Disney Announces New Resort to Open May 31st

Posted on March 26, 2012. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Industry Marketing, NEWS, OBR Minutes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Walt Disney World announced that the grand opening of the first phase of its newest resort, Art of Animation, will be May 31st.

The Art of Animation resort will feature rooms with 24 unique themes from movies such as The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid, bringing them to life.

The resort will open in phases with the Finding Nemo-themed section first. Followed by the Cars-themed section on June 18th and The Lion King-themed phase on August 10th. These first three phases will comprise 1,120 family suites.

The construction of the resort has already created more than 800 jobs and it is anticipated that 800 more will be available upon opening to keep guests happy.

The entrance to the Art of Animation Resort from Victory Way is ready for the first phase’s opening and work is underway to widen the intersection of Buena Vista and Victory Way to help accommodate the added traffic.


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Old Amway Arena to be Imploded

Posted on March 16, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Just hours after we receive the news that Orlando Magic super-star Dwight Howard will remain in Orlando through the end of next season, news that the team’s old home, the “O-rena”, will be blown up at the end of the month hits. The demolition plan was announced Thursday, March 15th by city officials. It will begin with bringing down the roof and center of the building through “a series of controlled explosives” over a time period of 10 to 15 seconds with noise similar to that of fireworks.


The abandoned Amway Arena will be taken down at approximately 7:30am on Sunday, March 25th. Roads surrounding the arena will be closed from 5am to around 9:30am.  A viewing area for the public and news media will be set up across Lake Dot near Colonial Drive.

Bill Becker, who ran the arena from 1995 to 2004, remembers the day the area opened in 1989 to a sold-out show by comedian Bill Cosby.  The O-rena, Becker said, “was the biggest thing this town had [back then]. We were all so proud of it.” But the growing fan base of the Orlando Magic and innovative technologies on the rise called for a new high-tech arena. The new $480 million Amway Center, which opened last season, made the old building obsolete.


After the building is destroyed, it will be developed into “Creative Village” a 68-acre tract for higher education providers like high-tech, digital media and creative companies.

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Publix new Distribution Center to bring new Jobs to Central Florida

Posted on February 27, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Florida Governor, Rick Scott announced Monday morning that Publix Super Markets will be building a $188.5 million refrigerated distribution center in south Orlando. The one million square foot distribution center, which will be built near State Road 528 and Orlando International Airport is projected to create 156 new jobs for central Florida.


The Lakeland-based supermarket chain has received approval from the state and City of Orlando for an incentive package totaling about $3.8 million.


“In order to maintain our service levels to our stores and our service commitment to our customers, we needed to plan for future growth, with an addition of a refrigerated distribution center,” said Richard Schuler, vice president of distribution for Publix Super Markets. “Orlando was the best choice, given inbound and outbound deliveries and the proximity to major roadways.”


Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer called Publix’s decision a “true testament to the strong economy and business-friendly environment that exists in the city of Orlando.”


The new refrigerated distribution center is estimated to open in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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Orange County residents get a chance at All-Star tickets

Posted on February 13, 2012. Filed under: NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In a little under two weeks, the city of Orlando will be hosting tens of thousands of visitors in town for the annual NBA All-Star Game. The weekend of February 25th will be creating much economic stimulation for Orlando. Mayor Buddy Dyer wrote on cityoforlando.com, “We look forward to hosting this international event and welcoming the tens of thousands of attendees staying in our hotels, attending local events, eating at our restaurants, shopping at our retailers and enjoying everything Orlando has to offer.”


Even more exciting for Orlando residents, starting today Orange County Mayor, Teresa Jacobs has opened a drawing for Orange County residents to win tickets to the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest on Saturday February 25th.  The mayor said that randomly selected residents who register on the county’s website will have a chance to win a pair of tickets to the event. Eight pairs total will be given away.


Anyone hoping to win the tickets will be required to submit their name, e-mail address, phone number and street address to be eligible, along with proof of Orange County residency. The Board of County Commissioners agreed to give the tickets away in an effort to give members of the community a chance to attend one of the highly-publicized events showcasing the NBA’s brightest stars.


Winners will be notified on February 20th. To register online click here

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Community Foundation of Central Florida donates $1 million to performing arts center project

Posted on January 31, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

When Mayor Buddy Dyer announced on May 18th, 2011 that funding for the Dr. Phillips Center for the performing arts would begin, he said, “They have raised more money for this project than any single project in the history of our city. We are going to be able to break ground because of their efforts.” Hefty donations like those that the Community Foundation of Central Florida have recently rewarded are making the dream of a world-class performing arts center in Orlando a reality.

The public-grant making foundation that serves as a philanthropic home to almost 400 charitable funds made the $1 million donation this week. The board chairman of the Dr. Phillips Center, Jim Pugh, expressed his gratitude by gushing on the center’s website. “We are very grateful to be a recipient of the Community Foundation’s gift. This gift has provided additional financial support to our local arts community,” said Pugh.

 The $268 million dollar first phase is expected to begin vertical construction by second-quarter 2012 and is estimated to open in 2014, creating hundreds of direct and indirect Orlando area jobs.

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Phase 1 in Orlando’s SunRail project

Posted on January 17, 2012. Filed under: Business, NEWS, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

U.S. Rep. John Mica introduced a new program in the Orlando area on Jan. 11 aimed at bringing together the area’s employers, developers, and educational and government entities to create jobs near the first 12 planned SunRail commuter rail stations.

