Businesses by the dozens showcase what they offer


Various local businesses display their wares at the Chamber of Commerce's Business Showcase at Santa Fe College, Thursday, May 16, 2013 in Gainesville, Fla.

Erica Brough/Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 9:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 17, 2013 at 8:50 a.m.

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.”

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