Osprey Nokomis Florida Chamber of Commerce


Norma Martin, a Woman of Substance


Celebrating Norma Martin’s 100th Birthday

Norma Martin

It was clear from our first meeting nearly 6 years ago that Norma was a Woman of Substance.

Bentley’s Hotel had just completed it’s first phase of a 5 year refurbishment program and was hosting an open evening for locals to see what all the fuss was about. Norma of course attended and from that moment on has been in our lives as a dear friend and business acquaintance ever since.

Norma reminds us so much of the time we worked with the Royal Household, she has a similar presence of character when she walks into a room to that of Her Majesty herself and we were comforted in that memory from the first time we had the pleasure of meeting with her.

It was very clear to us from the offset that this lady is indeed a fountain of knowledge that only the annuls of time will allow a person to absorb. Rarely does such a wise person retain the kindness of heart and tenderness of soul that Norma exudes in such abundance.

It came as little surprise to any of us when requesting volunteers to help start a Chamber of Commerce in our sleepy hollow of Osprey and Nokomis 3 years ago, that Norma would indeed throw herself into this business community venture. In doing so Norma promptly held court and offered a wealth of information as both she and Jack, her belated husband had been involved in the original Chambers way back in the 50’s and 60’s.


Osprey Nokomis Chamber hosts special Birthday party for Norma at Bentley’s Hotel.

Norma is indeed a dear friend to all that know her and she has the ability to light up a room simply by standing in it. She is a fabulous lady with a heart of gold but do not be fooled, beneath the surface of this beautiful Centurion is indeed a business woman that can still represent you and ensure that your house purchase will complete in a timely and professional manner.

Norma you kindly opened your arms and greeted us with love, friendship and generosity of spirit when at first we landed at the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in our hotel adventure here at Bentley’s.

Norma's radiance lights up the room!

Norma’s radiance lights up the room!

You have talked us through the hard times and encouraged us with your wealth of knowledge throughout , as a business owner in the area I speak for us all when I say thank you for all that you are and all that you have done for our community.

You truly are our Lady Norma Martin of Vamo,  Opsrey and Nokomis.

Congratulations on your 100th Year and may you have many more birthday celebrations in the years to come.

We really do all love you Norma, God Bless…” Forever Young” Norma Martin.

Rod Thomas

ONCC President

Sarasota Observer Article about Norma

January 10, 2015 |

Ain’t Love Grand


osprey-nokomis-florida-chamber-new-logoRarely do I get the time to think about writing, most of the time I find myself in a quandary because my deadline has passed and honestly I am not sure what to write about.

Tonight however, it is different. I have “one already in the bag” as they say in the movies and now I have time on my hands.

Kimmie is in bed with a sore neck, the dog is beside her and the cat lying over her head so she is in good hands and paws.

Myself, well that’s another story! My brain is ticking and bedtime is at least 2 hours away at this moment in time. Now I have a moment to reflect and put pen to paper once more without interruption or deadlines to meet.

I have met some very clever people in my time, writers, musicians, business owners and developers. Some have become great pals yet others do not truly light my fire. My great friend of yesteryear that actually is no longer on my Christmas Cards list once told me that; If I reach for the stars and only get to the moon I would have achieved greatness, If I reached for the clouds and didn’t make it, then I would have failed miserably and achieved nothing. Richard was trying to tell me to reach high, touch the sky.

His words stuck with me for all of these years yet I never truly appreciated what he was trying to tell me. The truth of the matter is that I have watched many families over the years and it is not money nor is it business success that makes for a happy family. LOVE makes for a happy family and LOVE makes for a happy life.

To find love when your pockets are bare and life is a struggle just to make ends meet is a gift. For those of you out there that; smile because you love your partner, despite the crusade to keep your heads above water. I salute you.

For those that just grin and bare it, simply because the money and lifestyle has sucked you in, Wow if only you knew what you were missing.

Love is the very reason, in my opinion that we exist. It is love that separates us from any other planetary species. Without the love of our spouse, family friends or God, you truly might as well not exist.

Life is not about driving a big flashy car, living it large in a flashy mansion, showing off to people that really could not care less. I really like nice things and have owned many in my time but if you are asking me what I have learned over the last 50 years, it is that love really is the only glorious feeling that lets me wake up every day smiling and allows me the chance to turn off to the day to day difficulties that pop up from time to time. The love for my family, friends and my God is what makes me truly tick. How about you lot?