Take a look at Phase 1:

The new Jobs Though Connections initiative encourages local officials to promote transit stop connections and adjacent development along the first 31-mile phase of the $1.3 billion SunRail route. Business plans are under way for nearly $1 billion worth of related construction projects slated to begin later this month, a release said. Mica’s initiative seeks to make sure SunRail and related development is aligned with the region’s planning efforts.

Orlando Business Journal


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Hudson’s Furniture opens a new store in New Smyrna Beach, boosting local economy

Posted on January 10, 2012. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This month, Hudson’s Furniture has opened its 14th location in New Smyrna Beach, off of State Road 44. This new store will create more than 40 jobs and stimulate the economy in surrounding areas.

“We’re very excited to be opening this store in New Smyrna Beach. We’re expecting the new location to get a lot of traffic and improve service to existing customers in the area,” said President Josh Hudson. “We track many of our deliveries to New Smyrna Beach and believe that this area can support a new store with little risk.”

The Hudson family has owned and operated 13 stores ranging from Sarasota to Ormond Beach for the past 30 years, this past year marking their 30th Anniversary. By opening this new store, the Hudson’s expect to hire more than 40 employees and create a boost in the economy.

Currently the city of New Smyrna Beach has an unemployment rate of 11 percent, which is higher than the national average of 9 percent. “Everyone is feeling the effects of today’s economy,” said Fred Hudson, CEO. “We hope that our store will have a positive impact on the area by generating new jobs and increasing the flow of customers to New Smyrna and it’s many local businesses.”

Neighbors in the S.R. 44 area include a new Walmart along with a planned new Cracker Barrel and ABC Fine Wines & Spirits.

Hudson’s Furniture is the premier furniture retailer serving the Tampa, St Petersburg, Orlando, and Ormond Beach area. A total of 14 store locations are conveniently located to serve customers in the surrounding areas. Family owned and operated since 1981, Hudson’s Furniture carries brands such as Broyhill, Lane, Lexington, Simmons, Tommy Bahama and Paula Deen. For more information, visit http://hudsonsfurniture.com/current/stores/Florida_Furniture_Stores.aspx

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Church Street Station’s Antique Train Gets Relocated

Posted on December 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The city of Orlando posted on its website a request for proposals to remove the antique Baldwin locomotive at Church Street Station.

The Florida Rail Museum in Parrish noticed, and now is considering moving the train to its site near Bradenton. The museum has train engine and car displays and runs a 13-mile train trip from its site Saturdays and Sundays. It also operates the North Pole Express during 12 days in December.

A train mover representing the museum met with the city and plans to submit a proposal to move the train to the Florida Rail Museum, said Gene Hughey, past president of the museum.

The engine and tender — that section of the train where fuel for the engine was stored — would be renovated as a display for the museum.

Of the three rail cars, one could easily be renovated by museum volunteers, Hughey said. The other two, including the one with a glass dome, have structural problems and may not be restorable.

The city needs to move the engine and cars to make way for a SunRail station being built near Church Street. The city doesn’t own the train, but agreed to dispose of it for the state Department of Transportation. The DOT inherited the train when it paid $618,900 to TSLF Church Street Development LLC and TSLF Church Street Depot LLC for property that will become the station.

On Nov. 3, DOT paid CSX $150 million for tracks to operate SunRail.The city has budgeted $300,000 to move the train and may pay to have it moved to a site where it would be preserved.

“As part of the proposals we are asking for them to move it, but we will evaluate the proposals that are presented to us,” city spokeswoman Heather Fagan said in an email to OBJ.

The train has been sitting on the tracks near Church Street since Bob Snow opened an entertainment complex known as Church Street Station. Snow brought the train to Orlando from Pensacola and used it as a casting office.

The train has fallen into disrepair with changes in ownership of the complex, which struggled to keep up with night-time entertainment complexes opened at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando.

Orlando Business Journal by Bill Orben

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What is Small Business Saturday?

Posted on November 21, 2011. Filed under: Advertising, Business, NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

On November 26, American Express is asking millions of people to shop small at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. “When we all shop small, it will be huge.”


Find out more here http://www.smallbusinesssaturday.com/

and ‘like’ their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday

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Powerhouse USA announces two team member promotions

Posted on November 2, 2011. Filed under: NEWS, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Powerhouse USA announces two team member promotions

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 17, 2011 – Within the past month, Powerhouse USA, a marketing and advertising agency located in downtown Orlando, has promoted two of its employees – Amanda Gaid has been elevated to Creative Services Manager, and Haley Lindback is now the agency’s Business Development Specialist. Gaid has been with the company since May 2009, while Lindback joined the Powerhouse USA team in April 2010.

While in her previous position as Creative Services Specialist, Gaid was responsible for creating graphics and generating online content for client campaigns. As Creative Services Manager, Gaid will be overseeing all graphic and content elements of print and online client campaign execution.

“My past few years with the Powerhouse USA team have been great and I’m looking forward to my new responsibilities and opportunities,” says Gaid. “I’ve got some great ideas to bring to the table.”

