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SRQ DAILY Dec 1, 2015

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"There were hesitancies about the internet amongst the Amish and Mennonite communities, but not for the reasons you might suppose."

- Jim Miller, JMX Brands

[Retail]  Classic Furniture, Cutting Edge Marketing
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

To outsiders, the notion of an Mennonite internet mogul may seem contradictory. But Jim Miller, CEO of Sarasota-based JMX Brands, has established himself among the top web-based retailers. Selling Amish furniture gathered through a traditional sourcing network and sold at DutchCrafters.com, Miller has in fact become a national leader among business owners in the community, last month joining the board of directors for the Mennonite Economic Development Associates. 

Miller founded JMX in 2003 and has since been noted by Inc. and Furniture Today for his success selling old-fashioned craftsmanship through a tech-forward avenue. He acknowledges it wasn’t always an easy sell. “There were hesitancies about the internet amongst the Amish and Mennonite communities, but not for the reasons you might suppose,” he said. It’s wasn’t some caricatured fear of technology keeping Mennonites in the brick-and-mortar sales world, but a hesitancy to dive into modern marketing methods that weren’t yet so tested, and a concern that the market for people buying $3,000 pieces of hand-crafted furniture sight unseen might not prove as profitable as it ultimately turned out to be. “For a long time, the value of humility was ingrained in our psyche,” Miller said. “Marketing, for a lot of Amish, didn’t come naturally.”

Debra Gingerich, Web Presence team manager at JMX, says the company today employs social media and mass communications with the same savvy of any major retailer. And the company has won accolades for that. JMX employee Alex Miller was recognized this year by MEDA on its “20 Under 35” list of young professionals in the community, and Jim Miller company social media expert Jayca Pace last month gave a presentation on “Likes, Tweets and Pins: Why Social Media Matters to Your Business” at a MEDA convention in Virginia.

And now the company is actually moving into a traditional market, opening a Sarasota showroom on Lockwood Ridge Road. Gingerich calls the move “clicks to bricks.” Of course, company growth has also called for an expansion in office space, so the move is a natural one. The showroom likely will hold a soft opening this month, and a grand opening is scheduled for Jan. 8, Miller said. 

Photo: JMX Brands CEO Jim Miller

[Tuesday Tech Talk]  Blogging? Go For It
Pedro Perez, pedro@nuevoadvertising.com

Have you considered blogging on your website?  

Sharing your insights is a fantastic way to position yourself as an authority in your line of business with minimal investment. Consider developing a simple annual editorial plan and schedule time to write at least one blog post per month. If you plan out the subjects in advance, you can even write the blogs ahead of time and post them at a defined date each month.  

Blogging about your expertise will help increase your website’s SEO organic ranking rate. Translation: the more content your website is able to offer, the better chance of the site being indexed within all major search engines. Remember to keep the subject related to your business, offering tips, techniques or expertise directly related to your company and background. Encourage your readers to give you feedback by posting comments and allow them an option to share the post on social media.

As you become more comfortable blogging, increase the frequency of your posts, and use reader feedback to write about subjects they find of interest. Don't be afraid to constantly adapt your posts to suite your readers’ wants and likes.

Blogging posts are also a great way to introduce new products or specials for holiday giveaways. Integrate all of your social networking to become syndicators of your post. For example, when you post to your website have a plan to ensure that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any number of other social networks will rebroadcast your post.

Encouraging your readers to “like,” share, email or repost your content will help grow your audience, while building a real relationship among your greatest ambassadors—your customers and potential customers.

Pedro Pérez is a founding partner of Nuevo Advertising Group and an adjunct professor of Global Brand Strategies at Ringling College of Art and Design. For over 17 years Pedro has offered clients his knowledge and expertise. Pedro has always demonstrated a keen analytical sense combined with a good dose of common sense in crafting digital and online marketing strategies as part of an integrated marketing plan.


[Opening]  Sol Meyer Deli Opens

Brother-in-laws Solomon Shenker and Dr. Meyer Rubin Samotin have opened Sol Meyer NY Delicatessen in Sarasota. The deli offers house made brisket, blintzes, soups, smoked fish, bagels, hot pastrami sandwiches, noodle kugel knishes and Chef Sol’s award-winning cheesecakes, chocolate babkas and rugelach. 

Sol Meyer NY Delicatessen

[Exec Moves]  Mariash Appointed to Embracing Our Differences Board

Brian J. Mariash, of Merrill Lynch’s Sarasota office, has been appointed to the Embracing Our Differences Advisory Board. He will serve a two-year term. Embracing Our Differences is an area-based, not-for-profit organization that uses the power of art and education to expand consciousness about human diversity. It accomplishes this through an annual, large-scale outdoor juried art exhibition and a comprehensive series of educational initiatives, programs and resources designed for teachers and students. The Embracing Our Differences advisory board is responsible for promoting the organization's programs and initiatives, offering strategic direction and expertise, and serving as an advocate for inspiring a world that embraces diversity, respects differences and actively rejects hatred and prejudice through the transformative power of the arts. 

Merrill Lynch

[Synergy]  Sarasota PD To Unveil Mural

The Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota Police Foundation will unveil a one-of-a-kind hand painted wall mural on the 2nd floor of the Sarasota Police Department on Wednesday. Chief Bernadette DiPino began working with the Sarasota Police Foundation on several projects earlier this year when the mural project was launched.  Artist Joe Cuffaro donated his time and talent to the Police Department and the Foundation paid for the paint and supplies. 

Sarasota Police Department

[Survey]  Take the SB2 2015-16 Event Survey

As our SB2 Symposia platform continues to grow, we are looking to you to help us plan for the future season. SRQ Media has prepared a simple 16- question survey to strengthen the quality of this event series and keep it fresh and relevant in coming seasons. Please share your feedback on topics and timing with us. We can’t wait to hear your input on this bi-monthly breakfast series focused on regional current issues and topics. Thank you for your time, the SB2 Team. 

Take the survey!

[Best of SRQ Local]  Your Morning Mug

December is here! With a new month, two major holidays and shuffling to get things done before 2015 draws to a close, it seems that we could all use a little bit of help to get everything accomplished. Where do you turn when you're looking for a local cup of pick-me-up? When caffiene is in order, we know there's one place that everyone turns for a hot cup of joe to make your list and check it twice.

Log on to SRQMAG.COM/BESTOFSRQ to vote for your favorite local spot to get your daily caffeine fix, so that we can see if Perq will continue its reign as the best local coffee or if Pastry Art Bakery will reclaim its position as number one. Make sure to vote in our 2016 Best of SRQ Local Competition and while you’re at it, let us know your favorite cocktail spot too!

Reader Kathryn Parks let us know why Perq was her favorite coffee spot, “The coffee at Perq is truly the best I’ve ever had; it’s almost like you can taste the care that goes into every cup. Once I ordered a cup of Misty Valley and then was mortified to discover I left my wallet in my other purse. Instead of turning me away, they kindly handed me my order and then told me I could just come back later to pay. I drove straight home, got my wallet, and then left a very nice tip.”

The 2016 Best of SRQ Local polls are open now through February 15th, 2016 at SRQMAG.com/bestofsrq.


SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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