THIS WEEK AT THE CHAMBER
Dear Fellow Chamber Members,

"We’re all in this together.” I think we have all heard that phrase at least once in the last few months as we navigate through this pandemic period. And it certainly is reinforced daily as we learn something new each day that we can or should be doing to be safe and keep those around us safe. I don’t recall another period in my career where I have received more emails, invites to webinars, corporate direction followed by corporate re-direction on one topic. Or when I have reached out to my colleagues in the hospitality industry to sift through it all. From addressing the need for new cleaning products to industry-wide mandates for better safety procedures, to responding to associates that have questions and concerns about the pandemic and how it is impacting their lives and that of their families. We certainly are all in this together.

And the same is true with being a member of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. We are all working together to guide our businesses through these times. It’s a good reason to be a Chamber member and engage the many resources available to Chamber members. Resources that are there through the good times and the COVID-19 times. I have found that having access to other members and businesses that can assist me both at work and at home allow me access to information and tools I need to get done what needs to get done. One of those tools that we all have available to us is the Member Directory on the Chamber website. There you can find someone in a certain business field you have a need for, or by the company name itself. From air conditioning repairs, to pool care, to help with your taxes or help marketing your own business, to name just a few. And because you are a member, you may receive a better deal just by mentioning that you are a fellow member. Did you know many of our members offer discounts to fellow Chamber members? And if you are a member of the Chamber and not offering our members a discount, maybe you should? Have you updated your listing lately?*

Now time for some shout outs! From my own experience it’s been a great benefit to know, and be able to call, a pool guy like Joe Mitchell of Pool Pros who when both pumps of the hotel pool went down…. at the same time…. in peak tourist season (!) he got them back running in 24 hours. Or to be able to call Mike Cannington at HeadPinz to plan some “cool” stress relief in the dog days of August for my hard-working team. Or ask Tommy Huether at Gulfpoint Construction for advice on installing a new deck at Shoeless Joe’s. And while I could go on and on about many other great business members available to you through the Chamber, I’m pretty sure you understand what I am saying. “We are all in this together,” and together we all succeed. 

Stay Safe,

Jim Larkin
Board Chairperson

*you can post member discounts through the Member Portal. If you need access to your login credentials, please email or call Linda, 239.332.2930, ext 213.
THANK YOU FOR RENEWING!
TOMORROW: WOMEN IN BUSINESS
On Wednesday, August 5 at 4:00PM guest speakers Janeth P. Castrejon from CareerSource Southwest Florida and Nadine Kramarz from the Fort Myers Regional Library will discuss solutions for the new norm related to job searching and career development. Topics include evolving to online interviews and meetings, and the free and varied resources both organizations provide for individuals and small businesses.

Admission is free, with a suggested donation for the Women in Business scholarship fund. Registration is required for access to this virtual event.
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: CREEL TRACTOR
Creel Tractor Company is Florida’s equipment dealer featuring product brands such as Kubota, New Holland, Echo, Land Pride and Bad Boy. Family owned and operated, Creel Tractor has been servicing the Fort Myers and surrounding areas for over 45 years.

Prior to owning the tractor business, Ray and Phyllis Creel owned and operated Naples Tomato Farms from 1962 until 1972. The farm was located at the corner of Pine Ridge and Airport road in Naples, FL. In 1972 Ray and Phyllis sold the tomato farm and purchased a small Ford tractor dealership in Fort Myers, FL. They named the business Creel Ford Tractor Company.

Creel started to expand into many other equipment lines. Ray Creel saw the expanding S.W. Florida construction and housing market and began carrying machinery that would meet the needs of local contractors. In an effort to meet the market needs in 1980 Creel Tractor acquired the Bush Hog line, in the mowing and tilling industry. The Bush Hog company was very focused on mowing and tilling equipment. Bush Hog would, in turn, become one of the leaders in the industry of mowing and tilling equipment.

In 1991, Ray passed away and his son Mark Creel took over the business. Mark was one of the youngest dealers in the tractor industry in the U.S. Having been around farming and tractors all of his life the business was well suited for his background. In 1999 New Holland Tractor Company bought out the Ford tractor side of their operations, and the name was changed to Creel Tractor Company.

2001 marked a great expansion by the business by adding a new tractor line, Kubota. This new product line nearly doubled the sales and other aspects of the business by 2005. ASV Inc. was also added in 2003 which initiated their entry into a new market of rubber track loaders, an explosive market in the south. This company provided products that are used for everything from construction clean up and site preparation for houses, to golf course and landscape maintenance. 2009 Terrain King was added to the line up to complement the existing Alamo Boom Mower Line. Creel has a great employee base to try and keep up with the potential growth within their industry. If you add up all the employee experience within the industry at Creel Tractor Company it would total well over 200 years.

Creel Tractor Company is a multi-decade member of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. You can find them at 3771 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers 33916, 239-694-2185. Visit Creel Tractor Company on Facebook
NEXT WEEK: THE STATE OF LEE COUNTY
Leadership NEXT's virtual event on Tuesday, August 11 at 5:00PM will focus on the "State of Lee County." The event will provide an overview of Lee County’s response to COVID-19, including the LeeCares program and its efforts to offer immediate assistance for individuals, families and businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The August program will be led by Brian Hamman, chair of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, and John Talmage, director of the Lee County Economic Development Office. A Lee County native, Hamman’s priorities as a county commissioner are to bring jobs to the community, keep taxes low and protect the environment that draws so many to the region. Talmage has spent his career working in economic development for both municipal governments and research organizations.
The Leadership NEXT program is free for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $5 for future members. Attendees need to register in advance to receive webinar login credentials. 

This event is sponsored by WearTheFund - Apparel That Gives Back

Leadership NEXT’s annual sponsor is the Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association.
SAVE THE DATE
The annual Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Golf Classic is set for Friday, November 6 - this year at Eastwood Golf Course!

Eastwood Golf Course is owned and operated by the City of Fort Myers and was designed by Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin. Eastwood plays to a par 72 layout, possesses 87 strategically placed bunkers, and water comes into play on 10 of the 18 holes, with a recently renovated front 9. 

Foursomes are now on sale for $799 and various sponsorship options are available.

This event always sells out - make your reservation today!
FREE MASKS & FREE HAND SANITIZER AVAILABLE
Thanks to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, we were able to secure some free masks for our member businesses. Masks come in packs of 5.
Your CBD Store of Fort Myers (4414 S. Cleveland Ave, #2, Fort Myers) has donated hand sanitizer for distribution to Chamber members.

Email Linda or call 239.332.2930 to place your order for masks and/or hand sanitizer and schedule your pickup time.