FANG Networking Group Expands With Valrico/FishHawk Chamber Merger

By Marie Gilmore

After 11 years, seven scholarships, 10 Back-to-School festivals and hundreds of meetings and members, the FishHawk Area Networking Group has merged with the one-year-old Valrico/FishHawk Chamber to create a stronger business organization in the community.

“FANG has been a wonderful group,” described founder and coordinator Marie Gilmore, managing editor of Osprey Observer Newspapers. “But it was time for the group to grow and become a more formal organization with access to more ways to impact the community. Our partnership with the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber will give FANG members access to ribbon cuttings, formal meetings, board member opportunities and membership perks of a Chamber organization.”

FANG met twice per month on the second and fourth Thursdays at the Palmetto Club in FishHawk Ranch for the last several years. Now, with the partnership with the Chamber, those evenings can be partnered with After Hours and networking events within the larger member organization.

“We are at the grass roots level of our organization,” said Chamber president Michael Holmes. “And it presents perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the founding members to shape an organization to help secure the future of the residential and business community for years to come. We are happy to welcome the FANG members into the Chamber and encourage them to get involved in their new organization.”

The Valrico/FishHawk Chamber was established in November of 2012 to focus on the growth and health of businesses along the Lithia Pinecrest corridor. The organization has a website at http://valricofishhawk.org/ and encourages participation. For information, contact Holmes at 380-4392.

Notable recent meetings include a visit from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who encouraged small business growth and pledged her support of small businesses. “This is the kind of programming we want to bring to businesses in our community and we are excited to get the next year of membership involved,” added Holmes.

The mission of the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber is: “To serve our business community as the preeminent catalyst for growth and improvement to home-based, store-front and virtual businesses based in our area.”