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The North Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Business of the Month

Featured on this page are the most recent Business of the Month promotions for the last four months.   For more information on how you, as a member of the North Tampa Chamber of Commerce, can become the next Business of the Month, Click HereNot a member?  Join now!

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART)
Kemly Jiménez Green, Community Relations Specialist

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART)Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority's (HART) service area is approximately 1,000 square miles, which is almost the same size as Rhode Island. With more than thirty local routes, eleven express or limited express routes, one MetroRapid North-South route, five HARTFlex routes, and approximately 3,100 bus stops (of which one in four are covered), HART can be your transportation solution. You can also park in one of our twenty three conveniently located Park-n-Rides. HART Takes You There.

Here is a sneak peak of some of HART's exciting new initiatives:

  • Regional Revenue Collection and Inter-Jurisdictional Mobility Project: HART leads this project across Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and Sarasota counties. When complete, patrons will travel across the Tampa Bay region seamlessly using one fare media, available on smart cards and downloaded to mobile devices.
  • First Mile/Last Mile Transportation Solution: The Authority is investigating a partnership with a transportation network company to offer a dynamic ridesharing service as a complement to existing transit services. The First and Last Mile Solutions Project will include a smartphone application that allows real-time ridesharing matching and rider incentives. The shared transportation provider should promote multimodal transportation options in the community and enhance HART fixed route services by extending into areas of the county that currently do not have mass public transportation.
  • CNG Vehicles: HART is the first Florida Transit Agency to begin transitioning vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The fuel is cheaper, cleaner, safer, and American made. Additionally, because CNG burns cleanly, 80% of engines which typically have to be rebuilt within five or six years, can now last the full length (roughly 12 years) of the life cycle of the vehicle. This leads to long-term cost savings.
  • Voice of the Customer: HART is beginning a process-oriented and engaging approach to create and implement a comprehensive Voice of the Customer (VOC) measurement system. Passenger surveys were conducted throughout August. Staff will use survey data to create a customer satisfaction measurement system (scorecard) that will identify the quality attributes to be incorporated into the agency's processes and/or services. HART management will maintain the scorecard once the program has been developed and implemented.
  • MetroRapid East-West (E-W): This line will be the next step in bus rapid transit (BRT) style transit. This new route will tie together Temple Terrace, mid-town Tampa to Tampa International Airport (TIA) or the proposed intermodal center in the immediate TIA area. Engineering on the East-West MetroRapid is at 30% but awaiting completion funds.

Planning on riding HART for the first time? Getting started is pretty simple. Try our trip planner on the top of the page at

For more information, contact the HARTinfo Line at 813-254-4278.

Walter Walker, Jr., Director of Education & Counseling


Walter Walker, Jr.Housing and Education Alliance (HEA) is a 501 (c) 3 HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency that was founded in 2002 to provide culturally sensitive bilingual housing counseling services to our community. As an affiliate of The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and a member of their NCLR Homeownership Network (NHN), HEA is able to bring additional resources to help the residents of the communities we serve.

At the start of the foreclosure crisis, budget cuts and diminishing funding caused Sylvia Alvarez, Executive Director, to make the hard decision to close the agency. When staff was given the news they all refused to stop working. Staff said there were no jobs any way so they might as well help others. So for more than 3 years many staff members worked for little to no salaries which caused all staff to face the same fate their clients were facing. Due to making the decision to become volunteers for so long all HEA staff either lost their own homes or were in some phase of the foreclosure process.

Because of this selfless act, over 10,000 Tampa Bay families received the free foreclosure help we were there to provide. This story did not go unnoticed and HEA was presented with many awards and much recognition including winning the coveted Non Profit of the Year through the PBS franchise the "Be More Awards". HEA survived long enough to stage a comeback. New supporters appeared offering funding for HEA's programs.

Members of HEA staff contribute to the private industry sector by participating in workshops or speaking at industry events. In February 2009, Sylvia Alvarez, was the keynote speaker at Fannie Mae's Women's History Conference in Washington, D.C.

Together Sylvia Alvarez, Executive Director and Walter Walker, HEA's Director of Education co-authored a book entitled "The American Nightmare - Strategies for Preventing, Surviving and Overcoming Foreclosure." The book was endorsed by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and funded in part by Freddie Mac. It was translated into Spanish and is used by housing counselors and families facing foreclosure. Sylvia and Walter were the featured guests at Neighbor Works Author's Luncheon in Atlanta in 2009 to highlight their work on the book. They have also been guests or featured in several local and national media including Bloomberg Radio, Ebony magazine,, Time magazine Online, Radio and TV, Wall Street Journal and Yahoo News.

HEA has become an agency known for "punching above its weight" in the housing market. Sylvia Alvarez has been invited to the Washington, DC 6 times to consult with high level White House staff regarding housing issues and she has been appointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board and the JP Morgan Chase Advisory Board.

HEA continues to make strides and adding programs to help our communities with housing issues.

Some of these programs include:

Home Buyer Education
HEA is currently under contract to the City of Tampa to provide Education and counseling to first time home buyers; thus allowing eligible participants to receive up to $15,000 in assistance.