Love hurts sometimes, but the lack of it is more painful than any man or woman should endure.

Your Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce, where you are never far away from a friend. Now that’s what I call magical.

Love it! Live It, Join It: www.ospreynokomischamber.com Never regret it!!!

Don’t forget to tune in to www.radioearnetwork.com Chamber Chat every Thursday 3:00 PM or Sunday at 10:00PM where you are the STARS!!!!

If you would like an interview with Kim and Rod I order to showcase your business, hobby or even life story, please call: Rod Thomas 941-266-6462

This really is an experience you will enjoy and help benefit your business.

Have a great week Shipmates.

December 1, 2013 |

Wake Up Osprey Nokomis : A Message…


osprey-nokomis-florida-chamber-new-logoWake Up I have Just found the ideal job for everyone that gets pulled from pillar to post!

Hello fellow Noskomians (Osprey Nokomis people)

Living in the hotel and dealing with every day issues is very rewarding. (To a point!)

Imagine that you have 150 toilets, 150 children, 150 bathrooms, and 150 customers along with 50 members of staff, 7 days a week. Now remember that we are living in sunny Florida?

What has this all got to do with me I ask? And I know you are asking!!

The fact is , that if you think running a family is tough, think again! I invite you to run and operate “An Hotel;” !

Bloody hell this was so much more than I had anticipated.

However my fellow chamber colleagues and yes you too John and Crew at Lowes!

I have the perfect solution:

Looking into the depths of our pool, I noticed some black spots. A quick trip to Pinch a Penny followed by a brief discussion with my old British Mate Geoff (Who promised to join the Chamber, but as of now still has not offered his money) I am assured that a little elbow grease with a stainless brush followed by a quick scrub of a chlorine block will eliminate the issue.

Of course the pool we speak of holds in excess of 40,000 gallons and this means that the scrubbing will entail total submersion and probably 2 tanks of oxygen .

Leaving my mobile to one side and adorning my diving gear was somewhat liberating. 4 hours later I rise to the surface having scrubbed that pool from shallow to deep, and I have to tell you; “This was MY most pleasant job in the history of Bentley’s”:

My phone was switched off there were no dire emergencies and I did not have to listen to the ridiculous prattling’s and inter departmental struggles that only belong in an hotel.

For 4 hours I was immersed in a silent exuberance of floatation luxury, armed only with a stainless scrubbing brush and a ring of solidified chlorine.

No noise, no grief, no band trying to book an event, no broken toilet, stuck safe, warm fridge, hot corridor, faulty light. Failed coffee machine, no ice, gecko running across the floor, she said, he said, burned toast, raccoon in bin, noisy neighbors, wet bed, blocked toilet. The list is endless and I have only scratched the surface.,

Do I enjoy diving.. Too bloody right I do and now more than ever. It Is the one time I can be free from the woes of this lovely business they call (Hospitality) indeed I believe that the description is in fact a wise one. Hospitality

Anyone who imagines hospitality is anything short of a trip to the hospital for exhaustion or mental illness is sadly mistaken.

Unless you have diving gear and are prepared to dive and scrub the pool for a couple of hours or more a week, then I would strongly recommend that you look for alternative career.

I was a great technology ombudsman, why oh why did I feel the need for a change in career at 55 yrs old? Do I regret it? Hell Yeah! Would I turn the clocks back? (and lose you lot)! Hell NO!

I Love my job, it’s just the job that I have trouble with!!

Thank God for Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce, without you lovely people I would be lost in space.

I Love Osprey, I Love Nokomis but most of all I love the people that live and work here.

Cheers shipmates


September 24, 2013 |

Osprey Nokomis Chamber Connects Globally


osprey-nokomis-florida-chamber-new-logoTarget Marketing Helps Osprey Nokomis Chamber Connect With a Much Larger Audience

The Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce is now “On the Global Map” so to speak.

Thanks to the help of Sue and Gus Traeder, owners of Target Marketing Promotion Services, the ONCC has a Google+ Local Business Page as well as the latest in website technology.

