A 5-Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce
December 22, 2020
UPCOMING EVENT
Cheers! Drink GNV at Swamp Head January 11
Tuesday, January 11, 5 - 7 p.m.
Swamp Head Brewery
3650 SW 42 Ave, Gainesville

Join us for this season's final installment of Drink GNV at Swamp Head Brewery. 

Swamp Head was founded in 2008 by owner Luke Kemper, upon the foundation of our great state, to brew world-class beers. Having travelled through lands far and close, and finding inspiration along the way, they are proud to be here and proud to be inherently Floridian. 

We invite you to join us for a private tasting event (yes, we get the brewery all to ourselves!). Enjoy multiple tastings of different brews as a Swamp Head representative guides you through them. Then, enjoy the rest of your time safely mingling with community members at socially distanced tables outdoors. Each ticket also includes a raffle ticket for the chance to win fabulous items. Water and snacks provided.
UPCOMING EVENT
Join us January 19 for our Business Before Hours Virtual Networking Event!
Wednesday, January 19, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

Join us for our Business Before Hours Virtual Networking Event on January 19, from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

This is a virtual edition of Business Before Hours is 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.
POLICY UPDATE
Chamber releases 2020-2021 Focus Forward Legislative Agenda

During the recent Alachua County Legislative Delegation hearing, the Chamber shared its 2020-2021 Focus Forward Legislative Agenda.

This year’s agenda is focused in four key areas: small business, talent, water infrastructure and people. Sales tax fairness, COVID liability protection and eliminating unnecessary licensure requirements in certain professions are key priorities within the agenda.

Navigating our way out of a global pandemic, addressing residual economic challenges and narrowing the social divide that has plagued 2020 will take strategy, intent and focus, particularly in a year where budgetary concerns will rule.

The Chamber fully supports our legislative delegation as they seek to move Florida forward during the 2021 Legislative session, which begins on Tuesday, March 2. At that time, members will also begin to receive weekly legislative updates from the Chamber to keep them abreast of bill activity and new developments.
Downtown Discussion Follow-up

If you weren't able to attend our meeting on December 10th or you didn't get a chance to speak to your concerns during the event, use this form to share your thoughts on the future of Downtown Gainesville and what problems we can address. Every question is optional with the exception of the name question.
EDUCATION NEWS
Public has more opportunities to share input on rezoning options
 
The public will have additional opportunities to weigh in on draft rezoning plans for Elementary School I before the School Board makes a final decision in mid-February.
 
For several months the district has been working on various options for populating the new elementary school, which is located in the southwest Gainesville area and is scheduled to open this fall. After more than a dozen public meetings and input sessions, the School Board has narrowed the options to two, although changes are still possible. Information on the two options, referred to as Options B and G, is available on the district’s Rezoning page here.
 
An online community input session has been scheduled for January 6 at 7 p.m. Those who wish to speak at the meeting can do so through Zoom here. However, because of limitations on the number of participants through Zoom, those who wish to watch the meeting without speaking are asked to do so through the district’s YouTube channel here.
 
A special Board workshop on the rezoning options will be held on January 8 at 10 a.m. The workshop will be held at the School Board meeting room at 620 E. University Avenue in Gainesville. Space inside the meeting room will be limited due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols. The public can provide input in person or online through Zoom here

The meeting can also be viewed on the district’s YouTube channel.
 
The Board will have a special meeting to take a preliminary vote on one proposed option on January 13 at 5:30 p.m. That will be followed by a public hearing on February 3 at 5:30 p.m. A final Board vote will be held during the regular business meeting on February 16, which begins at 6 p.m. The public will be able to offer input at all meetings through Zoom or in person. Links to the meetings will be available on the district’s Rezoning page. 
 
The district has also set up an online survey regarding the two remaining options. The survey is open through January 11, and the results will be shared with the School Board. The direct link to that survey is http://bit.ly/38dLNK0.
 
Citizens may also continue to send questions or input through rezoning@gm.sbac.edu.
 
The rezoning for Elementary School I will be a first step in a planned comprehensive rezoning for all schools in the district in the next one or two years, which would include a review of programs offered at schools, including magnet programs. The goal would be to better balance student numbers and demographics and improve academic outcomes at all local schools. The district is planning to begin a community engagement campaign on comprehensive rezoning during the summer of 2021, including input sessions throughout the county.
MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENT
New Restaurant, Rock N’ Roll Sushi, to Open at Tioga Town Center
Tioga Town Center welcomes Rock N’ Roll Sushi, the original American-style sushi restaurant founded on great food and Rock N' Roll music.
 
Tioga Town Center is excited to welcome Rock N’ Roll Sushi as the newest restaurant to the Award-Winning Town Center. Their new 1,950 square foot space is located at 13005 SW 1st Road, Suite 137, Newberry, FL 32669 “boasting concepts and flavors that are big, bold, and loud,” offering the best in both American-style sushi and Rock N’ Roll.
 
Rock N’ Roll Sushi was founded in Mobile, Alabama in 2010 where husband and wife team, Lance and Gerri Mach Hallmark, followed their dream and leveraged their vast experience in the food and beverage industry to open their first location. Since then, they have expanded to over 44 locations in 8 different states. The Tioga Town Center restaurant will be the first location in the North Central Florida region.
 
With a goal of bringing people together, Rock N’ Roll Sushi aims to please everyone, from first-timers to long-time sushi fans. The restaurant will blend American Rock N’ Roll décor, paired with an expansive menu. Authentic classic rock music videos will be featured on-screen, and all items on their menu are made fresh, always.
 
Eager to continue their expansion into North Central Florida, Rock N’ Roll Sushi Owners & Franchisees, Jim Dykes and Graham Bishop chose Tioga Town Center as the perfect fit for their first location in the region. “We hope to offer an approachable and enjoyable sushi experience” said CEO, Chris Kramolis, he added, “we love creating an atmosphere for people to relax and lessen the intimidation-factor for Sushi; we are Sushi Americanized!” 
MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENT
Florida Chamber Survey: The Need for a Strong Talent Pool Post-COVID-19
The Florida Chamber Needs Your Help to Understand Workforce and Training Needs

Pre-COVID-19, Florida employers told us a skilled workforce was the top priority for 2020... then COVID happened. While vaccines are on the way, a return to some sense of normalcy will take time, and we anticipate Florida's workforce needs will continue to be a top issue. 

A high-quality workforce is Florida's best long-term economic development strategy and crucial to becoming the 10th largest economy by 2030. The Florida Chamber needs your help to understand your company's evolving workforce needs and the impact the pandemic is having on your recruiting and training goals. The results of the survey will be incorporated into the Florida Chamber Foundation's 2021 Florida Workforce Needs Study. 

Please click here or select the button below to take the survey. Thank you for your valuable participation.