Lindback moves from Online Marketing Coordinator to Business Development Specialist and is currently training to better prepare for her new responsibilities, which will require increased client contact. Previously, Lindback managed client web presence, online campaigns, and implemented new technologies on behalf of both the agency and clients. In her new role, Lindback will be conducting consumer and market research while developing relations with new and existing clientele.

Powerhouse USA is a full-service advertising, marketing and promotions agency dedicated to helping businesses flourish in today’s competitive environment. Located in Orlando, Florida, the Powerhouse USA team specializes in all forms of advertising and marketing, including traditional advertising media and online marketing. For more information, visit http://powerhouseus.com/.


See Amanda and Haley in the Orlando Business Journal.

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Lynx to build and modernize regional transportation systems

Posted on October 17, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Lynx was awarded a total of $3.2 million in funds from the Federal Transit Administration for projects that would replace, rebuild or modernize transit infrastructure.

The grants, which were a portion of the $928.5 million in federal funds for more than 300 public transportation projects nationwide, involve replacing or refurbishing aging buses, building or improving bus terminals, garages, and other transit facilities, installing bus-related equipment, and conducting studies to help communities select the best transit options to meet future transportation needs.

Lynx received a $2 million grant to build a Kissimmee Intermodal Transfer Center in historic downtown Kissimmee. The transportation hub would feature eight bus bays and 16 passenger waiting shelters, along with sidewalks, information kiosks, landscaping, lighting, passenger seating, closed-circuit TV security and bike racks.

Additionally, Lynx was awarded a $1.2 million grant to study alternatives along the 21.5-mile east-west segment of SR 50 between the University of Central Florida’s main campus on Alafaya Trail and West Oaks Mall in Orange County. The corridor is served by 20 Lynx routes, passing through downtown Orlando and connecting with two planned SunRail commuter rail stations south of SR 50. It’s expected to support economic redevelopment, improve mobility for residents and businesses and provide connections to regional transportation systems. This study was done in response to population and employment growth and changes in travel demand and traffic patterns.

Article courtesy of: Orlando Business Journal

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Local Massage Envy locations join fight against arthritis

Posted on October 3, 2011. Filed under: Business, NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Nationwide Massage Envy locations, including 11 in Central Florida, will partner up with the Arthritis Foundation to host Healing Hands for Arthritis—an event to build awareness and raise money for the Foundation.

“We see the role massage therapy can play in pain management and symptom relief in our clinics on a regular basis,” said Adam Toporek, Regional Developer for Massage Envy in Central Florida. “We understand how important the work of the Arthritis Foundation is in helping people face the challenges of arthritis.”

Massage Envy will donate $10 to the Arthritis Foundation from every one-hour massage and facial session all day (8 a.m.- 10 p.m.) on Oct. 12. In addition, Murad—Massage Envy’s exclusive skincare partner—will donate 10 percent of all sales of products sold at Massage Envy on the day.

Community Development Specialist for the Arthritis Foundation’s Florida Chapter, Mariel Armitage, said, “This event is such a great way to give back and at the same time create public awareness for this disease that affects millions of people.”

Those who wish to participate are being encouraged visit Massage Envy’s website to book an appointment as well as Arthritis.org to learn more about the Arthritis Foundation and how their partnership with Massage Envy will benefit those suffering from this disease.

For more information, visit http://www.massageenvy.com/healing-hands-for-arthritis.aspx or their Facebook event page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=149756195114167

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Orlando Magic plan to open $100 million complex downtown

Posted on September 19, 2011. Filed under: Business, NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Orlando Magic are already planning their next multimillion-dollar real estate investment in downtown Orlando, less than a year since the Amway Center opened.

The Orlando Magic want to build a $100 million headquarters, sports and entertainment complex across the street from the $380 million Amway Center, which opened last October.

The team’s headquarters now is in the RDV Sportplex in Maitland.

The complex would be on the 100 block of South Hughey Avenue bordered by Hughey Avenue to the east, Church Street to the south, Division Avenue to the west and Central Boulevard to the north.

Existing structures on the property — excluding the Orlando Police Department — likely will be demolished for the project.

The city of Orlando owns the 4.3-acre property the Orlando Magic are envisioning for the project. City officials said the property would be sold to the Magic, but it’s too early to determine the value of the sale.

The project, which does not have a name yet, would be completely funded by the Orlando Magic and is expected to house dining, hotel and entertainment/nightlife options for residents and visitors coming to downtown Orlando.

The timetable for the project has yet to be determined, but is expected to create as many as 300 permanent jobs related to the retail, entertainment and other businesses that would locate there.

The project is “another huge piece in making the best downtown in all of America,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

The project still is being pitched to the City Council, and will undergo a feasibility study to determine several factors, including making sure financing is in place, providing leasing opportunities for existing tenants on the property and ensuring the existing property is appraised and sold at a fair market value.

In addition, Dyer said the businesses now on the property would not be harmed by the construction of the complex because new retail space would be developed first while tenants remain in their current space, then move to the new space once it is complete.

Dyer said the property could be similar to the $2.5 billion L.A. Live entertainment complex across from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home to the NBA’s L.A. Lakers. “Other NBA cities with arenas have something similar to L.A. Live, but that’s a larger development, whereas this would be to scale for Orlando.”


