A 5-Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce
December 15, 2020
TONIGHT: Drink GNV at Cypress & Grove
Tuesday, December 15, 5 - 7 p.m.
Cypress & Grove Brewing Company
1220 SE Veitch Street, Gainesville

Tonight, we are visiting Cypress & Grove Brewing Company for our Season of Drink GNV!

The once neglected building which Cypress & Grove now calls home was once "frozen in time" until it was rediscovered by two couples with a dream- to work together to create delicious beers and inspiring space. With the help and support of their families and friends, this dream led them to a former staple of the Gainesville community, a place of import and historical significance, Gainesville's former ice house. The well that served the past to create ice has been revived to yet again serve the community of Gainesville with Cypress & Grove! A new life grows around that well. Cypress & Grove is two families with a passion for brewing delicious beer and building community.

We invite you to join us for a flight of brews, a pint of your choice, information on the brewery and their brews from a Cypress & Grove representative as well as safe mingling outdoors with community members. Each ticket also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win fabulous items. Water and snacks provided.
Drink GNV is sponsored by Servpro of Alachua County West.
TOMORROW: Business Before Hours - Virtual Networking Event
Wednesday, December 16, 8:30 a.m.
This is a virtual edition of Business Before Hours is a member event structured the same way as our past in-person events. Attendees will have opportunities to share in small groups who they are, what they do and who would make a good customer or referral for them. Come build lasting business and personal relationships at Business Before Hours.
Attendance is limited to 50 pre-registered attendees. Space is Limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. Pre-registration is required. 
One more week! Support Local Business with 31 Days of Shop GNV!
Daily and Monthly Deals from Now until December 23

This year has undoubtedly been difficult for a lot of our community’s businesses, and we want to use this opportunity to ensure that we shop locally this holiday season!

On our site, you’ll find a list of deals and companies that are participating! Each will have a month-long deal to take advantage of, as well as a daily deal which will be available for just one day.

We hope you’ll take advantage of the many offerings our local retailers have made!

Check out our Facebook page daily to see what each day has to offer!

Visit our 31 Days of Shop GNV page for a full list of local shops and deals!
31 Days of Shop GNV is sponsored by and Celebrate Primary Care, Comfort Temp, DL Hulse Consulting, and Lifesouth.
TOMORROW: Understanding the Needs of Black Businesses
Wednesday, December 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Virtual event

What are the needs of black-owned businesses? What are the barriers to their growth? What resources exist in the Greater Gainesville region to help them flourish? Join us virtually on Dec. 16 from 6:30-8 p.m. as we host a conversation to explore these and other questions to gain a better understanding of what is needed to foster the growth of black-owned businesses in the Greater Gainesville region. Attendance is free, but registration is required.
Gainesville Police Advisory Council applications open to the public

The Gainesville City Commission is accepting applications for its Police Advisory Council (PAC). Established in 2010, the PAC serves as a community advisor to the commission on policy matters related to the Gainesville Police Department.

In an effort to ensure a diverse pool of applicants and that the council accurately reflects the demographic makeup of our community, the commission has called for the application cycle for this board to reopen for 30 days.

Applications may be submitted online through the City of Gainesville website through 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2021. Paper applications must be completed and mailed to City Hall c/o City Clerk with a postmark on or before Mon., Jan. 4, 2021. Appointments will be made at the City Commission Meeting on Jan. 21, 2021 at 1 p.m.
Chamber hosts community discussion on future of Downtown Gainesville
Thursday, December 10, 10 - 11:30 a.m.

On Thursday, December 10, the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce hosted Let’s Discuss Downtown with Downtown business owners and community partners, focusing on the Future of Downtown Gainesville. The event was held both live at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Innovation and virtually, where attendees could choose to participate via Zoom.

The goal of this meeting was to help regional stakeholders and local government officials hear from the business community and local workforce about potential barriers to the growth of Downtown Gainesville. The discussion included earnest comments about the successes and challenges that hinder the downtown area, including safety, housing, homelessness, walkability and lighting.

“Residents and visitors want a safe, clean environment and this is not always what we find when going downtown,” Becky Hunt said, with regard to what obstacles she sees hindering the development of Downtown Gainesville.

A report will be assembled from the provided comments and it will be shared with the City of Gainesville, the GCRA, local developers, and downtown businesses. The recommendations learned from the discussion will also be incorporated into the activities carried out by the COLLABORATE 2025 economic development action teams.
Alachua County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year finalists chosen

Three teachers have been chosen to represent all of Alachua County Public Schools’ outstanding educators as finalists in the district’s annual Teacher of the Year program.

Mackenzie McNickle of Stephen Foster Elementary, Amy Beres of Howard Bishop Middle School and Nicole Harris of Gainesville High were selected by previous honorees of the Alachua County Teacher of the Year program to represent the district’s elementary, middle and high schools this year. One of them will go on to represent Alachua County Public Schools in the Florida Teacher of the Year Program.
Santa Fe College Starts Rapid Credentialing Program

Santa Fe College has started a rapid credentialing program to get people trained with the skills needed to enter the workforce quickly.
The Rapid Credentialing Grant, which came from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund under the CARES Act, is designed to help mitigate the economic impact and facilitate training in new career pathways for people impacted negatively by the current pandemic. It is to assist the under-employed, unemployed or furloughed, enabling them to reskill or upskill.
Once credentialed, students can enter the workforce, or continue their education by earning associate degrees in programs like Certified Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, Emergency Medical Technician, Office Specialist, Welding and Automotive.
“WE’RE BACK!”: Gainesville’s Iconic Swamp Restaurant Announces It Will Continue Legacy in New Building Inspired by the Original, Historic Landmark
Just six months after Gainesville’s iconic Swamp Restaurant closed its doors to the public and its historic building razed to the ground, the restaurant has announced it will be returning to Gainesville in a brand-new building that will fully emulate the original, charming landmark it was housed in for over two decades.

Located just four minutes away from its previous location off of West University Avenue, The Swamp’s new home will look nearly identical to the iconic building that University of Florida students, alumni, and Gainesville citizens came to revere. It will still be located within walking distance of the University of Florida campus and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but in a new setting at 1026 SW 2nd Avenue in the Gainesville Innovation District.

The news comes as a welcome surprise for loyal patrons of The Swamp, which operated as a restaurant, sports bar, and event venue for over twenty-five years from its founding in December 1994 to its unexpected closure in June 2020. 
Winter Break 2020 VR Career Camp
Mondays - Thursdays, December 21 - 24
& December 28 - 31

Winter Break 2020 VRCC is a FREE fun and action-packed 20-Hour Pre-Employment Training Program that will be offered statewide virtually over Winter Break with Mega Social Enterprise. There will be activities, incentives, and more. Students must be 14-21 years old and have an IEP, 504, or a disability. REGISTER ONLINE OR CALL TODAY by visiting www.megasocialenterprise.org or calling 352-877-4666. 
Winter HVAC Tips from Kings Heating & Air

As the holiday season gets underway, most of us will begin decking the halls with holly, twinkle lights, and other decorations. While you are busy making your house look festive, safety could be one of the last things on your mind. To keep your household safe and happy this Christmas time, follow these five (5) safety tips from Kings Heating and Air:

  1. Don't cover your thermostat 
  2. Clean your outdoor unit, of Twigs, dirt, and other debris can have their way to get inside your outdoor unit
  3. Inspect your electrical unit
  4. Change your air filter
  5. Schedule an HVAC maintenance with Kings Heating and Air today!
Library challenges Alachua County to read for 1,000 hours
Now - Sunday, December 13
Online event

The Alachua County Library District is launching the first Winter Reading Challenge, calling on our community to read 1,000 hours from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14 to win local prizes and help the Library District compete against libraries across the country.

Participants can register for the challenge now at aclib.beanstack.org or by using the Beanstack app. Nine local readers will receive $20 gift cards to local restaurants for participating in the challenge thanks to prize sponsors Mi Apá Latin Café, Gator’s Dockside, and Gator BTW.

