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SRQ DAILY Feb 9, 2016

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"We don't do anything not world class."

- Matt Russell, CineBistro

[Flight]  Canada Flights Strong, WestJet Adds Flight
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

While a weak Canadian dollar has caused some angst in the hospitality area in region, competitive air fare has provided some measurable success, as demonstrated by a decision announced by WestJet on Monday to add flights from Toronto into the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The airline will now have flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport to SRQ airport and back three times a week—on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays—through April 29 this year. Tuesday service starts on Feb. 23. “It’s really good to see that an airline that has only been in the market now for about two months is already increasing their service," said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO for SRQ airport. “It’s a good signal of how well they are doing.” 

The announcement comes after some fear in hospitality circles that an underperforming Canadian dollar would lead to reduced travel to destinations in the United States; the Canadian dollar as of Monday evening was valued at just 72 U.S. cents. But WestJet has reported strong profits even amid concerns. Just last week, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved WestJet to maximize the number of shares the company is authorized to purchase next year. “Notwithstanding the impact that recent economic weakness in Alberta has had on our results, our decision to increase our normal course issuer bid demonstrates our confidence in WestJet's proven business model and the financial strength of our airline," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. The company in 2015 announced record full-year net earnings of $367.5 million, up 16 percent from 2014.

In terms of traffic to SRQ airport from Toronto, Piccolo said that while many feared travelers would have diminished buying power for travel, airlines in Canada have responded by offering more competitive fare. This particular flight also enjoys attention from Americans living near Toronto who have found it’s worth crossing the border to buy flights at low rates, made lower based on the strength of the American dollar. “And of course this makes it attractive to go to Canada,” he said, noting that filling flights northward out of Sarasota helps to justify WestJet adding more flights.

Internationally, Piccolo said the airport remains attentive about how the U.S. dollar sits relative to all international currency. “We think things look pretty good,” he says. Traffic at SRQ airport overall was up 2 percent in 2015, including December traffic that was 6.3 percent higher than in December 2014. January numbers have not been released yet, but Piccolo expects to hear soon that flights were up approximately 5 percent in the first month of 2016. 

[Food]  CineBistro Unveils Opulent Sarasota Menu
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Opening its doors to the public this Friday, the CineBistro at Westfield Southgate stands nigh complete, the scaffolding and construction from previous trips replaced by spotless cast-stone walls and vaulted ceilings. The great proscenium-like arch beckons to the seven theater houses beyond, but yesterday’s star was decidedly the unveiling of CineBistro’s custom Sarasota menu. Between state-of-the-art digital projectors, special curved silver screens for 3D showings and luxury seating to rival all comers, CineBistro seems to have the ‘theater’ part of dinner-theater down pat, but if yesterday is any indication, the food could soon be the highlight of movie night.

With a full restaurant and bar available to the public regardless of intent to see a film, the location opens into the mall on one end and to an outdoor patio on the other, with a sizable bar nestled in between to accommodate the opening rush at its wraparound counter while secluded booths offer more intimate dining under dramatic sconce-light. The menu itself boasts more than 30 professionally prepared items, including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, crafted with an eye to regional and Florida flavors. So while you can get a bag of popcorn if that’s really what you want, you also have the option to watch the latest blockbuster while chowing down on plump seared scallops, Moroccan spiced lamb or perhaps an order of chorizo and shrimp flatbread. Even playing with molecular gastronomy, the edamame risotto comes topped with Sriracha pearls in lieu of caviar.

“We have a company-wide culture that keeps on-trend,” said Corporate Executive Chef Isaac Stewart. “We’re always evolving.” Travelling from opening to opening training new staff, Stewart is the one who makes sure CineBistro flavor is in capable hands. He’s most excited about the desserts. With four on the menu, including the Key Lime Crème Brulee Doughnut with mango sauce and graham streusel, each is housemade from scratch ingredients. That's a dying practice, according to Stewart. “We even set ourselves apart from restaurants in that way,” he said.

Any good meal needs a good drink, and the bartenders at CineBistro can certainly accommodate. Between a sizable wine list and healthy beer selection, the cocktail menu boasts new creations and old favorites side-by-side. And at the bar as in the kitchen, if you can’t find what you want, it’s fair game to ask if they can make it. It’s not a theater with food, said CineBistro Vice President Fred Meyers. “It’s a restaurant that shows movies.”

Opening this Friday, tickets are now on sale and staff warns that shows, particularly on Fridays and weekends, can typically sell out up to two days in advance. 

Pictured: Ahi Tuna Ceviche from CineBistro. Photos by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Exec Moves]  Banks to Lead Jones Edmunds Office

Jones Edmunds and Associates, an engineering and environmental sciences consulting firm, announced the appointment of John Banks, Jr. as the new senior project manager for the firm’s Sarasota office. In this capacity, Banks will lead solid waste and utilities engineering project efforts in Southwest Florida. Banks has over 32 years of local government and consulting expertise in environmental engineering, including utilities and solid waste engineering.  

Jones Edmunds and Associates

[Exec Moves]  Miller named VP at DutchCrafters

Linse Miller has been named vice president for DutchCrafters at JMX Brands, a Sarasota-based specialty online retailer. Miller has worked at JMX Brands since its inception in 2003. Since then, she has served in numerous roles, including supervising the company’s marketing, sales and vendor relations activities. She has been instrumental in building the DutchCrafters brand and product line.  


[Recognition]  Sarasota Finance Wins Trifecta of Awards

The Finance Department was honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada with three prestigious professional awards, the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award. Known as ‘The Trifecta’, earning all three awards is the hallmark of excellence in the government finance realm. 

City of Sarasota

[Tuesday Tech Talk]  Take Advantage of Google Re-Marketing
Pedro Perez, pedro@nuevoadvertising.com

Google offers a lot of good tools to maximize your advertising investment, and best of all, many are free or very low cost. One of the most underutilized and most impressive tools is Google’s “remarketing” tool. When used correctly, this application has the potential to help you reduce your pay-per-click average cost as well as your cost per click.

Have you ever clicked on an ad from a website and after doing so, the same ad you clicked on appears on other websites you visit, such as Facebook, Google, etc.? This action is called remarketing. As an advertiser, when you use Google AdWords, you’re essentially bidding for a word or a phrase used on your website to help you gain a higher ranking on a user’s search results page. When you use retargeting or remarketing, the tool embeds a cookie onto each user’s device to preempts the advertisements they see. This means for just pennies on the dollar, your ad can be seen at the top of the list for that user as they travel to multiple sites around the web.

Once installed, the application will assist in promoting your business for up to 90 days at an average cost between $.25 and $.50 per user.

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. 

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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