Orlando Business Journal

Read the full article here

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Job Opportunities with SunRail

Posted on September 5, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Aug. 15, SunRail released a post asking for partners to aid in the construction of Orlando’s commuter rail system rumored to be competed sometime in 2016. This $1.3 billion project is looking for engineers, operators, maintenance inspectors and supervisors. The SunRail construction team is offering career opportunities to all in the Central Florida area, and you can expect to see a growth in employment possibilities with SunRail during the next five years.


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Central Florida to open its newest theme park, Legoland

Posted on August 22, 2011. Filed under: Business, NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Rumored to open toward the end of October 2011 is none other than one of the largest theme parks already in California, Denmark, U.K., and Germany… and soon, Florida! Legoland construction is underway and soon to be revealed a mere 50 minutes from Orlando, in Cypress Gardens. After the success of Legoland, California which opened in 1999, it was voted the country’s best children’s theme park by “Amusement Today” for the sixth year running recently. It is also recognized as the fastest growing theme park in the U.S., enjoying an increase in visitor numbers year-on-year, including six percent in 2009.

Legoland Florida will be the largest location yet, spanning over 145 acres of water parks, roller coasters, shows and interactive attractions. This park is expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs into the economy as well as giving the economy a boost with the use of local contractors for development.

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Makeover And Jobs Coming To Downtown Disney

Posted on August 9, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to Walt Disney World officials, over the next three years, Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island will receive a complete makeover that will help to create 1,200 new jobs.

Pleasure Island will take on the new name Hyperion Wharf. The new Downtown Disney district will include stylish boutiques, innovative restaurants and a lakeside park with pedestrian walkways.

“We have made great progress since first announcing our vision to bring new shopping, dining and entertainment experiences to Downtown Disney, many of which can’t be found anywhere else and have already become guest favorites,” said Keith Bradford, vice president of Downtown Disney. “We look forward to providing even more ways for our guests to enjoy Downtown Disney, while at the same time creating new jobs for Central Floridians.”

These additions will come alongside other projects under way at Downtown Disney, such as a renovation of the Lego Imagination Center and improvements to the AMC movie theater, including a bar and dining concept within the theater. Construction will also begin this fall on a new 50,000-square-foot bowling, billiards, dining and nightlife entertainment center, Splitsville. This new entertainment center will be located in Downtown Disney’s West Side where RideMakerz currently is. RideMakerz will be moved to the Marketplace area of Downtown Disney.

Overall, the additions to Downtown Disney are expected to create 600 construction jobs, 500 restaurant, retail and entertainment jobs and support 100 vendor and supplier jobs, which will be greatly appreciated in this poor economy.

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NBA Lockout May Affect Local Businesses

Posted on July 25, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The NBA lockout might threaten the Orlando Magic’s next season in Amway Center, but city officials say they’ll be able to pay the bills for their new building even if the Magic aren’t there. However, local businesses around the new venue may not be as lucky.

The Magic have played only a single season in the $480 million arena, which opened not even a year ago. With NBAplayers and owners still far from concluding contract negotiations, the lockout could last long enough to put the second season in jeopardy. Meaning lost jobs and a major decrease in revenue for the city and small businesses surrounding the arena.

The upside, as far as the city is concerned, is that when the new Amway Center was built a new contract was devised between City Hall and the Magic. That new deal provides an important safety net for the city. Under the new deal, the city is guaranteed a payment from the Magic — on top of the rent that the team pays — even in situations when the Magic don’t play or attendance plummets.

Next season, the team is on the hook to pay the city $2.8 million. Annual rent amounts to $1 million of that, and the rest comes from another contractual payment in lieu of the revenue earned from advertising, naming rights and luxury suites.

However, that does not mean there won’t be some financial pain for City Hall if the Magic fail to play. The city will lose out on a “facility fee” tacked on every ticket sold to an event at the Amway Center. At the same time, if a game is canceled, the city doesn’t have the expense of paying ushers, ticket-takers, security guards and others.

So while the city may be able to save some money, workers and businesses that have sprung up on Church Street to take advantage of Amway Center traffic will be losing out.

“We want to have an NBA season,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “Economically, I guess the venue would do better because we wouldn’t have to man the building, but it would so hurt the merchants around Church Street. The huge concern is not the impact on the city and its venues — it’s the income for everybody else who relies on events being held in the Amway Center.”

In the past year, many restaurants and shops have opened along Church Street due to the increased amount of business from the arena. And a lot of these businesses rely heavily on games and events to ensure customers.

With the Magic preseason scheduled to start in just 3 shorts months, local businesses and fans are hopeful that the NBA will reach an understanding and the lockout will not affect the city and our many local businesses.

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SunRail Set In Motion

Posted on July 11, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Governor Rick Scott announced on July 1st that construction on the 61-mile, $1.2 billion commuter train, SunRail, is allowed start rolling again.

SunRail, a Central Florida commuter rail transit project, has been in development for some time now by the Florida Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the federal government and local officials in Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando.

SunRail will run along a 61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks in the four-county area. The 31-mile first phase of SunRail will serve 12 stations, linking DeBary to Orlando. Phase II will serve 5 additional stations, north to DeLand and south to Poinciana. Construction is expected to begin this year with service is projected to start in 2013.

For more information visit: http://www.sunrail.com/

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1,200 Jobs Coming Soon To Orlando

Posted on June 27, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to company President Steven Auerbach, Connextions Inc., a privately held company and part of the New Mountain Partners II LP portfolio, a private equity fund sponsored and managed by Manhattan-based New Mountain Capital LLC, plans to add 1,200 jobs in Orlando due to new business growth within its health care customer base.