Foreclosure Prevention
HEA offers free counseling for individuals and families who may be at risk of loosing their home to foreclosure; the State of Florida provides up to $40,000 in financial assistance to help prevent foreclosure to eligible households.

Financial Literacy
HEA provides basic financial literacy education and coaching to any one seeking to improve their current situation.

RU Lender Ready
HEA provides counseling and assistance to anyone who has questions or problems with their credit and who wants to apply for a first mortgage.

HomeTRACK Online Education
HomeTRACK is an online education program intended to serve the needs of those who because of work or other issues are unable to attend a classroom Home Buyer Education Course. Home Track is accepted by the Florida Bond and Hardest Hit Programs.

If you want to learn more about HEA, HomeTRACK or our other programs visit us at, you will also find a short demo of HomeTRACK.

Kelly Winterling, Sales & Marketing Manager

Horizon Bay LutzHorizon Bay Lutz offers Independent Living and Assisted Living services for seniors.

Just north of Tampa in Lutz, Horizon Bay Vibrant Retirement Living is situated on five acres and surrounded by wildlife, trees and ponds. We are located off Nebraska Avenue (Hwy 41), about a mile north of Bearss Avenue, across the street from Publix and behind the River of Life church. Our neighbors are a farm with horses and an organic vegetable garden. Birds, rabbits and butterflies are frequent visitors.

Our two-story building consists of 85 apartment homes, all with high ceilings, 6-foot windows, full kitchens and walk-in showers. Three activity rooms, a library, billiards room, and beauty and barber shop are conveniently located in the building. Outside, a walking path circles half of the property.

Residents especially appreciate our all-the-time dining. We offer restaurant-style dining with no set meal times or assigned seating. Residents can order from a menu with multiple options that are always changing. Outside dining is also available on our large, screened patio. Delicious food, regional cuisine and courteous service are just some of the ingredients that make our meals even tastier.

What is an Independent Living Community?

Independent living can best be described as communal living, senior citizen housing option which provides supportive services such as meals, transportation, scheduled recreational activities and a variety of concierge services.

An independent living community may be a good option if:

  • Only minor assistance is needed with activities of daily living
  • You, or a loved one, want a place to live that requires little or no home maintenance and yard work
  • You, or a loved one, want to socialize with your peers and broaden your social network
  • You, or a loved one, want to enjoy activities and meals in the company of others

What is an Assisted Living Community?

An Assisted Living community assists residents with activities of daily living and basic care support in a homelike or apartment setting. Residents receive three meals a day, recreational and social activities, housekeeping, linen service, apartment maintenance and transportation.

Trained caregivers provide attention and assistance with medication management, bathing, dressing and cooking 24-hours a day. In addition, staff will coordinate services with outside healthcare providers and monitor residents to ensure they are healthy.

An Assisted living community may be a good option if:

  • Hands on assistance from a nurse or care associate is needed
  • You, or a loved one, need help with activities of daily living
  • You, or a loved one, need help with medication management
  • Your doctor, or your loved ones doctor, feels it is no longer safe for you to live alone

The Brookdale Difference

As a Brookdale resident, our promise is to help you navigate the experiences of senior living in all the places life leads you. In Brookdale’s Horizon Bay Lutz community you will find spacious apartments, elegant common areas and numerous services that assure your comfort and satisfaction: truly, active senior living that inspires and fulfills. The Brookdale difference is evident in signature programs and services that are available only to Brookdale retirement living residents. Brookdale’s Assisted Living communities provide solutions for those in need of limited care. Our customized assisted living communities approach focuses on:

  • Being a trusted partner
  • Listening to your needs
  • Understanding the life you want for yourself or your loved one
  • Customizing a solution that puts that life within reach

Contact information:

(Payroll - Insurance - Benefits - HR)
Lori Lynn Behrendt, Business Consultant

FrankCrumWe Inspire Businesses To Be The Best They Can Be. FrankCrum helps businesses control the costs associated with HR administration. Through an industry model called a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), FrankCrum provides an affordable package that includes payroll processing, workers’ compensation insurance, HR services and access to top level benefits available to large employers. This support frees business owners to focus on the success and growth of their company and their employees. With over 3,000 clients nationwide, we exercise group buying power for product and service efficiency that most businesses can’t affordably accomplish themselves.

FrankCrum is a family-owned business headquartered in Clearwater that employs almost 300 people. We’ve been in business for over 30 years helping small and medium sized companies succeed, and relieving them of heavy administrative burden.

We enable employers to offer employee benefits and we administer plans for our clients. These benefit plans include health, dental, flexible spending accounts and supplemental insurance. We also offer and administer 401(k) plans with little or no fees, and employer contributions are completely optional.

With FrankCrum, business owners can cost effectively delegate the responsibilities of HR, employee benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation to our experienced and expansive team. This frees them up to focus on their business.

For a no-obligation quote, call or email Lori Lynn Behrendt or Tracy Weinstock
|P| 727-799-1229 Ext. 1683 or 1689

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North Tampa Chamber of CommerceNorth Tampa
Chamber of Commerce
P O Box 82043, Tampa, FL 33682
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