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Ed Chiles

Ed Chiles

Owner, The Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants

“Business is good across the board in all three restaurants. We’ve been truly blessed to be on Anna Maria Island, which, in the worst economy of our lifetime, has done extremely well. You can probably count on your fingers and toes key places across the country that have somehow been held harmless from this terrible recession, and Anna Maria Island is one of them.

“This market has a quality that people are looking for today: Authentic, great value, family oriented and laid-back. Our job is to make sure we cherish and protect and nourish that.”

 

 

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Art Conforti

Art Conforti

Owner, Beneva Flowers

“The economy is rebounding, and we’re seeing an uptick. We’re expanding our delivery areas because more people are using us in Bradenton and Venice, so we recently purchased Flowers by Don in Bradenton to help at that end.

“Most of our business is now coming from technology; I created the very first mobile app, Floralapp, in the floral industry two years ago, and we now have it in more than 400 flower shops across the country. We cut down to 41 employees [at the height of the recession]; we now have 48.”

 

 

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Sharon Carr

Sharon Carr

Owner, Carr’s Corner Cafe

“My grandfather started a little breakfast and lunch counter opposite Ringling College back in 1958, and I started this café here 10 years ago. It’s very hard to get known up on the North Trail. I do have a loyal clientele from all the schools, especially the professors, and a lot of people in the arts eat here. Summertime gets a little quiet. It picks up once the schools get back, but this year it didn’t pick up as much as in previous years.

“I have had several calls for catering this week, from a neighborhood group, a teacher and a Ringling meeting. I think this is going to be a good season if you get creative. I’m trying to launch a healthy meals to-go venture; I have 10 clients already.”

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