Co-owner, North Port Taekwondo
“We opened our martial arts facility in 2003, and our geographic market is within a five-to-10 mile radius. Since 85 percent of our clients are under 12 years old, we became business partners with North Port schools. We sponsor [their] events, and they pass out approved flyers. We saw a decline in 2008. 2010 was static, but now—it’s not bustling—but there is a comfort level. We sell six- to 12-month programs, and there’s not a hesitation to commit. That means people are secure enough in their income and living status.”
Owner, Suncoast Gem Laboratories
“People are feeling more comfortable and buying more expensive pieces of jewelry again. Last year was the first time in 10 years our numbers went below $1 million, but this year started with a bang. We’re already surpassing last year’s numbers. We have owned our own space in Bradenton for 11 years. Most of our business is local referrals, but we have clients from all over the country. As a master gemologist appraiser, we’re unique in that we can do what other jewelry stores cannot. I’m one of those people who believe it will only get better.”
President, Pet Doors USA, Inc.
“We have manufactured the Plexidor Line of pet doors in Manatee for 26 years, and we were beat up [by the economy] in 2008-09. For the first eight months we went to five-hour work days, then gradually added it to six hours and on up, until finally we had overtime pay in 2010. This year we have added two new employees. We ship all over the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian market is doing very well. My advice to other companies would be to reach out and try to export. Our business is up three-fold because of [broadening] our sales and marketing.”