The positions will be added at its Orlando headquarters, as well as at a seasonal expansion site in south Orlando. Positions range from licensed and non-licensed health agent roles to coaches, managers and technologists.

To help fill the job openings, the city of Orlando is working with Connextions via a task force that includes several local organizations such as Workforce Central Florida, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce.

“The city of Orlando is leading this task force because we are committed to helping our residents find good positions during a tough economic time,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Information on the available positions is posted at http://www.jobs.connextions.com.

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Local Franchise European Wax Center Flourishing Despite Recession

Posted on June 14, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Despite a seemingly endless recession local newcomer European Wax Center continues to exceed even their own growth projections. European Wax Centers is one of the fastest growing franchises in the United States. In their first 12 months, they granted over 75 franchises in 15 states. Today they have 212 locations nationwide, with 15 locations already open in the state of Florida, and 8 opening soon.

Bearing in mind the dull performance of most businesses these days, many observers are questioning what’s the key to this extraordinary accomplishment. Judd Miller, an area developer for the chains located in Texas, says it’s simple, “people are still spending money as long as they are receiving value for their money.”

In other words, the European Wax Center franchise is founded on the principle of high quality service at unbeatable prices. In addition, there are several reward programs that will allow guests to receive up to a 30% discount off of the already low prices. Because the Reward Programs are usable at any location, and since locations keep popping up everywhere, European Wax Center has even managed to tap into demographic of consumers traveling on business.

By offering the same or even superior quality at nearly half the price, European Wax Center drives high volume business. And thanks to their Reward Programs, they are able to transform the volume into repeat business as well. Altogether, this combination has driven the remarkable growth that’s driving multiple store openings. Since the Center opened its first franchise here in Florida six years ago, the company has blossomed with over 212 franchises presently, and they’re aiming to open 1,000 franchises over the next six years.

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Keys To Company Facebook Success

Posted on June 2, 2011. Filed under: Business, Internet Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Nowadays, a full functional Facebook page is absolutely crucial for many businesses. And the attention that is showed to many company Web sites should also be shown to their Facebooks. According to Kimberly Maul, eMarketer writer/analyst and co-author of the new report, “Facebook Marketing: Strategies for Turning ‘Likes’ into Loyalty,” “The rapid adoption of the ‘like’ button and the rise of the Facebook ‘homepage’ are indications that marketing on Facebook has become a necessity for businesses large and small, yet the fact that some companies have made Facebook the primary way they engage with consumers online raises serious questions about the risks and rewards of marketing within another company’s structure and rules.”

The majority of Fortune 100 companies have begun using Facebook as a marketing tool and a recent report found that 44% in North America view Facebook as vital to the success of their company.

A study from WONGDOODY, a marketing ideas agency, delivered a list of standards for Facebook marketers. Among the 84 Facebook brand pages examined:

–       88% posted video content

–       82% solicited fan stories or comments

–       79% had their wall open for fan comments

–       66% actively replied to fan posts and comments

These stats are just the tip of the iceburg. There are many more tools available on Facebook for marketers to use to drive more customers to their pages. The bottom line is this: a company’s Facebook fan base is only as strong as the energy put into maintaining it.

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National Small Business Week

Posted on May 16, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This week, May 16-20, is National Small Business Week. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has declared National Small Business Week to distinguish the influence of small businesses to the financial security of this country. This pronouncement acknowledges not only our country, but also our city’s small business owners for the enormous role that they play in our community and local financial system.

Over half of Americans own or work for a small business, and ninety-three percent of the businesses in Orlando are considered “small” employing less than 50 workers. Orlando’s small companies provide needed and desirable products and services. These entrepreneurs help drive our local economy by employing residents and creating creating new jobs and opportunities, in the long run improving our great city.

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Small Business Hurt by Rising Gas Prices

Posted on April 18, 2011. Filed under: Business, NEWS, Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Based on a recent survey from DollarDays.com, the rising costs of gasoline are resulting in small business losses including revenue and job loss. In fact, over 25% of small business owners said that they will have to lay off employees. More than half of customers are driving less to shop therefore reducing sales. According to AAA Auto Club, gas prices are rising every week and are expected to worsen during the summer months. “With the recession and increasing fuel and food prices, being a successful small business owner is incredibly tough”– Marc Joseph, CEO of Pheonix-based DollarDays.

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Local Business Franchising in Orlando

Posted on April 4, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

A recent report on behalf of the International Franchising Association, or IFA, has projected that the number of new franchise units industry wide will grow 2.5% this year compared to a 0.3% increase from 2009-2010. This growth is also predicted to create 194,000 jobs.

There are several local companies here in Orlando that have succeeded in franchising, along with those that are just beginning to break into the market:

BrightStar– A full service healthcare staffing agency with 18 locations in Florida, four in the Orlando area. With 10,000+ baby boomers a day requiring senior care services, the demand for this type of service increases significantly.

Teriyaki Experience– One of three located directly in Orlando. This two year old company plans to open 150 quick serve locations throughout the state by 2015.

Welcomemat Services- They’ve spent eight years helping small businesses with their new mover loyalty marketing program where specialized technology stores and logs company demographics for use by the local companies it supports. Orlando has been named one of the top five cities for migration last year and Welcomemat is identifying Orlando as an ideal market for development.

