Joe GonzalezJoe Gonzalez

CEO, ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design

“We are a Venice-based lawn and landscape-maintenance company that covers Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. I started in 1990 as a four-man business, and now we employ between 200 and 250 seasonally. About 75 percent of our maintenance business is with homeowners' associations.

In 2008-2009 we had to realign our pricing.

Now a lot of our customers are coming back with the realization that you get what you pay for. Our landscape business, which was really faltering, has picked up, too. Builders are coming back and homes are selling. We’ve picked up $2 million in revenues over last year, and we’re forecasting similarly for next year.”

Annette Sciolino-GueliAnnette Sciolino-Gueli

Owner, Promotions Notions

"We’re a marketing company that does printing on promotional items. We offer close to a million items via our website, notionsunlimited.com. I moved the business here from Buffalo in 1998. We’re a certified minority-owned business so we do a lot with the state—the health department, state parks, local colleges. Visit Sarasota County is a longtime client.

February was a record-breaking month, a 30 percent increase over February 2011. Year to date I’m up 14 percent. Now that tourism is up, my clients whose revenue is directly related to that have more of a budget. More clients are participating in expos, so they’re buying items to give away. Some are buying employee-incentive items, and a lot have moved, so they’re buying items to promote their relocation.

Amanda VincentAmanda Vincent

Owner, Amanda Vincent Hair Studio & Boutique

"I’d had a salon for seven years in mid-Sarasota County and moved downtown Oct. 1, 2010.

Business is fantastic. I came with a clientele, so I wasn’t trying to build as much, but I find I’m getting new customers from downtown residents and from people who work downtown.

There are lots of walk-ins for my jewelry and hair products, with all the boutiques and quaint shops down here that bring people to the area. The roundabout construction this winter slowed business a little as far as walk-in traffic, but more than anything it just slowed my days because my regular customers were getting lost and turned around until they found me."

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