Volume 2 l January 2021
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Advocacy & Economic Development
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
We appreciate your continued support and loyalty!
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!
Your input is requested
The City of Largo has begun efforts toward the development of a new City Hall. The current facility is no longer suitable due to upcoming costly repairs, lack of resistance to storm damage and flooding, and limitations for projected growth. This new City Hall project is currently underway with concept design and site selection and is expected to be completed in 2023. `
The City is looking for input from businesses and residents on the specific design features and public use elements that should be included in this new and improved City Hall.
WELCOME BUCCANEER GLASS & MIRROR! Tim Butera and Amy Davis, owners of Buccaneer Glass & Mirror, Inc., celebrate their business with a Chamber Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony on Thursday. The business is located at 700 East Bay Drive, Suite 1, Largo. (See the video: Buccaneer Glass & Mirror Ceremony). Tim has been in the glass industry since 2006 and works in both and commercial and residential glass projects. For your glass and mirror needs, contact Buccaneer Glass & Mirror at 727-303-0436 or visit www.BuccaneerGlass.com
Health Aid has a new home
Chamber President Tom got the opportunity to meet the team and visit Health Aid Company, Inc.'s new location last week at 1156 Jasper Street, Largo. He also presented them with a Chamber membership plaque. The business offers a full range of medical equipment and supplies. Stop by and see manager Mike Menszycki, center, or his associates Brian and Doug. Learn more about them at www.HealthAidCompany.com 
Tampa Bay COVID Update! January 11, 2021
The COVID-19 Regional Re-Opening Dashboard tracks the critical and official public health metrics that guide Tampa Bay residents and policymakers to safely re-open our economy. It’s produced by the Tampa Bay Partnership.

Case growth rates in Tampa Bay increased this past week, to 2,837 per day over the past 14 days, an all-time high, and 520 cases per day more than the 2,317 reported last week. At 11.94%, Tampa Bay's positive testing rate over the past week exceeds the 10% threshold outlined in state and federal re-opening guidelines for the second week in a row, although slightly lower than last week’s rate of 11.98%. Statewide, the positive testing rate also again exceeds the 10% threshold, rising from 11.58% to 11.72%. The 7-day rolling average of Tampa Bay patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 increased by 13.4% in the past week and, as of Sunday, 1,690 such patients were hospitalized.
December 2020…
U.S. Markets -- A tumultuous year ended on a positive note as stocks rose in December, spurred by the rollout of multiple COVID-19 vaccines and the signing of a new fiscal relief bill. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which lagged all year, picked up 3.27 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 3.71 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite tacked on 5.65 percent. 
Vaccines Take Center Stage -- Investors were buffeted by news of rising infections and new lockdowns even as they kept a close eye on the start of vaccine distribution in the U.K., which some observers referred to as “the beginning of the end” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Boost from the Stimulus Package -- Much like November, stocks rallied when Congress made progress on the new fiscal stimulus bill but pulled back as talks seemed to stall. After some posturing, President Trump signed the new law, which helped stocks surge in the final week of trading. 
Sector Scorecard -- The majority of industry sectors posted gains in December, including Communication Services (+2.35 percent), Consumer Discretionary (+2.18 percent), Consumer Staples (+0.10 percent), Energy (+3.97 percent), Financials (+4.45 percent), Health Care (+2.30 percent), Industrials (+0.12 percent), Materials (+1.58 percent), and Technology (+5.14 percent). The Real Estate (-1.04 percent) and Utilities (-1.69 percent) sectors lost ground.
Gross Domestic Product: The final read on third quarter GDP was revised higher, from 33.1 percent to 33.4 percent. 
Employment: Nonfarm payrolls rose by a disappointing 245,000 in November. The unemployment rate ticked lower, falling from 6.9 percent to 6.7 percent. The labor-force participation rate was 61.5 percent, which is an improvement from April’s low but remains at a historically low level.
Retail Sales: Retail sales fell 1.1 percent in November, showing a slowdown in consumer spending amid economic lockdowns and continued uncertainty. October’s retail sales number was revised downward, from an increase of 0.3 percent to a decline of 0.1 percent. 
Industrial Production: Rising for the seventh consecutive month, industrial output picked up 0.4 percent in November, powered by a 0.8 percent leap in manufacturing. 
Housing: Housing starts reached a nine-month high, rising 1.2 percent in November. Existing home sales declined 2.5 percent in November. It was the first decline in six months. New home sales slumped 11.0 percent compared to last month, but were 20.8 percent higher than in November 2019. 
Consumer Price Index: Prices of consumer goods and services rose by 0.2 percent in November, leaving the year-over-year inflation rate at 1.2 percent. 
Durable Goods Orders: Durable goods orders rose by 0.9 percent, marking the seventh consecutive month of gains. 
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 
Traffic tickets plunged in Florida. It may mean painful budget cuts for many services
Average Floridians might not realize that every time they pay a court fine or fee, the money helps keep government operations afloat. The revenue — especially from traffic tickets — helps pays for everything from wildlife and environmental conservation, compensation for crime victims and even treatments for people with brain and spinal injuries. But as the pandemic has largely shuttered courts and led to fewer motorists getting tickets, revenue across Florida has plummeted — exposing what critics have long derided as an unreliable and unfair system built on the backs of court defendants. More from the Miami Herald.

Florida considering bill to reverse Key West cruise ship ban
A bill introduced in the Florida Legislature would overturn three laws recently passed by Key West voters to limit cruise tourism to the city. The so-called preemption bill filed by state Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, would retroactively prohibit local governments from regulating seaport business, including restricting a vessel’s type or size. More from the Miami Herald and Travel Pulse.

When will that $25 billion get to renters and landlords?
Renters and landlords counting on accessing the $25 billion in rental assistance money can do little at the moment but wait for the gears of bureaucracy to slowly grind along. The money will get here. It’s just a question of when. Of the $25 billion, Florida is likely to receive $1.4 billion, according to estimates by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That would pay down past-due rent balances of $6,000 each for more than 200,000 Florida households. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida’s vaccine rollout so far: not enough doses, ‘no real plan’ 
The highly anticipated rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Florida has so far been hindered by supply issues, inconsistent communication and chaotic distribution plans. A month after the U.S. approved its first vaccine, nearly 444,000 Floridians have received at least one dose as of Friday. Millions more have faced confusion, frustration and mixed messages as the state struggles to get vaccines to the people who need them most. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Scrap or salvage? State lawmakers weigh future of Florida’s unemployment system 
A new committee composed of six Florida Senate Republicans and four Democrats will convene Thursday to embark on a broad review of the state government's response to the coronavirus pandemic — and what can be improved should the state face similar crises in the future. “It’s going to look at the entire response to the pandemic,” said committee member and state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation. “We're going to look at things that went well, things that didn’t go right, and how we can fix the wrongs and have a robust system in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Florida business leaders condemn Capitol violence, pledge unified stance 
Business leaders from across Florida issued strongly worded condemnations of the violence that broke out at the nation’s capitol complex this week. Both the Florida Council of 100, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce issued separate releases on the matter. “Americans have had a proud history of peaceful Presidential transitions—one of the great hallmarks of our democracy. Unfortunately, what we saw from the protests yesterday diminished and tarnished that historic and noble record,” read the opening line of a full page release from the executive leaders of Florida’s prestigious Council of 100. [Source: Capitolist]
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!

Run your Ad or Logo in the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce's eConnection Newsletter that publishes weekly. Be seen by over 2,000 members and friends. Take advantage of an open/read rate that exceeds 25%.
Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz