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August 2013  Newsletter
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For More Details
A Special Welcome To New Member

Ronald Smith
10221 Princess Palm Lane
Tampa, FL 33610

Thank You To Renewing Members

Dorene Collier
1608 N. 24th Street
Tampa, FL 33605

Teena Tatro
P O Box 11766
Tampa, FL 33680

Lisa Chillura
12902 Magnolia Drive, MBC-PR
Tampa, FL 33612

John Oliva
3104 North Armenia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33607

Brian Schaefer
1327 E. 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605

John Gibson & Lori Gibson
16005 Pennington Road
Tampa, FL 33624

Click on a
highlighted company name to learn more about your fellow members.

Ybor Chamber

Member Spotlight


It's never a good time to write a Member Spotlight on one of Ybor's restaurants right before lunch. I am so hungry! Member Pita's Republic, located in the heart of Centro Ybor, is a great place for a healthy lunch or late night snack. General Manager, Farid Atir puts his heart and soul into making Ybor's Pita Republic a delicious and healthy alternative to burgers and fries.


Founded by Moe Elkasri while a graduate student at USF, Pita's Republic has grown into a successful franchise with sixteen restaurants and counting. Their menu consists of unique pita sandwiches and Greek salads. Two of my favorite pita spreads are their yummy hummus and their avocado spread. I could eat them all day.


Farid is always looking for ways to encourage new customers and welcome his regulars. "Fish Friday" starts today, with $1.00 off fish pitas and "Meatless Mondays" begin this Monday, with $3.99 vegetarian pitas. Also starting Monday is "Do the Math," with two pitas, two sides and two potato salads for $13.95. If I did the math right, that's a meal for two for $6.98 each. That's hard to beat.


Tom, guess where we're going for lunch on Monday?


- Michele Keating


Farid Atir

Pita's Republic

Centro Ybor 

1600 E. 8thAvenue, Suite E-108 

Tampa, FL 33605






J.C. Newman Cigar Family To Receive Ybor City Chamber's
Gonzmart Award

The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce will be holding its 48th Annual Gala on Saturday, September 21st starting at 6:30PM.  The event features a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, and dancing along with the presentation of the Adela & Cesar Gonzmart Award.  The event can be attended by everyone including members and friends.  

Participate in the festivities by sponsoring the event, placing an ad in the event program, donating an item to the silent auction  and/or by buying a ticket to the event by calling Anna Ramos, Event Coordinator at 813.248.3712 x22.

Gala Logo
Upcoming Conventions 
September 14-21   
Estimated Attendance: 2,000
Exhibit Location: Embassy Suite Tampa-Downtown Convention Center


September 14-22
Estimated Attendance: 800
HQ Hotel: Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina

Tom Keating Head Shot

President's Message


Hola -


Usually "M" and I take our summer vacation in August, but for a variety of reasons, we went early this year (needed the R&R).  We drove along California's "north coast" all the way from Half Moon Bay to Mendocino.  We just happen to land in town for the Annual Mendocino Music Festival.  The only other time I have seen so many hippies in one place is Tropical Heatwave.  However, these folks were wearing flannel shirts and those funky fleece vests.  The temperature in coastal California was a not so tropical 57 degrees.  So, I am back from Nor Cal cooled-off, refreshed and ready for another round of "Chamber business."


We are getting ready for what I think will be a very good year.  The economy is picking-up a bit and I see more businesses opening in Ybor City than closing.  We are poised to break the 400 mark in membership and continue to build alliances with many other Tampa institutions.  The Chamber's new edition of its Walking Map & Guide is being distributed in both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, our display window at the 16th Street Garage has been refurbished and we have installed a new digital projector at our Visitor Information Center, along with a brand new presentation produced by Tampa Digital and narrated by Tampa's Poet Laureate, James Tokley.


I hope you will consider joining us for our next Membership Luncheon at the Columbia Restaurant, August 13th at 11:45 AM.  Paul Steinman, FDOT District 7 Secretary, will present on the status of the 21st/22nd Street Corridor.  The changes planned for this Ybor thoroughfare are very important to helping us reintegrate the East/West sections of the Historic District.  In addition, the Chamber Golf Tournament "traveling trophy" will be presented as well as the HCC - Lois Gaston Scholarship in Digital Media.


I am very excited that we will be presenting the 20th Adela and Cesar Gonzmart Award to the J.C. Newman Cigar Family at this year's Ybor City Chamber Gala at the Columbia Restaurant.  You will want to "save the date" Saturday, September 21st, 6:30 PM.  This year's theme is a "Caribbean Cruise" and the Gala Committee has outdone itself securing a 4-Day Cruise from our friends at AAA to raffle-off.


Ciao - Tom


Nor Cal's "Pianos on the Coast" takes a page from GaYbor's "Pianos in Ybor." 
Chamber Happenings  

August 13- Ybor Chamber Membership Luncheon, 11:45AM- 1:15PM-  The speaker for August will be Paul Steinman, District 7 Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation. Mr. Steinman will cover the changes taking place on 21st/22nd Street corridors. The August luncheon is highlighted by the presentation of the Chamber's Scholarship to Hillsborough Community College and the Golf Tournament trophy to tournament winners, The Radiant Group. 813.248.3712
September 21- The 48th Annual Ybor Chamber Gala and Adela & Cesar Gonzmart Award Presentation, Sat. 6:30PM- Join us at the Columbia Restaurant in celebrating the opening of the Latin social season and recognizing the many contributions of the J.C. Newman Family, operators of the last remaining production cigar factory in Ybor City. Tickets are $100 per individual and $190 for couples.  Anyone interested in sponsoring, advertising, donating and attending Gala should contact Anna Ramos at 813.248.3712 x22 

Events and Announcements by Tom Favata 

Click on the highlighted event name for more information.  

August 3- Casino Night Fundraiser, Sat. 6PM- 10:30PM- The Italian Club Cemetery Committee is holding  their annual fundraiser to benefit the up keep of their cemetery.  Attendees will enjoy dinner and table games with chances to win raffle prizes.  813.248.3316

August 7 and Sept. 4- Summer 2013 Passport Series: Wine Wednesday, Wed. 5:30PM- 7:30PM- Hillsborough Community College wants to take you around the world with the Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education series of wine classes. Attendees can look forward to 2 hours of sampling wines and learning about their unique qualities. 813.259.6552

August 8 thru 11- Rock n' Registration at ICCE- Now is the time to get registered for that certification or continuing education class you needed. Hillsborough Community College's Institute for Corporate & Continiung Education is offering online registrants expert online advice and a 15% discount during this weekend event. 813.259.6010

August 14, 21, & 28- The 4th Annual Ritz Ybor Ultimate Band Series, Weds.- Watch as bands compete for the crown of Ultimate Band!  Fifteen bands are judged down to 4 and will give their all at the Sept. 21st finals. 813.247.2555

August 14- Movies on the Patio @ The Dali Museum, Tues. 8PM- Continuing their "Cult Classic" series and adding to a prevalent surreal vibe the museum highlights the accomplishments of the world renown film...The Big Lebowski! Party like a Dude! 727.823.3767

August 20- Metro Wellness & Community Centers: Identity Theft Class, Tues. 6PM- 7PM- Learn how to protect your identity in this informative class provided by SunTrust Bank during Metro Wellness's August program schedule. 813.232.3808

August 23- Friday Night Out Presented by The Mancave Cigar Lounge & Barbershop, Fri. 7PM- Join The Mancave for an evening of appetizers, rafle prizes, giveaways, live entertainment, and cigar & drink specials.  As they say at the Mancave, "Live Life & Laugh!" 813.374.2196

Congratulations to our members Angela Rodante (Swope, rodante, PA), Sylvia Alvarez (Housing & Education Alliance) and Ali Carr (Ali's Specialties) on their recent nomations as finalists for Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2013 Business Woman Of The Year!

The Ybor City Museum Society would like everyone's help in gathering artifact's for inclusion in the Tampa Baseball Museum.  Check your closets and sheds for anything baseball significant to Tampa. It can be anything of historic significance from the pro's down to little league.

If you or someone you know is on an organic kick have them stop by new members, The Roosevelt 2.0, for the Twilight Market every Tuesday from 5PM to 10PM. They offer up goodies such as locally grown organic produce, local honey, baked goods, handmade soaps, gourmet popsicles and more!