Is there any way to change something that has been hugely successful without ruffling some feathers?
Based on the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC)’s recently announced name change to the “North Tampa Bay Chamber,” the answer is probably “no.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the name change wasn’t a necessary thing to do, nor has it been anyone’s plan to throw away all of the good will that has been created by the only Chamber of Commerce Wesley Chapel has known for the last 20 years.
Even so, CEO Hope Allen of the new North Tampa Bay Chamber has been hearing some unhappiness about the Chamber’s name change from people who wonder if the newly named Chamber will still be the first place people see when they search “Wesley Chapel Chamber” on Google or Facebook.
“We still own the name and the domain name online, so we should still come up when people are searching for Wesley Chapel,” Hope says. “Once we completed our acquisition of the Greater Pasco Chamber last year, we knew we’d have to change the name. We also knew that there was no way to please everyone, no matter what name we chose.”
Even though Wesley Chapel has been the name (and the community) that has given the Chamber its identity the last two decades — especially during the last few tremendous growth years that are continuing to make “The Chap” one of the fastest-growing communities in both Florida and the nation — the fact is that the expanded Chamber (which also acquired the failed New Tampa Chamber of Commerce a few years ago) no longer is confined geographically to “just” Wesley Chapel.
“We are now the largest Chamber in Pasco County,” says new Board Chair and local dentist Dr. Zack Kalarickal. “But, we also serve the businesses in New Tampa, Lutz (where the Chamber recently moved to a new office), Land O’Lakes, Trinity and even north Pinellas County. And, our name needed to reflect that.”
Some of the Chamber’s members have been trying to find a way to still incorporate Wesley Chapel into the new name, even if it has to be a subhead. As the primary news media in Wesey Chapel, I also found myself wondering what anyone could do to somehow not lose the Chamber’s Wesley Chapel connection.
Although I couldn’t come up with a name that would make it work, I hope there could at least be a subhead or subtitle that says something like, “Built in Wesley Chapel; Building a Chamber to Serve the Tri-County Area.”
Whatever you call it, the newly expanded Chamber has more than 800 member businesses and has renewed its commitment to WCNT-tv — Wesley Chapel & New Tampa Television.
To that end, I hope you’ll check out the next several episodes of WCNT-tv’s “Chamber News,” which feature Dr. Zack being interviewed by WCNT-tv’s Mollyana Ward (photo above), shot at the amazing Overnight Success Studio owned by Chamber member Miroslav Beck. Those segments are available now on our Neighborhood News Facebook page and on the WCNT-tv channel on YouTube.
I also hope you’ll keep an eye out for some exciting announcements about the only web-based “TV channel” serving both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. The new Chamber may be expanding beyond those borders, but we will continue to focus our energies — both online and in these pages — on our two “home” communities.
Taste 2018 Off & Running!
I’m also really excited about the plans for the 2018 Taste of New Tampa & Wesley Chapel — on Sunday, March 25, noon-4 p.m., at Florida Hospital Center Ice (in conjunction with the new Chamber) — as the Rotary Club of New Tampa hosts the event for the second time. Last year, my restaurant committee was able to attract nearly 50 restaurants and beverage providers and about 2,000 people attended. This year, sponsorship committee co-chairs James Carner and Jason Contino already have surpassed last year’s sponsorships and I’m already at nearly 25 food and beverage providers, with just about six weeks still to go until the Taste.
Those sponsors (in alphabetical, not monetary, order) already include:
•Acme On The Go
•Audi Wesley Chapel
•Campaign of TK Hayes
•Family First Allstate
•Ierna’s Heating & Cooling
•New Leaps Academy
•Murtha & Murtha LLC
•Suncoast Credit Union
•TSYS Merchant Services
•Usman Law Firm
Among the new restaurants already committed to serving samples at the Taste are Acai Brazil, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Cappy’s Pizza, Cinebistro at The Grove, O’Brien’s Irish Pub, Pinchers Crab Shack, Taco Son, Texas Roadhouse, Top Shelf Sports Lounge and Wicked Chickens, Deviled Eggs.
For more information about the 2018 Taste, including how to pre-buy tickets or volunteer, visit TasteofNewTampa.org! And, check out our exclusive Taste 2018 Preview Section in our next issue of Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News!