. Monitor your cash flow. Even profitable businesses can run into trouble and even fail if those profits aren’t converted to cash in the bank when you need it. The issue is timing. Manage your cash flow by working on cash collections, controlling the timing of your expenses to match cash receipts and never use sales tax collections or payroll taxes withheld to pay other expenses. 1301 Sixth Ave. W., Suite 600 Bradenton, FL 34205 (941) 747-4483 mjcpa.com


Time is running out to make last-minute tax moves. This is the best time of year to review your financial situation and take advantage of any final year-end opportunities that can affect your 2016 tax return. Whether that means you should consider deferring income until January, or maximizing contributions to your retirement account, the only way to identify the most advantageous strategy for you is to meet with a CPA who can evaluate your full financial picture.

Download our free Tax Planning Guide for tips and strategies you can use today. www.CSLcpa.com/TaxGuide ◆ BRADENTON 941.748.1040 ◆ SARASOTA 941.954.4040 ◆ TAMPA 813.490.4490



More Seen photos at 941CEO.com


1500 State Street Groundbreaking 1 Hembree & Associates team: From the left, Stanley Heinlein, Ken Hoskinson, Tom Burrows, Kyle Hembree, Dawn FitzGerald, Joe R Hembree, Joshua Tackett and Steve Ross  2 Elita Krums-Kane; Janis Krums; Kylie and Tom Jackson, Jackson & Associates  3 Ed Valek, Valek Insurance; Mike Krouse, Jackson & Associates; Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight  4 John Harshman, Harshman & Co.; Dr. Mark Kauffman; Suzanne Atwell, Sarasota City Commissioner  5 Mike Holland, Pam Charron, Berkshire Hathaway  6 Kelley Lavin, 941CEO and Sarasota Magazine; Chris Gallagher, Hoyt Architects


photography: Lori Sax





6 97




Argus Foundation “Meet the Minds” 1 Billy Hathaway, FDOT; Shay Atluru, DTC Engineering  2 Millard Yoder, Williams Parker; Shawn Dressler, Bill Wadill, Kimley-Horn  3 Jason Gaskell, Laurel Corriveau, Adams and Reese LLP  4 Frank Domingo, Stantec; Charlie Bailey, Williams Parker  5 Alicia King-Robinson, Three Six Oh PR; Amy Miller, State Rep. Julio Gonzalez’s office  6 State Rep. Ray Pilon; Todd Josko, Ballard Partners  7 Keith Mercier, Bouchard Insurance; Kimberlie Buchanan, Shinn & Co.  8 Pat Neal, Neal Communities; Kirk Boylston, LWR Commercial  9 Bill Bracamonte, Rod Hershberger, PGT



photography: Lori Sax



7 98


9 941CEO

More Seen photos at 941CEO.com



Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance East Meets West 1 Taura Agar, Renee Ryckman, Angela Scroggins, Escape Countdown  2 Ron Beck, Synods; Violeta Huesman, Keiser College; Daryl Inverso, Norton Hammersley Lopez & Skokos  3 Rebecca Dalton, Frank Verdel, Jen Cassidy, Lakewood Ranch  4 Larry Robbins, Brock Michaud, Tonya Atchison, Lori Allen-Galindo, Brown & Brown Insurance  5 Mindy McLeod, Kasey MacTavish, Oasis Outsourcing  6 Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance East Meets West




6 photography: Lori Sax

Volume 13/Number 6, November/December 2016, 941CEO (ISSN 1936-7538) is published in January, March, April, June, September and November by Gulf Shore Media, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of SagaCity Media, Inc., 330 S. Pineapple Ave., Suite 205, Sarasota, FL 34236. Subscriptions are free to qualified individuals. For customer service inquiries, subscription inquiries or to change your address by providing both the old and new addresses, contact: 941CEO, Subscriber Services, PO Box 433217, Palm Coast, FL 32143. Phone: 1-800-331-8848, Email: 941CEO@emailcustomerservice.com. Periodicals postage paid at Sarasota, Florida, and at additional mailing offices. Copyright 2016 by Gulf Shore Media, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Unsolicited manuscripts without return postage will not be returned. DISCLAIMER: Advertisements in the publication do not constitute an offer for sale in states where prohibited or restricted by law.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 941CEO, Subscriber Services, PO Box 433217, Palm Coast, FL 32143.



OFF THE CLOCK ● by Ilene Denton


Ad agency webmaster Robert Holzer is the ultimate zombie fan.

Holzer's zombie website was so popular, Sony pictures hired him to promote a movie.

forum at its peak had 18,000 participants,” he says. ZombieMenace.com was so popular that Sony Pictures hired him to help promote its 2012 film, Zombieland. He shut down the website last year. “With a full-time job and two kids, it became an issue of not having enough time to manage it,” he says. Now, he makes do with “what I affectionately call my creepy toy collection; not just zombies, but things like my 12-inch Alien doll and my Walking Dead and Twisted Land of Oz special collections,” he says. “I have boxes upon boxes of stuff.” Holzer moved the collection from his house to his office “when we had kids. My wife said, ‘I don’t want them looking at this stuff.’” And in 2014, when Grapevine Communications sponsored a Christmas card Facebook contest (the public vote on which staff-created holiday card was the coolest, with proceeds benefiting area charities), he was, yes, Zombie Santa. ■

Barbara Banks

obert Holzer’s pop-culture moment has arrived. Holzer, webmaster at Grapevine Communications since 2013, has been a super-fan of zombies since he discovered horror films in junior high. Now with the popularity of zombie-themed TV shows and films, it’s “our No. 1 pop-culture nightmare,” according to Rolling Stone. “When I first watched horror movies in the 1980s, there was a lot of slash and gore, but I noticed in the zombie movies there is a lot more suspense, and they were more intellectual and a political subtext to it,” says Holzer. A New College grad who learned to work on computers while serving in the Army, he started the website, ZombieMenace.com, in 2009 and grew it into one of the most popular websites for everything zombie-related: an event calendar (a trusted source for details on zombie walks and pub crawls); an online seller of costumes, movies, books and toys; and a one-stop site for zombie-themed video games that users could play for free. “Our discussion

Apocalypse Now




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