Businesses by the dozens showcase what they offer

We had a great time at Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce's Business Showcase. We connected with lots of local businesses and Front Street director Seth Lane won a toolbox from Perry Roofing! Congrats to Larry Hartfield of Modern Woodmen of America for winning our doorprize, a $50 gift card to World Of Beer in Tioga Town Center!


By Anthony Clark | The Gainesville Sun

Albey Coronel compares his membership in the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce to a gym membership.



“You could join the gym, but if you don’t go and get involved and actually put some work into it, it doesn’t really do anything,” said Coronel, owner and creative director of Neutral7 Signs & Graphics.

Coronel was in the gymnasium of Santa Fe College Thursday evening to work his membership in the chamber during its annual Business Showcase.

He stepped away from the Neutral7 table to make the rounds among 80 businesses and agencies displaying products and services.

“We meet people. We might not do business right away, but it’s just a good way to create relationships and plant seeds,” he said.

Tami and David Wise were there to introduce Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, the franchise they opened in Gainesville in February, while offering free T-shirts and tote bags printed with their logo.

“We kind of show them what our capabilities are to help them promote their businesses,” Dave Wise said.

Tami Wise said she thinks they will get some customers from the event.

“And they may get some of our business,” Dave added.

Feathr was there to show off its mobile application to help attendees network with each other. The company was part of the event’s Innovation Alley featuring a row of businesses from local business incubators.

The tech firm has an office in the University of Florida Innovation Hub.

A couple hours into the event, nearly 150 people had downloaded the app that allows users to connect with other people registered for the event.

Alexander Levental, iOS developer for the company, said Feathr will attend about 20 events over the next couple of months to take feedback on the app and make improvements.

Instead of its usual shrimp stir fry, Florida Food Service had a large bowl of fruit on its table to talk about its growing produce business.

The restaurant supplier has seen a 35 percent increase in produce sales over the past year and has added two produce delivery trucks to keep up with a growing demand from an improving restaurant industry that also has fewer suppliers handling produce in the market, said President Joel Islam.

He said the company does not necessarily get business from the showcase but displays every year to support the chamber.

“The chamber’s doing fantastic right now and had a lot of success bringing companies to Gainesville, and that helps us all,” Islam said. “Those people presumably will go out to eat.”




Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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