BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR
A new year means new goals, and committees, for the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce.
To celebrate the launch of its new Chamber Advisors Group, a committee of members to assist local businesses plan new openings, expand or get back into the black, a public breakfast will be held 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, 301 Memorial Medical Parkway.
The advisors, from eight different industries, will be available for one-on-one or group meetings with businesses to help resolve just about any problem an entrepreneur might have, according to Executive Director Tony Capozzi.
“We were looking into more ways ... that we can help existing businesses and potential businesses,” Capozzi said, “(and) it evolved into this formal advisors group.”
But having been in the planning stages for about six months, the group is now all set. Advisors are available to help member businesses with licensing issues, legal questions, human resource obligations and, potentially, permitting and other paperwork.
“It’s economic development, basically,” he said, “to help all our chamber members and businesses succeed. That’s the bottom line.”
Capozzi is also currently in talks with organizations outside of the chamber, to expand the advisor group’s reach and referral network. Each of the Top 8 advisors are set to serve one-year terms.
“We want to be able to help businesses,” he said, citing a more broad-strokes approach to goal-setting for the new committee. “If we can help them get out of trouble, or point them in a better direction ... we’re perfectly happy. We just want to be able to help struggling business, (the same) as ones that are doing well ... or are new.”
A “tourism” de force
In conjunction with the advisors group, the chamber also hosted a kickoff meeting for its newly resurrected tourism committee last week.
“The Ormond Beach Chamber used to have a tourism committee many years ago, but for whatever reason it dissolved,” Capozzi said.
But ever since he took over, about two-and-a-half years ago, he says he’s seen an unmet local need. There's no system in place, he says, to keep visitors in town, after whatever they initially visited for — a show or sporting event — has ended.
“I felt like there was a hole,” Capozzi said. “(Like) we’ve lost out on opportunities.”
Currently a welcome and visiting center, the chamber, at 165 W Granada Blvd., is already host to racks and racks of brochures and traveling information. But to Capozzi, the packaging is all wrong as a tourism driver.
“Right now, we identify everything that Ormond Beach has to offer, but it’s fragmented,” he said. “We need a consolidated, appealing package. ... Tourists are not taking advantage of all the things Ormond Beach has to offer.”
And although the group is still only in its “infancy stages,” Capozzi believes this is where his organization can make a difference.
Capozzi plans to get as many members as possible on board, to organize promotions and discounts during special events — like festivals at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, or tournaments at the sports complex. If out-of-towners are already here, he says, the chamber needs to find a way to keep them here, to eat at Ormond restaurants and sleep at Ormond hotels, rather than heading elsewhere.
“There’s no limit to what this particular committee can do,” he said. “It’s about rebranding ourselves. ... Most of it is going to be behind the scenes. ... Anything is on the table.”
For questions, or to participate on the tourism committee, call 677-3454.
The group of Chamber Business Advisors are listed as follows:
Accounting: Steve Tacinelli, Holland Financial (671-7526)
Banking: Rahael Gilbert, PNC Bank (677-6966)
Financial Advice: David Holland, Holland Financial (671-7526)
Human Resources: Denise Lilly, Vision HR (255-7070)
Insurance: Richard Cooper II, Mitchell Noel Insurance (677-4761)
Legal: Kathryn Weston, Cobb & Cole, P.A. (255-8171)
Marketing: Michael Jiloty, Lord & Lasker/Florida (615-8170)
Real Estate: Bill Navarra, Realty Pros Assured (334-9991)