Volume 50 l December 2020
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
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!
It’s for the kids…
Chamber Holiday Follies entertains for a cause!
Thanks to everyone who participated and donated to the Holiday Follies Chamber Education Fund program that recently streamed live. It was presented by the Chamber Women's Leadership Committee, and they did a fantastic job! There's still time to make a pledge. Proceeds benefit the Chamber Education Fund providing scholarships to high school and vocation school students. All donations are 100% tax deductible. Here's the link: 2020 Chamber Education Fund Pledge. If you’d like to see the show again or for the first time, you can check it out on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/fcMPfV_dFb4
MEET JOHN BROWN OF USA Coach LLC! Chamber Mentor Wendy Swertfeger of LegalShield presents John Brown, general manager of USA Coach LLC with his Chamber Membership Plaque. USA Coach provides the most comprehensive RV maintenance and repair services in the state of Florida. Its upgraded facility boasts state of the art diagnostic equipment utilized by technicians with an average of 15 years of industry experience. In its paint and body shop, fabricators and master paint staff will make a coach look better than new. If you are looking to renovate or remodel your RV, its wood and cabinet shop can design and build the custom flooring and cabinetry of your dreams. USA Coach LLC is located at 4501-B Ulmerton Road, Clearwater 33762. You can call John at 727-812-0721 or email John.Brown@USACoach.com
Help Grow Your Chamber! Get $50 Each Recruit and $1,000 in Biz Training!
Won’t you help! Your Chamber’s “We’re Chamber Strong!” campaign is now underway. The goal is to promote the essential role we play in assisting businesses while helping to grow our membership base.
If you recruit a new member to the Chamber, you will receive special Sandler Training programs valued at $1,000 plus $50 off your next Chamber membership renewal for each recruit. Please Show your Chamber spirit and volunteer! Contact Tom at the Chamber to learn more – tom@CentralChamber.biz. 727-584-2321. 
Thanks for your continued Chamber loyalty and support!
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
At Home Floors Carpets Plus Color Tile, 5-year member
Charleston on 66th, 3-year member
Edeline SMC, 4-year member
Gulf Coast Consulting, Inc., 12-year member
Paradise Air, Inc., 10-year member, GOLD TRUSTEE
SPCA Tampa Bay, 17-year Legacy Member
Weisner Insurance, Inc., 9-year member

(Legacy Member = 15 years or more)
Buccaneer Glass & Mirror, Inc.
Amy Davis
700 East Bay Drive, Suite 1
Largo, FL 34690

Powur Solar
Bruce Clouser

Tommy’s Express Car Wash – Missouri Ave.
Chasity Baker
1240 Missouri Avenue N
Largo, FL 33770

Whitnee Suarez – Future Home Realty
Whitney Suarez
It’s all about family!
Congratulations to Chamber members Career Source Pinellas and City of Largo, for earning a Family Friendly Business Award from Family Friendly Pinellas. It recognizes companies and organizations for implementing family-friendly policies such as paid leave, healthcare plans, flexible schedules, tuition assistance, 401K matching and competitive wages to ensure a healthy, whole, and productive workplace. It’s a local initiative developed to recognize companies that have adopted policies that give Pinellas County businesses and organizations an advantage in recruiting and retaining the best employees. Any Pinellas County organization or business is eligible to apply.at familyfriendlypinellas.org.
Tampa Bay COVID Update!
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, as did the percentage of residents testing positive for COVID-19. At 7.86%, Tampa Bay's positive testing rate over the past week remains below the 10% threshold outlined in state and federal re-opening guidelines and represents an increase from last week’s 7.43% rate. Statewide, the positive testing rate stayed below the 10% threshold for a thirteenth consecutive week and fell from 8.10% to 8.02%. The 7-day rolling average of Tampa Bay patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 increased by 5.8% in the past week and, as of Sunday, 1,012 such patients were hospitalized.
Florida remains in “Phase 3” reopen mode
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET  -----Stocks retreated last week on rising COVID-19 infections and slow progress on an economic relief bill. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.57%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 0.96%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.69% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, declined 0.05%.

-----Stimulus Stalls, Stocks Stumble - The market grappled all week with worries over rising COVID-19 cases and the economic restrictions that followed. Nevertheless, there were moments of optimism— such as the starting of vaccinations in the U.K.— that drove markets to record highs. But gains could not be sustained as an agreement on a fiscal stimulus bill remained elusive and daily news regarding COVID-19 cases undermined investor sentiment. Markets were also challenged by having to absorb a number of new and secondary stock offerings last week, including two high-profile technology IPOs. The Energy sector continued its strong run, while small and mid-cap stocks posted another week of positive performance.

-----A “No-Deal” Brexit More Likely - The prospects of an agreement to manage Britain’s exit from the European Union by year end dimmed as the two parties failed to narrow their differences in a meeting held last week. Though primarily a European issue, a no-deal Brexit may hold consequences for U.S. businesses and investors. The failure to reach an agreement has the potential to disrupt an already fragile supply chain and cause issues in the financial markets. A supply chain disruption may weaken European economies (e.g., Germany) that are important to American companies. Another consequence may be a stronger U.S. dollar, which would make American exports more expensive and less competitive. Little time remains in striking an agreement since the prevailing framework ends December 31, 2020. 
 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 
As Congress debates more COVID-19 aid, Florida businesses hope for relief 
Lawmakers in Congress are debating a second COVID-19 relief bill, and with that, more funds for the Paycheck Protection Program. In Florida, small businesses have exhausted money from the program and are waiting for more aid. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 70% of Florida businesses received PPP loans. The program covered eight weeks of employee payroll while lockdowns were in place. After the program was launched, it ran out of money in two weeks. It was later replenished in late April, and more businesses were able to opt-in. [Source: WLRN]

‘Reef goats’: Seaweed-loving giant crabs could help save corals in the Florida Keys 
Among the many problems facing Florida coral reefs, from pollution to climate change, is the explosion of algae that smothers once healthy tracts, blocking baby corals from growing. One possible solution: More ‘reef goats’ — native crabs that graze on algae and seaweeds. A study by Florida International University showed that increasing the abundance of the Caribbean king crab, found in Florida waters and throughout the Caribbean, can reduce algae overgrowth and help restore the natural balance, improve coral health overall. [Source: Miami Herald]

White House task force report warns Florida — again — to increase mask-wearing, limit indoor gatherings 
A White House Coronavirus Task Force report about the state of the pandemic in Florida made public Saturday urges state leaders to take immediate action to slow the virus’ spread. Officials should close or severely limit indoor dining, limit capacity at bars and issue stronger policies around mask wearing, the report states. Those are the same public health measures that Gov. Ron DeSantis has publicly assailed for months as ineffective. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.

Amazon to build distribution facility in St. Augustine
Amazon has received the green light from St. Johns County and is working its way through the review process for specifications needed to build a distribution facility off State Road 16 in St. Augustine. The project is planned for a parcel of almost 60 acres at 3960 Inman Road, which is located near the St. Augustine outlet malls and the I-95 interchange. The warehouse would be about 125,000 square feet. More from the Florida Times-Union.
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!
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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz