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Coffee Talk

SKY Sotheby's confirms move

Looks like Coffee Talk was on to something when it reported last month that the word in local real estate circles was Brandyn Herbold, co-founder of Sarasota luxury real estate firm SKY Sotheby's International Realty, was planning a big move, possibly to Minnesota.

Turns out that despite Herbold's repeated denials to Coffee Talk, the agency is indeed opening a new office in Minneapolis and Herbold is indeed going to run it. Herbold and SKY Sotheby's co-founder Chad Roffers, both former Michael Saunders & Co. agents, will retain their leadership roles in the company - Herbold as CEO, Roffers as president.

Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates, Inc. President Mike Good says SKY was chosen to open the Minneapolis franchise because of their strong growth and track record in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The three-year-old firm had a 1.3% market share last year, making it the eighth biggest firm in its area in terms of volume, according to analysis by Coldwell Banker.

Roffers, a Minneapolis native who grew up there and in Florida, tells Coffee Talk the firm zeroed in on that market partially because it lacks a company with "laser-like focus on the luxury segment." Other factors include a steady relocation business, as 3M, Best Buy and Target are some of the corporate headquarters in the region and its size: The market is 3.5 times larger than the Sarasota-Manatee area.

SKY Sotheby's has been seeking to open a Minneapolis office for the past 18 months, Roffers says, and there are not current plans to open an office in any other market. With Herbold working primarily out of Minneapolis, it plans to open its first of two offices in the area next month.

Review gets an intelligence boost

The Review is welcoming another member to the family: The S2 Report, a free daily business newsletter sent by e-mail. Entrepreneur Anand Pallegar, who owns Sarasota-based Web design and marketing agency atLarge, and Kendall Jones, a former senior and contributing editor with the Review, published the first S2 report Jan. 6, 2005. The report is a combination of local and national news, in addition to a calendar of business events.

To subscribe, go to

For curious Coffee Talk readers, S2 also stands for the calling sign for a battlefield-based military officer concerning any type of intelligence. The publication's name, Pallegar says, is purely a coincidence.

Chico's continues transparency

Fort Myers-based Chico's FAS is known on Wall Street for its straight talk with investors and a recent filing demonstrates that once again.

As first reported on the financial blog, a site that digs through corporate filings, Chico's employment contract with new merchandising officer Michelle Delahunty-Cloutier is unusually easy to read. What's more, it explains exactly how the company calculated the $920,000 of options and restricted stock she will receive.

"Trust me here - that kind of detail is very rare," says Michelle Leder, who runs

Leder points out another interesting tidbit: there's a clause in Delahunty-Cloutier's contract that says if CEO Scott Edmonds leaves the company during her first year, she can voluntarily terminate her employment within 90 days.

Tired of golf? Treat customers to the circus

Here's a break from the norm: Instead of taking your important clients for another round of golf or treating your star-performing employees to a four-star dinner, how about a night under the big top?

Pedro Reis, entrepreneurial founder of Circus Sarasota, is always thinking about new acts and new angles. With the circus celebrating its 10th anniversary this season, Reis has been busy this summer recruiting new acts for his February production: "Celebrating a Decade of Excellence."

To draw the corporate crowd to see some of the world's best circus performers, Reis has begun promoting the use of a VIP tent for corporations' employees or top customers. Want to know how to juggle many tasks at once? Well, see how the real jugglers do it in person. Need to lighten up? Clown around before the show with some of the best clowns in the business. We'll make it easy for you: Call 941-355-9335 or email [email protected]. Coffee Talk will attest to the show: It's a great entertainment.

Circus Sarasota will operate from Feb. 2-25 next to Ed Smith Stadium at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue in Sarasota.

Tampa Bay still has work to do

There really weren't any surprises in the newest economic development scorecard of the Tampa Bay region. A newly released study by the Tampa Bay Partnership shows the area lags behind other Southern metropolitan cities when it comes to affordable housing, but the seven-county region excels in job growth.

What CEO, employer or employee in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Hernando or Polk counties would disagree with that assessment?

"We really want to get the dialog going," says Betty Carlin, communications manager for the partnership. "It's not just the price of housing, it's also the wages. We're looking at all the interconnections between the different components."

Tampa Bay wages are lower than Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Dallas and Jacksonville - the five benchmark metropolitan regions used for comparisons.

All isn't bad, though.

"Our wage growth has increased faster than all of those other regions so we're on the right track," Carlin says. "We need to keep attracting those higher-wage jobs."

Governmental leaders should continue recruiting efforts on companies with higher paying jobs, such as technology, financial services, biomedical and life sciences, Carlin says.

Overall, the Tampa Bay region fell to third place from second in January. In first and second place were Charlotte and the Raleigh-Durham area, respectively.

And fast job growth, while good news for employees and the economy, signals an increasingly tight labor pool for employers.

How Tampa Bay Compares

Indicators Tampa Bay Atlanta Jacksonville Raleigh/Durham Dallas Charlotte

Job growth 3.76% 3.75% 3.63% 3.55% 3.50% 2.63%

Jobs created 66,800 85,300 21,600 25,500 94,800 20,500

Unemployment rate 3.1% 5% 3.2% 3.8% 5.2% 4.9%

Labor force growth rate 3.23% 3.29% 3.17% 3.69% 2.61% 2.76%

Source: Tampa Bay Partnership

A friend of Florida business?

Even though the position of lieutenant governor in Florida is far from a decision-making powerhouse, Coffee Talk did a double take when Republican gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist picked Cape Coral State Rep. Jeff Kottkamp as his running mate.

Kottkamp, 45, doesn't come off as overly business friendly: A trial attorney for well-known personal injury firm Morgan & Morgan, Kottkamp was the only Republican to join Democrats in attempting to squash a major piece of legal reform to come out of Tallahassee during the last session.

Known as joint and several liability, the bill, which ultimately passed, eliminated the provision that made deep-pocketed defendants financially responsible for insolvent co-defendants. Pro-business groups and other Republicans statewide, including Gov. Jeb Bush and Sarasota-area congressional candidate Vern Buchanan, supported the bill for several years.

Partially because of that vote, Kottkamp was given an 85 rating by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the worst rating among all Republicans in the state House.

Still, Crist and other Republicans point out that Kottkamp's overall record is much more in tune with conservative views. He has regularly voted against tax increases, for example, and he was also part of a group of conservatives that refereed to themselves as the Freedom Caucus when he was first elected to the state House in 2000.

Kottkamp's district includes Lee and Charlotte counties. He was chairman of the Lee County Bar Association before he was elected to the House.

Another cool confernce in Sarasota

Who said Sarasota doesn't get cool and hip conferences?

Last month, the initial Sarasota/Manatee Technology Conference: Integration at the Crossroads wowed a few hundred tech-interested entrepreneurs. Next up is the inaugural Sarasota International Design Summit, hosted by the Ringling School of Art and Design.

The three-day summit scheduled for Oct. 9-11 has a star-studded roster of speakers, including Helen Stringer, a Procter & Gamble design director who plans to talk about how the massive company integrates design into every aspect of the business; Target Corp. vice president John Remington, scheduled to speak about how the retailer's mission to "design for all" transformed its brand; and Ping Fu, CEO of software services firm Geomagic and Inc. magazine's 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year, who plans to talk about how advances in rapid prototyping and mass customization are transforming the manufacturing industry.

Ringling School officials say the goal of the summit is to show how the country's leading organizations and businesses are using design to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Other topics on the agenda include corporate strategy and operations, healthcare and industry cluster planning. The summit will be a combination of speeches, panels, workshops and networking events.

Venues for the summit include the Ritz Carlton, Sarasota and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center. Go to for more information or to register.

English spoken here gets roar of Approval

When Peter Anderson of Bayshore Solutions recently told the CEO Council of Tampa Bay that if they called his St. Petersburg-based company as a customer, they'd hear English, the CEOS roared with applause.

It seems the Tampa Bay area's top executives have also experienced that continental divide when the person on the other end - in India or China or some other country with cheap labor - is unable to understand the caller or vice versa.

"You mean the Queen's English," one chief executive yelled, referring to Anderson's native country of England.

Florida's largest banking markets

South Florida's Miami-Fort Lauderdale area certainly is the state's largest banking market with 118 financial institutions and $138.1 billion in deposits, according to the Federal Depository Insurance Corp.

But if the FDIC combined the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area with the banks in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, the combined area would have 107 institutions, nearly as many as South Florida. Though, it would still lag on deposits.

As it stands now, the banks in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties have 65 financial institutions with deposits of $42.6 billion, making the area the second largest banking market in the state.

The fifth largest market is Sarasota and Manatee counties, with 42 banks and about $16 billion in deposits.

The Orlando region is third with about $30 billion in deposits in 48 institutions. Fourth-placed Jacksonville has 37 institutions with $25.3 billion in deposits.

Advice from a futurist: Focus on leadership

Companies that want to succeed must place an emphasis on leadership development programs that teach supervisors to coach and mentor employees to help them achieve their potential, futurist Jay Jamrog told the CEO Council of Tampa Bay.

Businesses that don't develop leaders and employees will be unable to compete effectively in the marketplace, Jamrog says. As the labor market continues to tighten with the retirement of the Baby Boomers, employees will migrate to companies where they feel valued.

There'll always be employees available, but skilled, quality employees will be hard to find, says Jamrog, executive director of the St. Petersburg-based Human Relations Institute at the University of Tampa.

American Management Association surveys show year after year that leadership is the No. 1 issue for companies, he says, adding: "What we looked at in the best companies is what do they do different from the other companies? What we found was the best companies don't cut corners."

In the study of 1,500 companies around the world, HRI discovered that companies usually know what's important in leadership, but they don't always act on it. But "best-in-class companies are committed and unrelenting in their pursuit of leadership excellence."

TIB Financial targets Charlotte and Sarasota counties

TIB Financial Corp., the Naples-based bank-holding company for TIB Bank, is eyeing the Charlotte and Sarasota markets for future expansion, according to an analyst who follows the company for investment banking firm Ryan Beck & Co.

Ed Lett, TIB's president and chief executive officer, acknowledged the bank's interest in expanding to Charlotte and Sarasota counties, though he says there is no current timetable for the expansion. "It's no more than a vision and a concept right now," he says. "We like to think ahead."

In 2004, TIB Financial moved its headquarters from Key Largo to Naples as it expanded into Lee and Collier counties with five bank branches from Naples to Fort Myers. TIB Bank has $1.2 billion in assets with a total of 16 branches. It plans to add six new branches in Lee and Collier counties within the next two years, though Lett declines to say exactly where they will be located for competitive reasons.

The Lee and Collier growth will then serve as a springboard to grow into Charlotte and Sarasota counties, where TIB is considering either buying branches or establishing new ones. "With respect to expansion plans, it is relevant to note the increasing premiums associated with recent branch and institution acquisitions in Florida, which will likely weigh heavily upon the company's strategy," wrote Ryan Beck analyst Jacqueline Reeves.

However, Lett says some of the smaller-bank transactions have become more reasonably priced lately. Still, Lett says TIB will focus on building branches in Lee and Collier counties before making a move northward.

What's Ahead...

Oct. 12 - Looking for results intead of talk? T. Harv Eker, author of "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," is the guest speaker at the 7 a.m. meeting of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay. CEO Council Chairman Dean Akers says Eker is a world-class speaker who'll discuss how to go from zero to millionaire in 2 1/2 years. The 3 1/2-hour meeting is at the Mainsail Suites, 5108 Eisenhower Blvd., Tampa. Visit for information on the members only event.

Oct. 27 - The Apex Award will be presented to a woman who has been nominated by her peers for outstanding achievement in career, community and leadership. The black-tie gala will be held at Harborside Events Center in Fort Myers and it begins at 6 p.m. To register, visit the Web site of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce at

Nov. 2 - The 2006 Southwest Florida Community Blue Chip Business Awards will be held in Naples at 7:30 a.m. and Fort Myers at 11:30 a.m. The awards program recognizes successful small-business owners who have overcome adversity to achieve success and share their stories as models for other entrepreneurs. For more information, visit or call 239-985-7614.


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