Volume 3 l January 2021
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Membership Edition
Thank you to our Trustees and Newsletter Sponsors
Bay Care/Morton Plant Hospital
Brown Insurance Services
Cloud Law Firm PA
Duke Energy
Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital
Home Instead/Be a Santa
Jackson & Associates CPA
Melody Hunter, Charles Rutenberg Realty
MidFlorida Credit Union
National Aviation Academy
Nova Southeastern University - Tampa Bay
Paradise Air
Piper Fire Protection
Platinum Information Services
Regions Bank
Spectrum Reach
The Palms of Largo
Valley National Bank
Wealth Builders
Saluting Chamber Loyalty!
Our sincere thanks to the following businesses who renewed during the past four weeks. Their continued loyalty is inspiring! To learn more about them, please visit www.CentralChamber.biz

ActionCOACH Tampa Bay, 2-year member
Blue Q Health and Wellness, 5-year member
Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Largo, 28-year Legacy Member, SILVER TRUSTEE
Keiser University, 12-year member
Liberty Payment Solutions, 2-year member
Melody Hunter Real Estate, 13-year member, GOLD TRUSTEE
Professional Systems Printing & Promotions, 3-year member
Republic Bank, 12-year member
RS Williams and Associates, Inc., 10-year member
St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 2-year member
The Haus Coffee Shop, 7-year member

(Legacy Member = 15 years or more)

To learn more about them, please visit www.CentralChamber.biz

Superior Group of Companies
David Schechter
10055 Seminole Boulevard
Seminole, FL 33772

TemperaturePro of Tampa Bay
Ryan Camp
7201 Bryan Dairy Road
Seminole, FL 33777
Welcome Zoe! The chamber welcomes Zoe Basheska as the new Marketing and Membership Outreach Director. Zoe started her chamber journey as a volunteer and then an intern at the St. Pete chamber in 2015 and 2017. She is a recent graduate of USF with a bachelor's degree in studio art and a certification in art history. As the new addition to our chamber we are all excited to have her on board!

THIS WEEK - 2021 Annual Chamber Business Survey
------Please check your email and respond!
-----Your Voice Matters, this year more than ever!
-----The annual Chamber Business Survey will be distributed to you in the next day or two. We hope to gain insight on how your business is doing, your workforce issues and the challenges you currently face or expect to face this year.
-----It will also include some questions specific to COVID. The Chamber will share this information with our local community leaders as well as our state leaders in Tallahassee. 
-----If you are not the primary contact at your business through your Chamber membership (check your listing at www.CentralChamber.biz), but would like to be included in the survey, please email tom@centralchamber.biz.
A great 2021 business resolution!
Chamber Leads Teams build connections, friendships

The Chamber’s Leads Teams program is about to kick-off its 12th year. If you’re looking for some camaraderie and the potential of new business referrals, now’s the time to join the Leads Teams Class of 2021. Cost is $100 for the calendar year for members in good-standing.

There are currently three groups that meet live. They are Pinellas West at Village Inn, Walsingham Road on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 8 to 9 a.m.; Pinellas East at Cove Cay Golf Club, Clearwater on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m.; and Pinellas Central at Benedict’s Largo, West Bay Drive on the 2nd and 4th Fridays from 8 to 9 a.m. 

Leads Team seats are by business category, i.e., banking, insurance, etc. There are currently many openings, but first come, first served. Contact Tom at the Chamber (tom@centralchamber.biz or 584-2321) to see is there’s a seat open for you!
Register in advance:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the workshop.
Welcome! The Rosery Largo Apartments
Chamber President Tom Morrissette welcomed to the Chamber and took a recent tour of The Rosery Apartments, the area’s newest apartment complex located at 1181 Clearwater-Largo Road, Largo. He presented a Chamber plaque to Jen Larimer, Rosery Community Director, and Travis Walton, Marketing Representative, seen here. The Rosery will hold a Chamber Ribbon-Cutting/Open House Ceremony when construction is fully complete. To learn more about them, visit www.TheRoseryLargo.com.
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies
Thursday, January 28 -- 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Ribbon-Cutting & Open House
Visit the New Offices of Chamber Trustee
Jackson & Associates CPA PA
10225 Ulmerton Road, Suite 10A
Largo, FL 33771

WELCOME BUCCANEER GLASS & MIRROR! Tim Butera and Amy Davis, owners of Buccaneer Glass & Mirror, Inc., celebrate their located at 700 East Bay Drive, Suite 1, Largo. (See the video: Buccaneer Glass & Mirror Ceremony). For your glass and mirror needs, contact Buccaneer Glass & Mirror at 727-303-0436 or visit www.BuccaneerGlass.com
WELCOME MR. HANDYMAN! Rob Coughlin, owner of Pinellas County’s first Mr. Handyman franchise, cuts the ribbon celebrating its opening (See the video: Mr. Handyman Ceremony) Located in Tarpon Springs, the business serves Palm Harbor, Clearwater and Largo. For Mr. Handyman service, call 727-758-5904 or email Clearwater.Owner@MrHandyman.com
WELCOME TOMMY’S EXPRESS CAR WASH! It was a nice turnout for the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony welcoming Tommy's Express Car Wash at 1240 Missouri Avenue, Largo. Learn more about them at https://tommys-express.com/.
Help Grow Your Chamber! Get $50 Each Recruit and $1,000 in Biz Training! 
Won’t you help!  Won’t you help? The “We’re Chamber Strong!” campaign is now underway. The aim is to promote the essential role of the Chamber in assisting businesses while helping to grow our membership base.
We’re asking that you check out this link of former members and select a few to contact about rejoining. 

