Sarasota: The Best Place to Live in Florida

US News & World Report ranked Sarasota #21 on its list of the Best Places to Live in the United States. Citing our climate, beaches, and culture, the index placed Sarasota higher than the other Florida cities on the top 100 list, with Tampa coming in at 35 and Orlando at 40.

While it’s great to see publications recognize our “little big city” in this way, maybe it would be better to keep us a secret? Already, our “net migration” is at a 10. We’re feeling it in the traffic!

Sarasota: #2 Moving Destination in the United States (Combined with Tampa)

Sarasota: #2 Moving Destination in United StatesFor the second year in a row, Sarasota made the “Top 10” list for moving destinations in the United States.

In its annual report published January 22nd, Penske Truck Rentals shows Sarasota climbing from the #10 slot last year (based upon 2012 data) to the #2 position this year (based upon 2013 data) in a new combined entry with Tampa. The company analyzes its one-way truck rentals in order to determine where people are moving within the United States.

Atlanta remains the top destination in the US for this year, and the Orlando—the only other Florida city in the Top 10—holds on to its number 4 slot.

Not surprisingly, Penske cites “the Northeast” and “the Midwest” as big originating points for many of these migrations.

Given this year’s harsh winter conditions, it’s easy to picture this trend continuing in 2014.

Why Combine Tampa and Sarasota?

The report acknowledges Sarasota’s previous #10 ranking, but fails to mention the rationale behind combing Tampa and Sarasota into a single, new entry for this year’s report. I guess we can speculate that Tampa, which didn’t make the Top 10 last year, must have seen an increase throughout 2013. CNN Money apparently believes that Tampa is the only city worth mentioning, as they dropped Sarasota completely from their story about the report. HuffPo managed to get it right, including Sarasota in the #2 slot.

As any resident of the region knows, the Tampa market and the Sarasota market are significantly different. In an infographic published with the report (see below), Penske compares a couple of key market dynamics which they compiled from other sources.

It paints a somewhat amusing picture of the region, showing Sarasota’s median income at $40,813 (6% less than Tampa’s $43,514 figure). Seeing that number compared side-by-side with the average listing price, which is $613,779 for Sarasota (compared to Tampa’s $258,675 average listing).

So… on average, we make 94% of what Tampa’s residents make, but our real estate costs 2.37 times as much as theirs!

Well… that’s the conclusion someone might draw who looks casually at Penske’s data, anyway.

The true story, as we know, is much more complicated than that. Thanks to the perfect storm of 2008, which combined the collapse of the residential housing market and a local Sarasota economy overly dependent upon new construction, our real estate is still a jumbled mess of foreclosures, an unusually high percentage of rental properties, and vacant or abandoned houses. That mess, alongside so many high-end properties on Casey Key, Longboat Key, Bird Key, and Siesta Key (let’s hear it for the #1 beach in the US, right?), makes for a statistician’s nightmare.

In any event, it’s nice to see Sarasota make the list again, even if we were combined with Tampa to get to #2. Perhaps the real estate market will really finish its rebound! Well… one can hope, right?

Top Ten Moving Destinations 2013 - Penske Truck Rentals

Infographic: Penske Truck Rental
Photo of Sarasota: Stephen B. Goodwin via Big Stock

Ziglar Philosophy Carried By New Generation

Tom Ziglar with his father, Zig Ziglar
Tom Ziglar with his father, Zig Ziglar
Tom Ziglar with his father, Zig Ziglar (Photo courtesy of Ziglar, Inc.)

Tom Ziglar is uniquely qualified to talk about success. For nearly all of his 47 years, Tom has absorbed first-hand the wit and wisdom of  the man who is arguably the world’s best-loved motivator and success speaker: Zig Ziglar. And for the last 16 years, Tom has carried the responsibility for the success of the family business as CEO of Ziglar, Inc—America’s leading motivational and personal development training company. Tom and two of his sisters, Cindy Oates & Julie Ziglar Norman, represent the next generation of Ziglar bringing “The Ziglar Way” to a new generation of business people.

With his father slowing down (the elder Ziglar last spoke publicly in December, 2010), Tom is now carrying the torch of articulating the world-famous Ziglar philosophy from the stage as well as from behind his desk.

“Tom is not his father,” says David G. Johnson, founder of Sarasota-based Nourish The Dream, which regularly schedules Tom to speak at its business events. “You aren’t likely to see Tom zipping back and forth, up and down and all over the stage like you did Zig. But his message is no less compelling, and the insight he brings as the person responsible for implementing his father’s concepts—with everyone watching, I might add—is in many ways even more valuable… especially for today’s small business owner. We are proud to have Tom on our stage.”