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Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains Prominent in Orlando Areas

Posted on March 21, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Five Guys Burgers & Fries recently topped the charts as the nation’s fastest growing restaurant chain for the second year in a row. Last year, their sales grew 8% to an estimated $625 million while growing 35% in units. With Five Guys’ 15 locations in Central Florida, you can expect to see more popping up throughout the year, the most recent being their downtown Church Street location. Coming in a close second is Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches with 9 locations in the Orlando area, and third, Chipotle with their 16 locations in the region.

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All States World Cargo

Posted on March 18, 2011. Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Allstates WorldCargo has been providing transportation solutions for 50 years. They service manufacturers distributors and suppliers in different market segments such as pharmaceutical, retail, aerospace, automotive, medical, tradeshow, and government.  Products and services include:  domestic air and ground transportation services, international air and ocean services, truck brokerage services, and warehousing and distribution services. The office in Orlando has over 25 years of combined freight forwarding experience. For additional information please visit their website at www.allstates-worldcargo.com or call 407-857-5047 or email mco@allstates-worldcargo.com

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Orlando: One of the Best Cities to Work In

Posted on March 3, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

CareerBliss analyzed elements such as growth opportunities, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security and whether the employee would recommend the company to others. After applying these factors to businesses around America, they created a list of the best cities to work at. Out of the 50 cities ranked, Orlando placed number 20. With positive reviews from employees at UCF to Walt Disney World to PCL Construction Services, ‘work happiness’ is prominent right here in Orlando.

How’s that for a good start to your work week!

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Death of the Phone Book

Posted on February 21, 2011. Filed under: Advertising | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A recent survey done by Ron Sachs Communications assess the status of phone books in today’s media frenzied world. Findings conclude that the phonebook should expect its death in the next few years. Here are some of the more interesting stats based off the 1,100 adults surveyed:

  • 3 out of 4 Americans rely on their phones or internet for finding phone numbers
  • Only 3% of Americans have used the phone book in the last week
  • 8 out of 10 people between the ages of 18 and 29 see no use for the phone book
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans immediately discard their phonebooks (1/3 of them are under the age of 45)
  • About half of those surveyed imagine they will have less or no need at all for phone books in 5 years

And for us people in the advertising and marketing worlds: 51% of those surveyed admitted that the phone book had no influence on their purchasing decisions whatsoever.

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Air Tran’s Free Facebook February!

Posted on February 1, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Beginning this month, Air Tran Airways, one of Orlando International Airport’s largest carriers, will be partnering up with Gogo Inflight Internet and Ford Motor Company. They will begin offering free access to Facebook (the popular social networking site) through any of the customer’s Wi-Fi enabled devices. All through February, Gogo wireless network inflight will be enabled through a web browser for Air Tran’s many customers for free!

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OBR Minute: 11/10/10 – Gulfstream International Group filing for Chapter 11

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Gulfstream International Group registered for voluntary Chapter 11 in order secure long-term financing and restructure its debt. The company believes high fuel costs and declining traffic is responsible for its financial problems.

Fortunately, the airline doesn’t expect the filing to affect its flights. They also stated that they will honor all reservations and tickets.

As stated in a news release, Gulfstream said that it arranged for up to $5 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Victory Park Capital Advisors, an asset management firm with headquarters, dependent on court approval.

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OBR Minute: 11/9/10 – Florida newspapers struggle

Posted on November 9, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Orlando Sentinel circulations have dropped during the past year.

The weekly circulation has been down almost 5 percent from last year on the same day while the Sunday circulationh had a drop of 4 percent.

Other Florida newspapers have also taken a hit.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel suffered with a 7 percent drop in the Sunday circulation and a 2.4 percent drop for the Monday through Friday circulation.

Also struggling, the Miami Herald experienced a 10 percent decline in their Sunday circulation and a 6.6 percent downfall in their Weekly circulation.

But St. Petersburg Times had a different experience. They grew almost 2 percent in Sunday circulation this year from last year. Their weekly circulation only declined by 0.2 percent.

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OBR Minute: 11/8/10 – Amendment 4 defeated

Posted on November 8, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Amendment 4 was defeated by voters this past election date.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, the Amendment failed by 67 percent.In order for Amendment 4 to have been passed it needed 60 percent. The debate was centered on the possibility of increased costs in a weak economy.

The amendment was originally proposed in 2003 when supporters were worried about Florida’s uncontrolled growth. Florida Realtors opposed the amendment, which could have contributed to the defeat of the amendment.

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OBR Minute: 10/6/10 – Intuit expands in Orlando

Posted on October 6, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

According to a report from Intuit Inc., the growth rate for small business employment continued rising in September, but at a slower rate than the previous month, while hours worked and compensation remained essentially flat.

Intuit said its Small Business Employment Index found that small business employment grew by 0.14 percent in September, making it a 1.6 percent annual growth rate.

Even though unemployment is at 11.7 percent, Florida’s rate rose 0.2 percent.

Intuit said the revised growth rate for August shows that jobs increased more than previously reported.

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OBR Minutes: 10/5/10 – Digestive Disease Week held in Orlando

Posted on October 5, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , |

Orlando was selected as the host city for the Digestive Disease Week, which will be held at the Orange County Convention Center from May 19-22, 2013.

