Chamber, Member and Community News & Events
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Submit Your Nominations for the 2016 Florida Companies to Watch

The West Orange Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that GrowFL, Florida’s leading organization in support of second-stage growth companies, is now accepting nominations and applications for its annual Florida Companies to Watch® awards program. The event – now in its sixth year – honors 50 select second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities, and creating new industries throughout Florida.

Eligible applicants must be privately held, “second-stage” commercial enterprises. Qualifying companies must also be headquartered in the state of Florida, employ between six and 150 employees, and earn between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. A selection panel of judges representing areas of economic development, banking, entrepreneurship and small business select winners based on fast and/or high growth in employment rates and revenue. Award recipients must also demonstrate unique strengths and traits including entrepreneurial leadership, product innovation, social/community responsibility and competitive business practices. Click to Read More...

How to Make the Most of Customer Feedback

For owners of traditional brick-and-mortar stores, customer feedback is often immediate and right to the point so that you can act on it. A customer may complain about pricing and after several missed sales, you may adjust prices. A customer may say you don't have a large enough selection and you may consider ordering more inventory. A customer may compliment you about the cleanliness of your store or helpfulness of your salespeople so that you know you are doing something right. Read More

News You Can Use

OCPS Superintendent Jenkins named to Chiefs for Change
Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins is one of six new members named to “Chiefs for Change.” “Chiefs for Change” is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization led by bold and innovative district and state education Chiefs serving in bipartisan administrations. The vision of “Chiefs for Change” is that every public school prepare its students for today’s world and tomorrow’s. Read More

Dr. Phillips Named One of "50 Best Places to Live"
Admittedly, Dr. Phillip Phillips had a catchy name, so perhaps it’s no wonder that this Orlando suburb named itself after him. Dr. Phillips made his fortune in the citrus business, but his namesake town owes its success to tourism. The town borders Universal Studios on one side and is close enough to Walt Disney World to see the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks. Dr. Phillips is also home to Orlando’s Restaurant Row. Small wonder that this town boasts the second highest job growth rate of our top 50 towns. Full Article

Measuring the Economic Impact of Florida Hospital Winter Garden
The City of Winter Garden worked with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council in conducting an economic impact analysis of Florida Hospital Winter Garden. In short, the economic impact of Phase I of Florida Hospital’s Winter Garden campus includes the $80 million facility, the creation of 269 jobs, with a total payroll of $14 million and adding $23 million to Orange County’s gross domestic product on an annual basis. These numbers include multipliers. This analysis reflects the economic impact of Phase I only. The economic impact year by year would increase as additional phases are built. Read More

New Development Emerges in MetroWest's Veranda Park
New signs of life could soon be coming to the lavish Veranda Park mixed-use development in MetroWest nearly five years after a Canadian firm bought the partially developed, then-languishing project. Halifax, Nova Scotia-based investment firm Geosam Capital Inc., which in 2011 bought chunks of the nearly $1 billion Veranda Park project that was abandoned years earlier, appears to be lining up four tracts totaling about 12 acres for a new multifamily development, city of Orlando records showed. Full Article

Greater Orlando Featured in Where to Retire Magazine
Greater Orlando, FL, has been selected as a top retirement destination by Where to Retire, the only magazine in America geared toward helping people with retirement relocation decisions. The area is profiled in the May/June issue, available nationwide on April 12. Read More

Orlando Health Names New President of Health Central
Health Central, a 171-bed hospital in Ocoee owned by Orlando Health, has a new leader effective May 1. It's Mark Marsh, who most recently was CEO of the 270-bed Gateway Medical Center in Clarksville, Tenn. Marsh also has been named a senior vice president of Orlando Health. Read More

Report Shows Impact of Florida's Small Businesses
A new report from the Office of Advocacy, an independent office within the U.S. Small Business Administration, shows that Florida is home to 2.3 million small businesses. The report's data-rich profiles include information on the U.S. and state-level economic growth, industry and jobs. Florida small businesses represent 98.9 percent of all businesses with employees and employ about 43.2 percent of the nation's private-sector workforce. Read more

Florida Creating a Dedicated Funding Source for Lake Apopka
The money will come out of a special account associated with a 2014 constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters.  Under the bill, the Lake Apopka funding will run until the 2025-2026 fiscal year. Full Article

Reed Nissan Becomes Newest WOCC Supporting Trustee

The West Orange Chamber of Commerce recently announced that Reed Nissan has taken advantage of the highly beneficial Supporting Trustee level of membership.

“As the 19th oldest Nissan dealership in operation and the 2nd oldest in the state of Florida, Reed Nissan and Reed Nissan Clermont are proud of the success we have been able to achieve over the past 65 years, not only with our customers but within the community as well, which is why we are honored to join the WOCC Trustee program,” said Nina Sayad, Reed Nissan spokesperson.

To commemorate its Trusteeship, Reed Nissan will be hosting a Business After Hours with the WOCC at its Clermont location on Thursday, May 19.
10 Reasons Why You Can't Miss BEST FEST this Thursday!

1. Beautiful New Location:
BEST FEST is being hosted by the City of Ocoee for the first time on the beautiful shore of Starke Lake!

2. One Ticket Price: Your ticket grants you access to all the amenities of BEST FEST, with no additional purchases required.

3. Unlimited Samples! That's right, you get to try as many delicious food and beverage samples as you'd like!

Read the full list!

Chamber Events

4/13  Golf Networking Group

4/13 Wednesday Networking Group

4/14 Best Fest - "The Taste of West Orange"

4/15 Friday Networking Group

4/18 Ribbon Cutting: Solaris Healthcare Windermere

4/19 Tuesday Networking Group

4/20 10th Anniversary: Moc Services Clean

4/26 Tuesday Networking Group

4/28 Lunch and Learn: The Ins and Outs of Effective Networking

See All Events


Business Events

4/22 2016 State of the County Address presented by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs

4/26 Triage Tuesday with the FSBDC

Community Events

4/15 City of Ocoee Food Truck Friday & Movie in the Park

4/16 7th Annual HAPCO Wine & Dine for the Arts

4/16 Not Your Grandmother's Audubon with James Currie

Take the Central Florida Workplace Challenge

Mayor Jacobs announced the launch of the Central Florida Workplace Challenge during the Orange County Economic Summit on January 21. This friendly competition is intended to reward local businesses that are creating healthier workplaces, reducing their environmental impact and enhancing our community through voluntary service. Read More
Click for more information on Kicks & Conversation!
Leadership West Orange Completes Last Session

The Leadership West Orange Class of 2015-2016, “The West Orange Jedi,” sponsored by Florida Hospital Winter Garden, attended their last class on April 6. The group had the opportunity to take a helicopter ride over West Orange County and then participate in a scavenger hunt that spanned across West Orange County. The Class will have an official Graduation Ceremony on May 11 in conjunction with the Orange County Commissioner District 1 Candidate Debate Luncheon. 

Leadership West Orange is a dynamic program designed to educate future leaders of West Orange County in regards to the history of this area, the direction it is moving and what to anticipate for the future. For more information on Leadership West Orange, contact Krista Carter at
Community Trustees
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