One of the first of it’s kind, the new mobile-responsive directory style website is designed with the Chamber’s Member businesses in mind.

The user-friendly website directory features Chamber businesses and local events with their own listing pages complete with an interactive mapping system and driving directions, all the popular social media share buttons, photo slideshow, website and other important links as well as a business description and contact information.

Unlike most websites today, the Osprey Nokomis Chamber’s new site design is search engine optimized and displays correctly on ANY mobile device including tablets and smart phones. It’s responsive design combined with a specialized search and mapping system allows visitors to quickly search for and locate a business, event or area information 24/7 whether they’re at home or on the go! (since 30-60% of local searches originate from a mobile device this allows ONCC and it’s member businesses to connect with a much larger audience)

Visitors can register on the site to add a review (which are moderated), comment on new articles or “Favorite” a local restaurant, hotel, shop or favorite business.

And, current Chamber Members can submit their business listing (or special event) for Free!

Annual membership to the Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce is only $60 but, that may be changing… With the increasing traffic to the new website and growth of the membership the Chamber will soon require additional services and possibly an office space of it’s own.

For now, the Chamber office is located inside Bentley’s Hotel in Osprey and much of the Chamber responsibilities are divided amongst a small group of volunteers.

Maintaining the new website, chamber chat radio program and print media directory are also extra costs for the ONCC. Any members that would like to help can advertise on the website or print directory and/or donate to the Chamber’s Technology Fund. (PayPal link is on the site)

Target Marketing is helping the Osprey Nokomis Chamber be found online where it never was before… with thousands of searches each month for the Osprey Nokomis Florida  attractions and business services, this extra exposure will bring more visitors to the area and new customers to the local businesses and Chamber Members.

As they say, “Build it and they will come…” but, the right marketing help makes a difference!

Look, Listen and Learn about the Osprey Nokomis Florida area by visiting www.ospreynkomischamber.com or tune into your very own local web radio http://www.radioearnetwork.com/chamber-chat.html  at 3:00PM every Thursday. (and Sundays at 10PM)

Cheers Folks!!

Have a Brilliant Week

Rod Thomas

September 12, 2013 |

I Am A Lucky Boy


osprey-nokomis-florida-chamber-new-logoAs if living in Osprey Nokomis SW Florida isn’t enough to make me feel very blessed. I am reminded on a daily basis that it is not just the climate, the soft sands and blue sea, nor is it simply the array of different restaurants, music venues or stunning walks and waterways.

So often I speak of friends that I have made in the very short space of time that I have lived here in Osprey. Just yesterday for example I was walking down the aisles of Lowes down at Palmer Ranch and I was greeted by John with a huge smile. John begged the question: “So, what is your wife’s birthdate”? For those of you that read the Venice Gondolier Sun on a regular basis, you will know that that was the very question I failed at my interview with Homeland Securities.

That little comment made me smile from ear to ear in the knowledge that at least there are a few of you that read and take interest in the lives of the locals, here in this wonderful province of South West Florida. John promptly walked me to his desk drawer in the commercial section and produced an array of old copies of the Sun and pronounced proudly that he and his wife read it religiously.

I was humbled and at the same time proud to say that he has become a friend of both Kimmie and my-self over the last year since they opened their doors here on our doorstep. John is typical of the lovely people that I am so very blessed to meet on a regular basis.

Another dear friend that I was proud to have met was Jack Snyder. Jack sadly passed away last week and he, today, is being laid to rest in the land that has for many years been his home of choice. Jack my old mate, safe onward journey and thank you for your friendship.

It is true that not everyone I get to meet have the same impact as the likes of John or Jack however, for those of you that have made such an impact on my life here, I do not want to wait until my eulogy is being read. Know that you have all made a huge impact on my life and thanks to your friendship I awaken every morning in my own paradise.

The Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce is more than just a gaggle of hungry business owners, it is a group of people willing to help one another and befriend like-minded characters.

For those reading this article that have never stepped into the Chamber corridors I ask you to check out our website www.ospreynokomischamber.com

or tune into your online Chamber radio service every Thursday at 3.00PM www.radioearnetwork.com

Then you will get to understand where my enthusiasm for this organization has it’s roots. The doors of this Chamber are not locked to those of you that live here in Osprey and Nokomis and do not have your own businesses. The doors are open to all because we all have one thing in common. Osprey Nokomis is our home and there truly is “No Place Like Home”

God Bless You Jack Snyder and God Bless your family at this sad time. In our thoughts and prayers.

