CARROLLWOOD — For the past 27 years, its resources have allowed business alliances to form, customer bases to grow, ideas to be shared, know-how to be fostered and most importantly, local businesses to prosper.
Since 1986, the Carrollwood Area Business Association (CABA) has helped shape the economic landscape for northern Hillsborough County, and in the process, has provided clients and business owners with guidance, stability and resources.
On July 10, CABA held its annual election for its 2013-14 board of directors, and outlined some of its recent accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year. Currently, CABA — a business professional association — offers access through personal, technical and written means to more than 400 business owners and representatives in the greater Carrollwood and Tampa areas.
At a recent meeting — between CABA Executive Director Maria Patterson, outgoing President Wendell Hock and CABA secretary Erin Hesbeens of PNC Bank — upcoming events and outreach programs were discussed. Held in the PNC Bank boardroom, 8351 N. Dale Mabry Highway, the members said the business association has actively broadened its programs to be inclusive to all businesses around Tampa, and not exclusively north Tampa.
The organization reaches out through weekly events such as coffees, after-five gatherings, “power lunches,” “Lunch & Learns,” networking and others.
Hock joined CABA when it started with about 25 business owners. A senior regional leader with Primerica, a financial services distributor, he said when he first moved to Tampa from New York in 1996, he was looking for clients and agents for his business and joined the then-new CABA. He said it’s been an invaluable resource ever since.
“I’ve gotten clients and developed a lot of strong business relationships and friendships by working on the committees in CABA,” he said. “You meet local business owners and we encourage people to do business locally. We’re all in this together and a lot of the mom-and-pop businesses need local support.”
On July 31, CABA, based at 13014 N. Dale Mabry Highway, held its annual awards dinner when the six top members for the year were announced – including Patterson, who was Employee of the Year.
Patterson said what makes CABA a great resource is its cooperation with other area networking groups such as the Carrollwood Chamber of Commerce, the North Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Carrollwood Community Bar Association, Operation Helping Hand, the Carrollwood Cultural Center and local government. She noted a July 25 “Christmas in July” joint event with Tampa Bay Business Owners as an example, which drew more than 500 business participants to Pepin Distributing Inc. to meet, mingle and exchange.
“Every organization offers something unique. We partner together and share opportunities,” she said.
Hock said the partnerships also bring thousands of dollars per year into the community through fundraising for local charities. In 2012, CABA donated $1,500 to Operation Helping Hand for wounded veterans, for example. Other ways CABA gets involved and contributes financially to the Carrollwood area is through participation in VillageFest, The Great American Teach-In, Walk Like MADD, Tour de Village, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Kids’ Day in The Village and the Northdale Family Fun Fest.
Over the years, Hock and Patterson said they’ve heard current and former members lauding the benefits of CABA financially, socially, professionally and personally.
“Every business is looking for an efficient way to market and advertise and CABA gives them the opportunity through the website, business expos and networking events,” said Hock. “There are a lot of things for our members to do to get their business’ names out.”
The 2013-14 CABA board members are: Wendell Hock, Primerica, president; Kristin Votta, Fitness-Tek, president-elect; Lea Orchard, Great Clips, immediate past president; Tim Castle, Bay Cities Insurance, treasurer; Erin Hesbeens, PNC Bank, secretary.
For information, call Patterson, (813) 264-0006, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.usecaba.com.