Nourish The Dream is serving as the local host for Ziglar’s “Born To Win” small business growth workshop, a one-day event jam-packed with training that will help any business owner improve operations. Florida events are coming up in Tampa on November 15th and in Sarasota on November 16th.

“Tom and business associate Howard Partridge have created a revolutionary day of training,” says Johnson. “From phenomenal referral marketing systems to solving the number one problem facing business owners today, this one-day workshop is literally changing the lives of business owners. Many feel like their business depends completely upon them and that they can never truly get away from it. This day will change that.”

Howard Partridge is an eight-time small business owner from Houston, Texas, who started his first business out of the trunk of his car over 25 years ago. Today that business continues to produce millions of dollars a year in revenue and operates almost completely without his involvement.

“We got to know Howard and chose him to provide coaching to our small business owner clientele. He represents the highest levels of integrity and is a perfect match to the Ziglar philosophy, which is a very high standard. I’m proud to work alongside him to help small businesses become more profitable and more efficient,” says Tom Ziglar, who will be taking the “Born To Win” events to Australia with Partridge later this month.

When not in front of an audience or conducting local training workshops for business owners around the globe, Tom can be found spreading the Ziglar philosophy via next-generation media like Twitter, where he has amassed a following that numbers more than 71,000 people.

“I think Dad is a prophet and knew years ago that Twitter was coming,” says the younger Ziglar. “Almost all of his quotes are 140 characters or less!”

The full-day “Born To Win” workshop takes place on Thursday, November 15th at the Wyndham Westshore Hotel in Tampa, and on Friday, November 16th at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Sarasota. Registration is $97, which includes a spouse or business partner, and is available by phone at 214-912-5795 or online at BornToWinFL.com.

 

Sheraton Tampa East Hotel – This Place is Great – You Just Have to See It

I took the family to Tampa’s new Sheraton (Sheraton Tampa East Hotel) this past weekend and was immediately blown away by the beautiful design and decor of this hotel. My first impression was that an artist must have designed this space. The lobby feels huge, bright and inviting; there are unique nuances to the architecture that compel you to stop and just enjoy the view before checking in to your room. There were so many areas for guests to sit privately or in large groups within the lobby and multiple computer stations. This is a great feature for business-minded people staying at the hotel.

Although this particular trip was for pleasure; as an event planner, I never miss an opportunity to scout an entire property to establish which types of events would do well at the location. Most hotels are designed around a certain type of audience and event, so they can’t accommodate anything outside of that target audience – at least not well.  However, the Sheraton Tampa East has meeting space for every kind of event and the meeting spaces are separated in such a way that multiple events could be taking place simultaneously without interfering with one another. There were board rooms, a grand ballroom, smaller dining areas and a hallway of smaller meeting spaces that would be great for break-out sessions. It is difficult to find spacious pre-function areas for receptions or event registrations anymore because many hotels have chosen to condense those spaces into crowded hallways. I was delighted to see multiple pre-function options that would add class  and efficiency to any event. If you’re an event planner, contact Judy Hollister at (T- 813-246-7120  M – 813-957-3380). She took the time to give me a full tour after normal business hours on a Friday – very nice!

The staff gave impeccable service from the registration desk to the extreme cleanliness of our room. They made us feel like welcomed guests. This hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to many area restaurants and attractions. We took advantage of this service on our first night and the driver was very knowledgeable about the local area. He asked about the kind of evening we wanted and made recommendations accordingly. We chose dinner at The Cheesecake Factory at The Westfield Brandon Mall, which was only minutes away from the hotel.

We also enjoyed the lovely pool area, which was very clean and set in a relaxing atmosphere. Just off of the pool deck was the large fitness room, filled with many workout options. Admittedly, I did not work out; but keep in mind, this was a pleasure trip. A couple of other notable features are the well shaded complimentary parking lot, the computerized reader board for searches of the local area and things happening on-site, the excellent food served in their upscale Panfilio’s Bar and Grille restaurant and one of my favorites: a 100% non-smoking facility policy.

It may seem like I have gushed a bit too much here, but I am not usually impressed by a hotel and the Sheraton Tampa East Hotel was a first class experience. I would highly recommend that you book a room and check it out for yourself. Then feel free to let me know if I am way off base or, as usual, spot on with my assessment.

Yours Truly,

Cheryl