During the challenge, hundreds of libraries across the nation will encourage their communities to read a target number of minutes or books. Prizes for top-performing libraries include book collections and virtual author visits from publisher Simon & Schuster.

Sign up and learn more at www.aclib.us/winter.
SunState Federal Credit Union to become state-chartered Radiant Credit Union

GAINESVILLE, FL - The membership of SunState Federal Credit Union recently voted to convert the credit union’s charter from federal to state. 

SunState Federal Credit Union, a financial fixture with a rich 60+ year history of serving the North Central Florida region, will open their doors on January 4, 2021, as Florida state-chartered Radiant Credit Union.

SunState Federal Credit Union began in 1957, as Florida USDA Federal Credit Union. In 1993, the credit union changed its name to SunState Federal Credit Union, in order to reflect its evolution into a major financial resource for the communities and members then being served. More change came in 1999, as SunState FCU converted from an occupational-based federal charter, to a community-based federal charter, serving anyone who lived, worked, worshipped, or attended school in 5 North Central Florida Counties. 

From the very beginning, the Credit Union has been committed to exceeding member expectations while maintaining financial strength through the delivery of high quality financial products and services. This commitment will continue to be upheld through Radiant Credit Union.
Brookdale & Patriot Angels: Virtual Veterans Seminar
TODAY, December 15, 1 p.m.

Brookdale Gainesville SW is passionate about helping our veterans and their families, especially when they need us most. Senior Living is not something that all financially plan for. We are excited to partner with Patriot Angels to bring you a free, virtual seminar regarding their services and benefits you or your loved ones could qualify for. This seminar is being hosted by Patriot Angels in the hopes that it may help a veteran or the spouse of a veteran. Please join us via Zoom on Tuesday, 12/15 at 1:00 pm EST, see attached flyer for logon info. If you have any questions, please call Anna Belo at 352.378.3838 or email her at abelo@brookdale.com.
‘Megalodon’ exhibit swims away Jan. 10, 2021
Now - Sunday, January 10
Florida Museum
3215 Hull Road, Gainesville

The world’s largest shark is leaving Gainesville Jan. 10, 2021! Florida Museum of Natural History visitors can marvel at Megalodon, the gigantic prehistoric shark that once cruised the planet’s oceans, and walk through the full-scale jaws of a 60-foot-long replica of this apex predator. Guests can also learn about other ancient and modern sharks with teeth, fossil specimens and life-size models. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for Florida residents and $5.50 for ages 3-17. Museum members and UF students with a valid Gator 1 card receive free admission. For more information, visit www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/exhibits/megalodon or call 352-846-2000.
Elegant Conversation with Jacqueline Valdez looking to highlight local business December 21

Chamber member, Jacqueline Valdez, has created a talk show that is stirring up the buzz in the entertainment industry. The show highlights upcoming Stars and Celebrities around the globe. 

As a special thank you for all the love and support from the community, She wants to spotlight thriving businesses of Gainesville! They are now opening the day of December 21st to go live on the new talk show: Elegant Conversation with Jacqueline Valdez.

Please message Jacqueline if you are interested for a 15-minute conversation! She would love to share your journey and help inspire others with your story. It will be live on her Instagram page: @elegantjacqueline.
Employers ready for reset in benefits
Scott Millson, HUB International

If 2020 goes down as the Year of the New Normal, then 2021 is destined to be the Year of the Big Reset as employers and employees adjust to what the coronavirus has brought about in terms of needs and expectations. 

The disruption that marked 2020 went beyond mass layoffs and furloughs. The coronavirus pandemic’s forced experiment in social distancing has caused major shifts in the American workplace. The repercussions are impacting business cultures, how people are recruited (and from where), what benefits employees most need and value, and how employee benefit plans will be designed going forward. 

Events of 2020 led 94% of one survey’s respondents to say their U.S. employers had met or exceeded their expectations in responding and adapting to the pandemic. As we move into 2021, employers will be challenged to continue the momentum as the Big Reset continues. Here are some of the issues and trends they will be dealing with on the human resources and employee benefits fronts.