Jack Snyder a good man. A very good man.

July 14, 2013 |

Why Join the Osprey Nokomis Chamber ?


osprey-nokomis-florida-chamber-of-commerce-logoWhy should I join the Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce”?

It has done nothing for me over the last 12 months”

Try explaining that to the Board and other equally enthusiastic members. Osprey Nokomis Chamber was formed voluntarily just 12 months ago and in that time has established itself as a very friendly and motivating method of networking with other businesses and like-minded people in the area.

The art of establishing yourself within the community and getting noticed is fundamentally very easy. To succeed, just be pleasant, honest and make the effort to get out there and meet everyone just once or twice a month. I will guarantee that anyone person that says; “I have not gained anything from the chamber” has not given anything back either.

The membership count as of today stands at 180 and I envisage a drop in these stats because some members from last year were expecting something that quite frankly was not feasible in our very first 12 months. This coming year however, we have some very special projects on board that will not only encourage membership but also business growth to the area.

The annual cost of membership to Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce is ridiculously low at just $60.00. With the continued support of Tim and his team at the Venice Sun we still highlight a new business every week completely free of charge to the Chamber members ( A whole page dedicated to Osprey and Nokomis Chamber). As an active member myself I too recommend local businesses to my customers every single day. My fellow board, committee and regular members also share the same goal which is to keep business local. If we were in a position to keep an account of monies transferring hands thanks to the word of mouth and trust between us, perhaps those that question would realize, actually we are all doing a fantastic job.

I have mentioned this also so many times before and mention it again now. Since just 12 months ago I have made more very close friends and acquaintances than at any other time in my life. For the very first time in the four and a half years that I have lived here, I now see Osprey and Nokomis as my home. A home full of friends, a home that I look forward to waking up to and a home I look forward to living the rest of my life in, with my wife Kimmie and of course the rest of you out there that know us.

Has Osprey Nokomis done anything for me? Oh my goodness gracious me, “Yes it most certainly has, it has changed my life”

If you truly care about your local business community and want to meet great like-minded friends and build your sales-force by at least a further 100 professional sales people, then do yourselves a favor and join today.

Do Not however, even consider paying your money and sitting back waiting for a knock at your door, the chances are it will not happen and yes, you would have wasted your $60.00.

Osprey Nokomis Chamber of Commerce will this year be working for you, the community and Habitat for Humanity. Do not miss out on your opportunity to help make a difference not only to your community but to your very own businesses too.

Watch out for news on the new Opsrey Nokomis website and business directory, just two of the very exciting issues currently being dealt with behind closed doors.

See you out there very soon.

Rod Thomas


July 1, 2013 |

Osprey Nokomis Chamber New President


osprey-nokomis-florida-chamber-new-logoOsprey Nokomis Chamber: The BIGGEST little Chamber in the USA

Well folks it looks like you are all stuck with me for the next 12 months. Ven has stepped down as President in order to pursue and concentrate on his business interests as well as opening the position for others like myself.

Ven has become a very close friend and we continue to talk and debate the chamber on a daily basis. It only feels like weeks ago that we all stood in First America Bank and discussed the process required to start a local Chamber. Little did we know or understand about the efforts it would take to get it off the ground, nor did we know at the time how enthusiastic so many of you would be in ensuring it worked.

I am extremely proud to have been invited to play a part in the resurrection of this fabulous local enterprise and hope that it continues to grow and that our friendships also continue to strengthen.

The grass roots have been sown and now it is time to nurture and grow. In order to do this I have committed to various areas which, include but are not restricted to: The website, accounting methodology, communication, advertising and area marketing, community awareness and charitable functionality. Along the way we will be organizing the Osprey Nokomis Water Festival and perhaps some other smaller intimate events to get us all in front of the local community.

Osprey and Nokomis Chamber with the help of various partners that include the Venice Sun (God Bless Them) thanks Tim, encourage local businesses to do business with one another. I do not believe for one minute that this is a business life-line however with a little effort from each member all of our businesses have a sales-force of nearly 200 Chamber associates.

Very soon we will have our first edition of the Osprey Nokomis Business Directory, I am going to make sure that this issue is not only informative about the businesses within our fabulous area but this issue will indeed be an historic one that will become a keepsake for all those coming to our area and even those of us who are lucky enough to live here. Look out for the opportunity to advertise in it as it will be a first come first serve until the pages and spaces are filled. We are going to ensure that the costs are kept to a minimum so that even the smallest businesses can afford entry. We will also be holding an open forum for all members who are interested. Bryan Guentner and my good-self will ensure that you are all invited closer to the time.

Today I am meeting with Sam Gold and Ven Konuru to start work on the Osprey Nokomis Chamber video that will include interviews with various local business members/personalities and highlight the breathtaking scenery that we sometimes so easily take for granted. The purpose of this video is to showcase the beautiful area of Osprey and Nokomis, the businesses that are situated within it’s boundaries, the history of the whole area with the help of Historic Spanish Point not forgetting Oscar Scherer Park. The video will be an ever evolving showcase and we will be looking to show it in various locations across the USA and indeed abroad in “Good Old Blighty” (Britain).

These are simply insights as to what we have planned moving forward in the hope that you will be encouraged to continue and support the vision by renewing your membership of this fabulous and unique Chamber of Friendship and Commerce that we know as ONCC.


Thank you Shipmates

Rod Thomas


June 17, 2013 |

United We Stand, Divided We Fall


osprey-nokomis-fl-local-businessThen join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”

At last the committees are ready to roll with a host of local business characters at the reigns. We are all, so excited and also I have to admit somewhat relieved that there are so many like-minded members that share the vision.

The reality here in Osprey and Nokomis is that despite being surrounded by Sarasota, Siesta Key and Venice we really do have a voice and expression of local character that could only truly be heard by stepping outside of the Floridian boundaries etched on maps over many years. We are not competing with the fabulous organizations that surround us, indeed I for one am retaining my membership with Venice because they are a thoroughly professional and extremely engaging. Winning the large business of the year category last year came at a time when we really needed a “shot in the arm” and the support of our business community. None of us here at Bentley’s will ever forget that support and in turn when business peaks settle down and our building works are completed I for one will strive to support our community wherever possible.

In the meantime I sit here in my office with my leg off, (oh the freedom)! leaning back in my chair breathing deeply and knowingly that what we have all put together is a good thing with a great purpose. We the business community of Osprey and Nokomis, Venice, Siesta Key and even the almighty Sarasota, I believe share common goals.

To success and by success I mean a shared success to be enjoyed by all. Our mission should be one of honesty and integrity. Our hope should be that we leave a future free of greed, deceit, dishonesty and cruelty. Our purpose should be to support one another at every given opportunity.

In July 1768 “The Boston Gazette” published the immortal words of John Dickinson in “The Liberty Song “ which, holds as much meaning today as it ever did way back when:

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”

I hope one day that I will live to see an end to the glutinous greed of the few and the poverty of the many.

I hope that one day I will no longer have to listen to the sickening No Win No Fee commercials, fueling our heathen human desire for easy gain at great cost to our business communities across the Country.

I hope that one day I will be able to walk into a hospital and not be confronted with a “Stand and Deliver” (Your money or your life)!! Scenario. The “daylight robbery” taking place every day that helps feed the fat financial institutions and those that knowingly scavage off the families that have been ruined at the cost of simply trying to stay alive.

So often I have started a letter with the words: I am an ordinary chap with a simplistic outlook on life. I am not trying to preach I am just writing my views down as a method for me to understand and find a way to make things better.

Working as we all do in our localized pockets of industry we all have a role to play, supporting each other, recommending a business in your area, utilizing a business on your doorstep. Knowing the businesses in your area will not only help bring you wealth, it will help bring your community wealth.

Do not however, always perceive that wealth is a financial statement. Indeed one can be wealthy in many ways. Look around you from time to time and watch the smiling faces as you go about your daily routines. You will be surprised just how wealthy this community is, even in the heart of a financial depression.

Share the smiles and you too will share the wealth. Share the wealth and you too will share the smiles. You see, like my views and I, it really is rather simple.

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”

Keep your local business


Keep your business local

Rod Thomas


June 17, 2013 |
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