We are accepting a flat rate of $400 for all memberships during the campaign.
You and your recruit each receive Sandler Training valued at $1,000!
Each business you recruit = $50 off your next membership or Leads Team renewal.
Questions? Please reach out to Tom at Tom@CentralChamber.biz or 727-584-2321.

Thanks for your continued Chamber loyalty and support!
 Share info about your business…
Central Pinellas BizReach Connection
For a nominal fee of $35 per issue or $100 a month, you can highlight news about your business opening and specials. Here are the details.
One entry for $35, four entries for $100 (you can edit from week to week).

What: Central Pinellas BizReach 
Who: All Chamber members are eligible to provide business updates and special member-to-member offers/discounts.
When: Central Pinellas BizReach is distributed weekly on Fridays. Provide information/updates by noon the Wednesday prior. 
How: Provide the following via email to Kelvin Mack at events@CentralChamber.biz 
1. Business Name
2. Current business operations (i.e. restaurant with take out only from 9a to 9p).
3. Member offerings/discounts etc. (i.e. 20% off for chamber members, free webinar series on working remote, 20% of for first responders, etc.).
4. Images in jpg or png format with offer will be accepted. Please keep the image 3" x 3" in respect to others.
Email events@CentralChamber.biz or call 727-584-2321 
Florida lawmakers not banking on federal government aid to fill budget holes

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic uncertainty have blown a $3.3 billion hole into the state’s budget projections for the next two years. That’s actually an improvement from what state economists first thought. Still, the state will need to find an extra $2.75 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, and the House appropriations committee chairman isn’t looking to the federal government for help. State economists say lawmakers will need to cut about $2 billion from the budget in the upcoming fiscal year, and healthcare and education—the two largest spending items—are already being eyed. More from WLRN.

Large Silicon Valley tech firm moves headquarters to Tampa Bay area
In wooing a Silicon Valley cybersecurity company to move its headquarters to Tampa, the region both swatted away heavy competition and a rebuffed a long-standing myth about the Sunshine State. On the former, Benny Czarny, founder and CEO of the company that relocated its headquarters from San Francisco to Tampa, OPSWAT, says the firm looked at North Carolina and other sites. On the latter, Czarny, with experience working in Israel, California and other worldwide locales, says Florida isn’t what some non-Floridians might think — at least as a place to grow a business. More from the Business Observer.

Doctors think Florida has more COVID-19 variant cases than we know of
There are two known COVID-19 variants spreading in the United States, including here in Florida, right now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Florida has nearly half of the known cases in the U.S. of a mutated and likely more contagious variant of the coronavirus. The CDC says Florida now has 22 cases of that mutated virus. California has 26 cases, Colorado has two and New York and Georgia have each reported one case of the new variant. [Source: WLTX]

Florida high school grad rates climb, thanks to exemptions during pandemic 
Graduation rates for Florida high school students ticked up this year, with 90% of students graduating, according to a state Department of Education report released this week. The report showed a 3.1 percentage-point increase in seniors graduating statewide during the 2019-2020 school year. Jacob Oliva, chancellor of the state’s K-12 public school system, attributed at least part of the gains to the state’s waiving of testing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. More from the News Service of Florida and WMFE.

Florida school districts to receive nearly $3 billion in coronavirus relief
Following the approval of new stimulus money by Congress in late December, school districts in Florida are slated to receive nearly $3 billion in coronavirus relief funds. Within the legislation, $82 billion is set aside for the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF). The original CARES Act legislation from late March 2020 set aside $30.75 billion for the ESF. [Source: First Coast News]
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
We’re about Value!

A new Chamber program year is upon us! And we’ll be continuing to tout our five “value” principles and how each relates to being part of the organization.
           Value of Investment - The Chamber brings members valuable cost-savings resources that directly impact their bottom line. From member-to-member discounts to affinity partnerships - all are designed to lower the cost of doing business.
           Value of Information – The Chamber brings members unique resources. Roundtable discussions, workshops, advocacy on local and state issues, contacts, reference to other businesses, expertise, etc. Information that is timely and relevant to the success of all business operations.
           Value of Influence – The Chamber represents the interests of its members and communities. Whether at the local, state or federal level, it is the advocate on all issues of importance to business.
           Value of Interaction – The Chamber provides its members opportunity. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking events, B2B programs, and partnerships foster relationships that encourage leads, referrals and more business for our members.
           Value of Impact – The Chamber is one of the few, if not the only, organization that can impact the three main pillars in its service area – government, citizens, and businesses. We deliver results that directly benefit our members.
If you would like to assist in volunteering on a committee to help influence these values, just give us a call. It’s another sure way to build business connections. It really is great to belong!
Reserve your space now!

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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz