Hometown Story | Debbie Dawson & Lora Shipman – The Perfect Mix of Home, Community & Business

Connecting Home, Community & Business: Debbie Dawson & Lara Shipman | The Trinity Odessa Connection

If there were ever two people destined to work together for a common cause, it is Debbie Dawson and Lara Shipman. They both share a passion for vvvothers, but none so much as their families, their neighbors and the small, local businesses that are the backbone of West Pasco County.

Debbie and Lora are natives of the northeast – Debbie from Connecticut and Lora from New York and Canada, primarily. Both are highly-motivated, successful entrepreneurs working to make a difference in their community by connecting residents with local businesses and organizations, to keep these small businesses flourishing.

“I love watching our small business owners thrive, because they are the heartbeat of our community. There are so many wonderful people that make Trinity-Odessa a great place to live, work & play!” Debbie said, “Being a Realtor, I also love helping others find their new homes, connecting them to the great local businesses in our area, and showing them what a great place this is to live.”

As a means of doing that, Debbie and Lora collaborated and developed a concept they are currently bringing to fruition: The Welcome Bowl.  

“The Welcome Bowl is a fun way to connect our local businesses to the new residents moving into our area.  We welcome them with a bowl filled with gifts from our local businesses to kick-start business-community relationships,” Debbie explained

All local businesses are “welcome” to join this innovative out-reach by contributing a gift (not a coupon), to be included in The Welcome Bowl, which is made available to new residents when they move into the community.

Lora added, “When Debbie pitched this idea to me over Thanksgiving, I jumped at the chance! We wanted an opportunity to connect the residents with the businesses, while making sure both get the most out of what our community has to offer.”

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She continued, “There is something about growing businesses and watching them succeed that really excites me and gets the adrenaline pumping. I love celebrating other people’s victories!”

Besides being a knowledgeable realtor with REMAX Advantage Realty, Debbie brings 20 years of business marketing experience as the proud owner and publisher of IT’s YOUR HOME Magazine, a beautiful, community lifestyle magazine serving West Pasco and North Pinellas Counties, and limitless in its digital scope across the web and social media platforms.

Lora is sole proprietor of Virtual Assistant on Demand, a marketing company specializing in web design, social media marketing, blogging, graphic design, and print services, but that’s not all…

She is also founder of Keep it Local, LLC, a seat-specific, business growth and development organization that meets weekly to share quality ideas, leads and referrals to help each other in the quest for success!

Lora shared, “Keep It Local offers a business incubator program through CEO strategists, mentors, advertising opportunities, educational workshops, newsletters, hedge funds and private monies. What started as my 2013 New Year’s resolution has expanded to include chapters throughout Pasco, Pinellas Hernando and Hillsborough counties.”

Debbie and Lora are a dynamic duo, fighting for their community, doing whatever it takes to support others, but most especially local businesses. Their mission is the same: to help local businesses succeed by connecting them with area residents.

To become a business sponsor of The Welcome Bowl, visit www.welcomebowl.com, or call Debbie at 727-709-9541. To learn more about becoming involved with Keep It Local, LLC, call Lora at 813-405-7815, or visit www.KeepItLocal-LLC.com.


By Debra Taylor Tee

Photos by Doreen Damm

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