The annual convention usually draws about 20,000 medical professionals. The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the convention’s economic impact will be more than $38 million.

The last time Orlando hosted the Digestive Disease Week was  in 2003.

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OBR Minute: 10/4/10 – Alinean expands in Orlando

Posted on October 4, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Alinean announced plans to expand its employee base with at least 10 new hires over the next two years and lease additional new headquarters office space in downtown Orlando.

They were also approved to receive incentives from the state of Florida and the city of Orlando through the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refunds to extend its operations.

Alinean established its first office at the University of Central Florida Technology Incubator in 2001.

Alinean’s tools are used by companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, AT&T and many more.

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OBR Minute: 9/29/10 – Halloween sales expected to rise

Posted on September 29, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween won’t be so scary for retailers this year.

According to a new release, in its 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, consumers plan to spend an average of $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations, which is nearly $10 more than last year’s $56.31.

And total spending on the holiday is expected to reach $5.8 billion – about $1 billion more than 2009.

Gags & Games Inc. leased six Central Florida stores last fall for its Halloween USA chain. Their leases lasted three to four months. They were considered a good way to generate revenue in deserted spaces in the Orlando area.

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OBR Minute: 9/28/10 – Victoria Medical Park

Posted on September 28, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Florida Hospital DeLand Victoria Medical Park  will be opening Oct. 3.

The 25,000-square-foot complex offers women’s diagnostics, outpatient imaging, sports medicine, rehabilitation, a physician offices and a laboratory. It will be located across from Victoria Park’s retail village center.

Florida Hospital DeLand was established in 1962 and is a 156-bed acute-care hospital that is part of the nonprofit Adventist Health System — which also owns Florida Hospital.

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OBR Minute: 9/27/10 – Timeshare scams

Posted on September 27, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Several Florida law enforcement agencies announced a statewide crackdown on telemarketing operations by those peddling timeshare units resulted in four arrests, 137 cease and desist orders and some $125,000 in fines.

Sept. 13-17, state agents went out across Florida and visited 67 telemarketing operations in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Tampa.

Officials found several cases of unregistered business, unlicensed salespeople, and two employees who had outstanding arrest warrants.

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OBR Minute: 9/22/10 – Dyer selected for trade committee

Posted on September 22, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

President Barack Obama has appointed Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy & Negotiations (ACTPN).

The committee is a 45-member group appointed by the president to provide advice on matters of trade policy and related issues, including trade agreements. It is under the direct supervision of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, a Cabinet member who serves as the president’s principal trade adviser, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues.

Dyer was the only U.S. mayor selected to serve on the committee.

Dyer stated, “It is an honor to be asked to serve in this capacity, and I believe I can offer a unique voice and perspective to this committee and the president on behalf of the residents and businesses of Central Florida. This appointment also signifies Orlando’s increasingly important role in international tourism and trade.”

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OBR Minute: 9/21/10 – KB Home ranks No.1 in Orlando market

Posted on September 21, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to two new studies released by J.D. Power and Associates, KB Home was No. 1 on the list of new home builders in the Orlando market for customer satisfaction and new home quality.

A press release said KB Home received a score of 909 out of 1,000 this year, a 50-point increase from its 859 score one year earlier, in the 2010 new home builder customer satisfaction study. The study ranks builders in 17 markets based on sales staff, warranty/customer service staff, workmanship/materials, price/value, home readiness, construction manager, recreational facilities provided by the builder, builder’s design center and location.

Ashton Woods Homes was second to KB in Orlando market customer satisfaction with a score of 883.

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OBR Minute: 9/20/10 – Census shows 4.1 million uninsured in FL

Posted on September 20, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The U.S. Census Bureau published statistics that revealed 4.1 million people in Florida did not have health insurance in 2009.

The health care reform goal of getting insurance for nearly all Americans has a lot to work on, as it does in the rest of the country, where 50.7 million people were uninsured last year.

In Florida, 26.6 percent of people under the age of 65 did not have health insurance. From the under-65 age group, 58.7 percent of Floridians were covered by private health insurance and 19.7 percent were on government health insurance.

Nationwide, 18.8 percent of people had no health insurance.

The health reform law requires most people to buy insurance and most companies to offer insurance to their employees, and it expands the eligibility requirements for Medicaid.

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OBR Minute: 9/15/10 – Bahama Breeze at Waterford Lakes

Posted on September 15, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A new Bahama Breeze restaurant is being constructed for the east Orlando area, making the fourth in central Florida.

Mike Bernstein, the Bahama Breeze spokesman, said the restaurant chain plans to start construction in the next month on a new 306-seat, 9,400-square-foot restaurant in The Shoppes at Alafaya Trail shopping center in the Waterford Lakes area. Although the company is still in the process of buying the site they expect to close on the deal in the next 30 days.

The store is slated to be completed by next spring.

Bahama Breeze, a concept of Orlando-based Darden Restaurants Inc.(NYSE: DRI), will have 26 locations nationwide with the opening of this newest eatery in 2011.

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OBR Minute: 9/14/10 – Toys “R” Us opens stores in Orlando

Posted on September 14, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Toys “R” Us added eight temporary stores to the Orlando market, bringing its Central Florida total to nine.

