Suncoast Singles: Bringing Love Stories to Life Here in Our Own Community
May 01, 2016 02:02AM
by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
Over 20 years ago, Southwest Florida transplant William Tosh stumbled upon a career path that would grow into his lifelong passion––matchmaking. During that time, professional dating services were considered novelty and, therefore, not widely sought after. However, this business ignited within Tosh a desire to positively impact lives through the discovery of love.
So, after working in the religious and non-profit sectors, Tosh relocated to Florida from his native Michigan and became the Executive Matchmaker at Suncoast Singles, a company that remains sincerely committed to helping others find meaningful relationships. In fact, during these past several years, Suncoast Singles has expanded throughout Sarasota, Bradenton, Naples, Ft. Myers, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Winter Park and Orlando.
The scope of this matchmaking service goes beyond that stereotypical dinner-and-a-movie though. “We also facilitate events and activities, dating and image coaching, nutritional consultations and seminars that are specifically designed to empower our clients to cultivate healthy and satisfying long-term connections,” explains Tosh.
In addition, this method is entirely secure, thorough and confidential for all parties involved. Tosh elaborates, “All potential clients first meet one-on-one with a Suncoast Singles matchmaker. This meeting includes a personality test, background check and completion of a detailed profile which outlines the qualities they’re seeking in a partner.
“Topics like desired character traits, activities they want to share with a partner and goals they hope to accomplish are just a few of the overviews. All information gathered by the matchmaker is then used to select possible matches that exhibit strong compatibility indicators with the client in question.
“Clients have the option to let their matchmaker arrange the date—we keep an extensive list of our favorite romantic restaurants, parks and activities—or they can meet at a location of their choice. For example, two of our younger clients recently went bowling on their first date, while two of our older clients went dancing at a local senior center.
“Most prefer meeting for dinner then walking through a park or enjoying a sunset at the beach together. For the most part, our clients organize their own dates then, afterward, tell their matchmaker or dating coach about the outcome. At this time, the matchmaker often provides further direction based on feedback received from that client’s match.”
Moreover, protecting each individual’s safety and privacy remains at the forefront of this process. Tosh clarifies, “Even two ‘matched’ clients will not receive last names, addresses or places of employment. They must also sign confidentiality agreements, stating they won’t share any match’s private information with others. However, our matched clients do receive phone numbers to contact each other and schedule an initial date. This way, they won’t need to deal with added stress if one person has an emergency or gets stuck in traffic.”
This track-record of fostering successful unions within secure parameters is a testament to the entire staff’s diverse credentials. Rather than relying on sales or telemarketing ploys, each member of the Suncoast Singles team has acquired the educational and professional backgrounds required to perform this unique job effectively.
For instance, Tosh is an ordained minister who has facilitated numerous wedding ceremonies and marital counseling sessions—experiences which offered him firsthand insight into relational dynamics. In addition, “two of our matchmakers are certified by the Matchmaking Institute in New York City, and they both have strong backgrounds in psychology and communication. We also have a holistic health coach and licensed therapist on-staff, both of whom hold degrees in their respective fields. Two of our matchmakers are prior flight attendants with the necessary ‘people skills,’ and our part-time dating coach is a teacher which gives her remarkable patience, listening skills and a solutions-oriented outlook,” adds Tosh.
Expertise aside though, this business has left an indelible mark on the community because of its dedication to keeping love alive. As Tosh points out, “In our humble opinion, there is no greater satisfaction than watching a romantic bond form between two individuals. Some might describe helping people find their partners as a ‘magical’ and ‘emotional’ rush like none other. At Suncoast Singles, we agree—it’s among the most interesting and rewarding jobs ever!”
Suncoast Singles’ main office in Sarasota is located at 1188 N Tamiami Trail, Suite 205B. For more information and to schedule a one-on-one intake meeting, call 941-713-1000 or visit SuncoastSingles.com.
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota-Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer, based in Southwest Florida. Her personal blog HealthBeAHippie.Wordpress.com features practical tips for embracing a fit, nutritious and empowered lifestyle.