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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 9 years ago

Business Observer


+ Molly’s Boutique earns gold retailer award
Vera Bradly presented Molly’s! A Chic and Unique Boutique with gold status in the Vera Bradley Rewards Program for excellent service, selection and a memorable shopping experience.

The program evaluates retail stores based on store design, relationships, product assortment and general business practices and recognizes outstanding performance.

“We are pleased to have been designated a gold-level store,” said Molly Jackson, owner. “Achieving this status represents an exceptional level of performance that consistently exceeds all expectations and requirements.”

+ Robert Ricchini joins Studio Salon and Spa
The Studio Salon and Spa recently welcomed new salon manager and Artistic Director Robert Ricchini to its team. Ricchini, who hails from New York, has 35 years of experience as a hair designer and makeup artist and has owned and operated successful salons in New York and New Jersey. In his early years, Ricchini spent time in London studying with Vidal Sassoon.

The salon is located at 508 Central Ave., in Sarasota’s historic Rosemary District.

+ Grapevine named top advertising agency
For the seventh year in a row, Grapevine Communications has been named one of the top 25 advertising agencies in Southwest Florida by Tampa Bay Business Journal. The company was ranked as the 13th-largest agency in a seven-county region.

“We’re proud of this achievement and grateful for our staff’s hard work over the past year,” said company founder and President Angela Massaro-Fain in a prepared statement. “This is the latest accolade in a year of achievements, including earning 10 awards at the AAF-Suncoast’s 2010 ADDY Awards competition; being honored with the 2010 Frank G. Berlin Sr. Small Business Award by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; reaching the milestone of more than $1 million in services donated to 56 area non-profit organizations; and our inclusion for the third year in a row as one of Gulf Coast Business Review’s top 500 largest companies. It’s been a great year, and we look forward to continued success in 2011.”

+ Fitness franchise opens downtown studio location
Twenty Minutes to Fitness, a national health-and-fitness franchise company, has announced the opening of its newest Sarasota studio, located at 1753 Ringling Blvd. Hugh Elsam is the franchise owner.

“On one of my trips to Sarasota, I learned about the time-efficient, slow-movement program at 20 Minutes to Fitness and have been a client ever since,” Elsam said. “When the downtown Sarasota franchise became available, I jumped at the opportunity to invest in a franchise.”

Michele Rose, a personal trainer and tri-athlete, will manage the day-to-day operations of the studio.
For information, call 361-1000.

+ Home Resource names new general manager
Eric Cross has been named general manager of Home Resource, a leading retailer of modern and contemporary home furnishings. Cross has 29 years of experience in luxury fashion retail, from creating interior and window merchandising visuals for Saks Fifth Avenue and Marshall Field’s.

Cross last served as visual manager for Saks in Sarasota and Naples and worked as a team member for new store openings and renovations. His movie credits include the set styling in the Beverly Hills store location for the Steve Martin film “Shopgirl.”

+ Palmer Ranch community garners two NARA awards
The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch recently received two marketing awards at the 2010 National Active Retirement Association awards.

For the “Best Television Commercial” category, The Glenridge entered a 30-second segment produced for a Sarasota on-demand news channel that generated new leads and raised community visibility. The community’s educational series, “The Art of Living Well,” a direct-mail campaign established for The Glenridge’s speaker series, won the award for “Best Direct Mail Piece/Overall Direct Mail Campaign.”

The campaign was so successful that the community experienced a 20% spike in sales during the course of the campaign, from January to April 2010.

+ Achieva Credit Union launches new branch
Achieva Credit Union will be opening its 14th branch Jan. 24, at 1852 Hillview St., Suite 101. The location, recently vacated by Tropical Financial Credit Union, will assist members who are looking for a new financial institution, including Sarasota Memorial Hospital Staff. The company, which hopes to expand its Sarasota presence with the addition of its newest location, already has five existing branches in the Sarasota area.

+ Chamber accepting nominations for small business awards
The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2011 Frank G. Berlin Sr. Small Business Awards, to be presented at the annual awards luncheon Thursday, June 2, at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota.

Nominees may be businesses or individuals but must be members in good standing with the chamber. Self-nominations are accepted. The categories are small business, young business, technology and innovation, non-profit organization, cultural organizations, think green business, woman entrepreneur and young professional.

The nomination deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11. Visit to download and print the nomination form.

+ Marshall, Salter and Pogorelskaya pass CPA exam
Kerkering, Barberio and Co., certified public accountants, recently announced that Amanda Cox Marshall, Ashley Morey Salter and Yekaterina Pogorelskaya passed all four parts of the CPA exam to obtain designation as certified public accountants. Marshall graduated from Florida State University, and Salter and Pogorelskaya graduated from the University of South Florida, where each obtained a degree in accounting.

+ Adams and Reese names new partner
Sarasota attorney Jason Gaskill joined Adams and Reese as partner Jan. 1. Gaskill is a member of the firm’s litigation practice group and has been practicing law since 2002. He is a registered patent attorney who handles a variety of commercial litigation matters, with an emphasis on construction litigation, intellectual property litigation and real property litigation.

+ Dick Woodall promoted at Bouchard Insurance
Bouchard Insurance has announced that Dick W. Woodall, AAI, will manage its new small-business unit for its Sarasota and Fort Myers offices.

Woodall’s expertise in the small-business arena will help him grow the company’s small-business client base.

Bouchard Insurance specializes in commercial insurance and also operates offices in Clearwater and Kissimmee.

+ Schwartzbaum inducted into Business Owner Executive Council
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney recently announced that Judith Skornicka Schwartzbaum, of the firm’s wealth management office in Sarasota, has been invited into its Business Owner Executive Council.
Schwartzbaum has worked for Smith Barney since 1995 and been in the financial services industry since 1985.

The council is an invitation-only program reserved for the top 2% of financial advisers who focus their practice on helping small- and middle-market business owners.

+ Sarasota Chamber to host membership drive
Hoping to strengthen its organization by increasing its membership, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce will host a membership drive Jan. 19 and Jan. 20. More than 120 volunteers are expected to participate, and the chamber has set a goal of attracting more than 200 new members to the organization. More than $4,500 of products and services have been donated to the drive as welcome packages for new members.

To participate, contact Morgan Gerhart at 556-4031 or [email protected].



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