According to a news release, the new Express stores are part of an effort by the retailer to open 600 such stores in malls and shopping centers nationwide during this year’s Christmas season, giving Toys “R” Us another 2.4 million square feet of toy-selling space for the holiday season.

The Orlando market got its first Toys “R” Us express store last year at Orlando Premium Outlets.

The new express stores will open this year are at The Florida Mall, Pointe Orlando, the Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach, Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves, Oviedo Marketplace, Lake Square Mall, Viera Market Center and Melbourne Square.

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OBR Minute: 9/13/10 – Island One Resort files for voluntary Chapter 11

Posted on September 14, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Island One Resorts Management Corp. filed for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization on Sept. 10 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Middle District in Orlando.

Island One and its affiliated entities filed for reorganization with liabilities/debts, an amount more than $148.3 million. Assets are estimated at more than $46.8 million.

The company currently operates nine resorts and employs 700 employees.

Among its resorts are Barefoot’n Resort in Kissimmee and Bryan’s Spanish Cove, Liki Tiki Village, Orbit One Vacation Villas and Parkway International Resort, all in Orlando.

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OBR Minute: 9/9/10 – Orlando market declining

Posted on September 9, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost half of the nation’s 100 major markets have more private-sector jobs today than they did 10 years ago. But only a third managed to post gains during the past year.

Houston leads the 47 markets that registered employment gains between July 2000 and the same month this year, with more than 195,000 private-sector jobs during the decade. Coming at second is Washington with a 10-year of more than 189,000.

Orlando continued on a decline that started in 2006. Although the area gained 61,000 jobs over the past 10 years, it lost 5,700 jobs last year, a decline of less than 1 percent.

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OBR Minute: 9/8/10 – Disney Entrepreneur Center plans

Posted on September 8, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Orange County Commission approved the Disney Entrepreneur Center’s planned relocation from the Landmark One building on Lake Eola to Orlando Fashion Square mall.

According to a news release, the entrepreneur center is expected to move in April 2011. The entrepreneur center, mall owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. and the mall finalized a five-year lease for 21,000 square feet of space on the north side of the mall, next to Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co.

Jerry Ross, executive director of the center, said in a prepared statement that this relocation will enable the organization to continue its growth, explore new partnerships and expand opportunities for Orlando’s small business community. Additionally, each organization that is part of the center is expected to see lower rental expenses at the new facility.

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OBR Minute: 9/7/10 – Orlando is placed 30th for stress level

Posted on September 7, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In a study evaluating the stress levels in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, Orlando ranked as the 30th most stressful market.

Even though Orlando didn’t rank among the most stressed out cities, among its stressors are:

  • A high unemployment rate of 11.7 percent
  • A 3.93 percent drop in per capita income from 2008 to 2009
  • 8 percent of families living below poverty level
  • A 26.86-minute average commute time to work

Certain factors add to the pressure Americans feel daily, including: unemployment and shaky personal finances to traffic, crime and pollution.

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OBR Minute: 9/2/10 – Geico, as Magic’s founding partner

Posted on September 2, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Orlando Magic have signed Geico as the fourth founding partner for Amway Center, its new $480 million arena opening in October.

The insurance firm signed a five-year deal valued in seven figures annually. In turn, Geico receives naming rights to a seven-level parking garage being built next to the arena and a skywalk connecting the two buildings.

Geico is also title sponsor of the 15-minute halftime countdown clock, a creative connection with the company’s advertising slogan, “15 minutes could save you 15 percent” on insurance. During the break, Geico’s logos will be posted on all club level signs,  in the arena restaurant and on all concourse.

The Magic’s first regular-season game at its new facility is Oct. 28 against the Washington Wizards. The club’s first preseason game is Oct. 10. As of last week, the first ticketed event at Amway Center was set for Oct. 7, an Eagles concert.

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OBR Minute: 9/1/10 – Orlando ranks 19th for TV markets

Posted on September 1, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to Nielsen, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne will remain the nation’s No. 19 TV market for the 2010-2011 TV season.

For the 2010-2011 broadcast season, Nielsen estimates the total number of TV households in the U.S. will rise to 115.9 million, an increase of one million homes from last year. He also estimates an increase of more than two million persons age two and older in U.S. TV households, for a total of more than 294 million people.

The rankings of the Top 10 local TV markets haven’t changed from last year with New York coming at number 1, Los Angeles landing at number 2, Chicago taking the 3rd spot, Philadelphia ranking at number 4, and Dallas coming at number 5.

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OBR Minute: 8/31/10 – How to answer your phone professionally

Posted on August 31, 2010. Filed under: OBR Minutes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sometimes the first impression we give our customers is through the phone and in order to ensure customers are being treated well it is important to follow these simple steps when answering the phone.

1.  Answer phone calls before the third ring. Most people are already annoyed if the phone rings for too long so avoid that tension altogether and pick up in a timely manner.

2. When answering the phone, be polite and enthusiastic. Your voice will set the tone for the conversation and will create an image about you.

3. Identify yourself and your organization. For example,”Good morning. XYZ Company. Kathy speaking. How may I help you?”

4.  Make sure that your voice is clear and relatively slow. No one likes to listen to someone over the phone who speaks too fast for them to understand.

5. Eliminate slang words and replace them with positive words. Replace words like, “No problem” with “Certainly”, or “Very well.

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