News briefs – March 2011

OldStoryImageSpence Honored as Top “Thought Leader”

Business consultant and Business Report columnist John Spence has been named one of America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders by Trust Across America, a group that is dedicated to identifying people who can genuinely transform and reverse the cycle of mistrust in business.

Spence, who lives in Alachua, advises top business leaders and consults with some of the country’s leading businesses, from Merrill Lynch, GE and Microsoft, to the Mayo Clinic, Verizon and the PGA Tour. He also has authored two highly regarded business books and is now working on a third.

Also among the honored were Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last; Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust; Warren Bennis, founding chairman of the University of Southern California’s Leadership Institute; best-selling author and Harvard business school professor Bill George; Tony Hsiesh, CEO of Zappos and best-selling author; and Tom Peters, business guru and co-author of In Search of Excellence.

“Each recipient has made extensive, positive contributions to building trust in business,” said Barbara Kimmel, Trust Across America’s executive director, in a release. “These individuals are inspiring organizations to look more closely at their higher purpose…to create greater value for, and trust from, all of their stakeholders.”

 

Commercial Expansion Coming to Tioga

Tioga Town Center in Jonesville is expanding, with two new businesses opening recently and three more planning to launch this fall. More is in the works as the center plans additional parking and commercial space.

The newly opened businesses are GatorTec and Bike Works.

GatorTec offers computer repair, training and sales. Owners Jim Dufek and Tony DiFranco have 30 years of PC and Apple computer service experience. GatorTec is an approved Apple Service Provider.

Bike Works is a full-service cycling and repair shop that carries Giant, Ellsworth, Niner and Orbea brands. Thirty-five percent of the inventory is women-specific.

Businesses expected to open in the fall are Guy Harvey’s Island Grill, Golf & Tennis Etc. and Lowry Financial Advisors.

Created by artist, explorer and angler Guy Harvey, The Island Grill will specialize in seafood. In addition to the restaurant, the facility will include a retail art gallery and store featuring work and apparel by Harvey and ocean muralist Robert Wyland.

Golf & Tennis Etc. will offer equipment fitting, a professional repair center, swing evaluations and brand-name gear.

The restaurant and golf shop will add 45-55 jobs and 14,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, says Gil Levy, president of Tioga Town Center.

Lowry Financial Advisors, which is relocating from Tower Road, offers business and estate planning, retirement analysis and other financial services.

In addition to the news businesses, Tioga Town Center is in early stages of developing a third commercial building in the center’s northwest corner. That phase should be completed in about two years.

In the meantime, the center is paying to add a traffic signal at Newberry Road and SW 131st Street to make it easier to enter and exit the commercial and residential areas.

“We wanted to give people more protection when exiting,” says Levy. “Traffic increases significantly during peak times or when new businesses open.”

AMJ Awards Free Office To Deserving Start-up

To help a promising start-up business thrive, AMJ, Inc. has awarded the firm free office space for a year.

Youtorial, an online tutoring service that wants to revolutionize the way people learn computer software, won AMJ’s competition for the space, based on its creativity and the likelihood of its continued growth, says Beau Beery, AMJ’s vice president for commercial real estate.

AMJ decided to give away an office suite because it wanted to do its part to help stimulate the economy and create local jobs, and “2011 is a make-or-break period for small businesses,” Beery says.

University of Florida graduate Austin Cooley founded Youtorial in 2008. Its product is already earning praise, with the Kauffman Foundation choosing Youtorial as a finalist for its Labs Education Ventures program. As a finalist, Youtorial will receive $35,000 plus networking, mentoring and education training for six months.

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