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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2010 7 years ago

LLSA Chamber Small Business of the Year Awards: La Playa Condominiums

by: Maria Amodio Editor

While many businesses were suffering financially, 2009 was La Playa Condominiums’ most successful year to date.

The secret, says Manager Dick O’Dowd, is continuity.

“Our guests have been coming here for years,” says O’Dowd. “Some of them have been coming every weekend since the place was built in 1971. It’s small, homey and people just love it here.”

The 21-unit luxury condominium association boasts an impressive 95% return rate among clients.
O’Dowd, who became the on-site manager at La Playa in 2005, says it’s the little things that make a big difference in improving their guests’ experience.

O’Dowd is constantly searching for ways to make each guest’s stay better than the last, whether it’s equipping the resort with wireless Internet or planting an herb garden for guests to enjoy when cooking.

“My motto is: don’t compete, create,” says O’Dowd.

One of the resort’s most unique and popular features is its oversized outdoor chess set, which guests can play while soaking up the sun on the resort’s 200-foot stretch of private beach.

O’Dowd suggested that La Playa’s board of directors add the option of three-day rentals for their guests.

“We wanted to change with the times,” says O’Dowd. “If you’re out on the ocean and the wind changes, you’d better change your sail. It’s that type of flexibility that makes us unique.”


Address: 4425 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key

Start date: May 1974

Number of employees when started: One

Number of employees now: Three

Advice: Understand who your boss is. My belief is that the customer is always the boss, period.

Where do you see your business one year from now? Growing.

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