Gotta dig those new digs

Author: Share:
new chamber digs

By Jane Bartnett

Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center settle into new headquarters on Avenida Navarra

The welcome mat is out at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s spacious new offices. In late April, after many years at Davidson Plaza, the chamber made the move to its new headquarters at 5223 Avenida Navarra.

“We are all moved in and open for business,” said executive director Ann Frescura.

One block west of Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village, the chamber’s new building is nearly three times as large as the space that served as the organization’s base of operations for so many years. “Our new offices have close to 3,000 square feet,” said Frescura. The former space was approximately 1,300 square feet.

Visitors who drop in are greeted by the same friendly and knowledgeable volunteers who staffed the former location. The new lobby space allows a greater selection of brochures, pamphlets, newspapers, and other information about where to go and what to do on Siesta Key.

Videos depicting the island’s beautiful beaches and village run on a large-screen television. The brightly colored walls painted a tropical shade of blue green are decorated with island artwork. Large windows face the street.

Inside, the new offices contain private offices for the chamber’s four staff members, a spacious conference room with seating for six, a kitchen, and much-needed storage areas.

“We were able to surrender six storage units and bring those materials into this space,” said Frescura. “We’ve never had a conference room before and the kitchenette is a great addition.

“The move really went quite smoothly. We were even a few days ahead of schedule, but we certainly could not have done it without so much great support.”

Relocating after so many years in one location was not without its challenges. Looking back, it was a massive team effort, she said, that got the job done.

“Because of a number of generous donations, our new office is not only much more spacious but also more functional,” Frescura said.

Support for the move came in a number of ways. Expressing her thanks, she detailed the numerous contributions:

  • A new refrigerator for the kitchen was donated by Badger Bob’s Services.
  • Code Studio donated office equipment and furniture.
  • Dex Imaging donated time and labor and made it possible for the chamber to relocate its large copier machine from the old space to the new.
  • NuLook Pressure Cleaning brightened the new office facade’s exterior and windows.
  • Smith Architects donated the architectural blueprints for the new office.
  • Tommy’s Express Car Wash donated a conference table and six chairs.

Frescura also expressed her thanks to the firms that worked with the chamber before and during the move, saying: “I’d also like to express our thanks and gratitude to College HUNKS Moving Co.; Elliott Works, LLC.; Gulf Coast Construction; I-net Solutions; OMNI Communications; PCM Cleaning; Sarasota County for the new directional signs; and SJM Enterprises.”

Looking back on the last few months, Frescura also expressed her thanks to the chamber’s volunteers.

“Our loyal volunteers were, and continue to be, so vital in allowing us to serve the public and meet our mission. Thanks to everyone’s support, and that includes the tremendous chamber staff; our president Eric Fleming; Mike Gatz, immediate past chairman of the board; as well as the chamber board of directors.

“We are happy to be open for business and look forward to welcoming everyone.”

Now that the move is behind them, the chamber staff members are at work planning the upcoming Fourth of July Siesta Key Community Fireworks. To keep the event alive, the chamber has set a fundraising goal of $50,000. The event is fully funded by support from individuals and businesses and does not receive any government funding. As of mid-May, more than $20,000 had been raised.

To help reach that mark, fireworks raffle tickets selling for $10 apiece are being sold at Gilligan’s Island Bar and Grill, Mojo Rising Coffee, the Village Café, and at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. The winner of the June 20 drawing will have the honor of starting the show by launching the fireworks display on the night of July 4th with the official plunger. The winner will also receive one parking pass, seating for four, and food and beverages.

Another Siesta Beach fireworks fundraiser is set for Sunday, June 2. Poker players are invited to get in on the action and support the Fourth of July tradition by taking part in a tournament at One-Eyed-Jacks Poker Room, 4404 Bee Ridge Rd. It begins at 3 p.m. and will end at 8 p.m. There is a $115 buy-in and additional one-time $115 re-buys will be available during the first two hours of the tournament. May 30 is the registration deadline. To learn more, call the chamber at (941) 349-3800.

Plans are also being made for an official open house.

The Siesta Key Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Jane Bartnett
Author: Jane Bartnett

Previous Article

Siesta Key resident files complaint against county for traffic signal

Next Article

Tourism numbers dip, but Siesta businesses hold steady