(Sarasota-Manatee) The Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO), a not-for-profit organization representing locally owned restaurants in Sarasota and Manatee counties, recently elected Steve Harner as its new board chairman.
Harner, who owns the Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant in Venice, has been involved with regional business and civic efforts since he moved to the area from Michigan in 1976. He was a board member and president of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce and served on many of its committees. Harner has also served on the board of directors of Bon Secours Venice Hospital, and was a founding board member of The Venice Foundation (now the Gulf Coast Community Foundation), for which he also served as chairman. He has served on the boards of First National Bank of Venice and SunTrust/Gulf Coast Bank.
Since opening the Crow’s Nest in 1976, Harner has consistently aligned the restaurant with numerous fundraising initiatives and community outreach programs. He started the annual Crow’s Nest Regatta in 1980, an event that has raised more than $95,000 for Venice area organizations. Proceeds from the event also funded an endowment at The Community Foundation of Sarasota County benefiting Venice-based youth programs. In 2003, Harner helped found the Venice Sports Hall of Fame, which raises funds for the Rotary Futures Program at Venice High School. Harner was also one of the founding organizers of the widely celebrated Sharks Tooth Festival.
“I am delighted to hand over the torch to Steve,” says Michael Klauber, who served as president of SMO for two years. “Steve is known for his outstanding business savvy, his profound commitment to community, and for his tireless efforts to spread the good word about our restaurant industry, which represents a vital part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our area.”
Harner says he welcomes the opportunity to “work with a group of phenomenally talented individuals who are dedicated to advancing the cause of independently owned restaurants in the Sarasota-Manatee region. I look forward to showcasing this region as an exceptional culinary destination. We’ve got some exciting programs and initiatives planned for the 2014-2015 season. Stay tuned!”
The Sarasota-Manatee Originals 2014-2015 board of directors includes D’Arcy Arpke, co-owner of Euphemia Haye (vice-president); Mike Harb of Fast N Fresh (treasurer); Sonia Velasco, business and marketing consultant (secretary). At large members are Greg Campbell, chef and manager of Pier 22 Restaurant, and Michael Klauber, proprietor of Michael’s On East.
For more information about The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, visit www.dineoriginal.com.
About the Sarasota-Manatee Originals
The Sarasota-Manatee Originals is a not-for-profit trade organization founded in 2003. Together, more than 50 locally-owned, independent restaurants throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties work collaboratively to celebrate and promote the creative cuisine of the region, from unique quick service eateries and waterfront family restaurants to award-winning fine dining establishments. Passionate member restaurateurs work together to produce community events, optimize cooperative marketing efforts and develop synergistic partnerships among members as they focus on preserving the culinary heritage of the region. With more Florida Trend and Zagat top-scoring restaurants within a 20-mile radius of downtown Sarasota than any other area in the Florida, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals is dedicated to sharing the area’s vibrant culinary scene with the world. For more information, call 941-365-2800 or visit www.dineoriginal.com.