Volume 39 l September 2020
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Week Five Special Edition
As the COVID-19 situation grinds on, your Chamber will continue to keep you in the loop on resources available. Our gatherings may have been curtailed for the time being, but we remain at your service. We’re all in this together!
Thank you to our Trustees and Newsletter Sponsors
Bay Care/Morton Plant Hospital
Brown Insurance Services
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!
See the video below!
Chamber hosts Largo City Commission Candidates Forum
(Final week to register to vote! Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 3)

 The Chamber’s Government Advocacy Panel (GAP) recently held a forum for candidates in the one contested Largo City Commisioners race. For Seat 3, its three-term incumbent Curtis Holmes being challenged by Eric Gerard seen in photo with Chamber Chairman Rob England of England Brothers Construction. The candidates responded to a series of questions provided by Largo citizens and GAP. Special thanks to Piper Fire Protection for hosting and recording the program. The forum is available to view here: 2020 Largo City Commission Candidates Forum
If you have a problem with audio, please copy this link and place directly to your internet browser: https://youtu.be/LQosL4n9Vvw
Celebrating Manufacturing Day – Friday, Oct. 2, 2020
RECOGNIZING MANUFACTURING CONTRIBUTIONS! Largo Mayor Woody Brown presents Jim England of England Brothers Construction and chair of the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee, with a City of Largo proclamation acknowledging manufacturing and its impact on our regional economy. Joining them, from left, Largo City Manager Henry Schubert, Largo Economic Development Coordinator Karisa Rojas-Norton, David Puckett of GTE Financial, Rob England of England Brothers Construction and Chamber Chairman, Mary Taylor of McManus & McManus P.A., and Chamber President Tom Morrissette.
 -----Joining the National Manufacturing Day movement was among the Chamber’s 2020 action goals. Afterall, manufacturing is the third largest industry sector in Pinellas County representing about 44,000 jobs.
-----The City of Largo and Pinellas County Commission have both issued proclamations at the request of the Chamber to recognize manufacturers and their impact on the Pinellas economy. Most recent figures show it at about $10.5 billion in total annual sales and $7.5 billion in exports.
-----National Manufacturing Day, held annually on the first Friday in October, celebrates those who proudly stand behind American goods and services. President Barack Obama signed the first Presidential Proclamation in 2014.
-----The objective is to create a better understanding and appreciation for the significant impact of manufacturing and provide opportunities for young people to pursue manufacturing careers. Although COVID has prevented the tradition of manufacturers opening their doors to students this year, other outreach efforts are underway to inspire them to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.
-----Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation to grow our economy. And, the Chamber will continue its role as a bridge between education and industry. 
Liberate Physician Centers Celebrates its Grand Opening!
Full festivities this Saturday, Oct. 3
Liberate Physician Centers kicks-off its grand-opening with a Chamber Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at its 12679 Seminole Boulevard, Largo location.  The Liberate team, with another location in Tampa, provides customized Cannabis programs to help patients achieve their personal wellness goals. To learn more about them, and this Saturday’s Grand Opening festivities, click here:
Your Chamber! It's great to belong!
WELCOME GarrisonPro! Joe Pilliod, right, CEO and founder of GarrisonPro, receives his official membership plaque from Chamber Director/Membership Mentor Gamal Megherfi of First Citizens Bank. GarrisonPro is an industry leader in providing trusted and proven cyber security, compliance management, and computer support services. To learn more about Joe – his military background and business – please visit www.GarrisonPro.com
Additional funding now available…
Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants
-----The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has approved additional funding to develop new business assistance programs. Pinellas CARES is now offering expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic. In general, this includes businesses that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business. A list of eligible business types can be found HERE
-----Applicants are strongly encouraged to take their time to submit a complete and accurate application, including all required documentation, for the quickest response. Grant awards will be based on review of complete and eligible applications and not on how early a partial application is submitted. Submitting an incomplete application will delay the review process.
-----To get an application and for more information, click here Pinellas CARES Business Grant
Florida coronavirus cases tick up in September, stalling progress 
Florida’s coronavirus cases have risen again, if only slightly, and it’s not just an issue of college students. For the first time since early July, statewide numbers of new cases of the virus have increased throughout September — albeit a small uptick, nowhere near as sharp as the early summer. And current COVID-19 hospitalizations, one of the most timely ways to measure the spread in how many people are sick, are no longer dropping sharply but have instead flattened out. In a few large counties, the count is going back up again. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

‘Upper-tier' home sales pace August ‘resurgence' in Florida housing market 
If property values and real estate sales are bedrock indicators of economic health, Florida should weather the long-term implications of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in relatively good shape. According to the Florida Realtors’ August report, the Sunshine State’s housing market reported more closed sales, more new pending sales, higher median prices and more new listings in August compared with a year ago, despite the pandemic. [Source: The Center Square]

Medical marijuana and CBD sales rise sharply during COVID-19 pandemic 
Florida is seeing a surge in sales of medical marijuana and CBD hemp products as more people turn to them to treat their anxiety, insomnia and pain during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise in demand, wait times at dispensaries in some instances rose from what used to take only 10 to 15 minutes — even without an appointment — to backlogs of dozens of patients at any given time, potentially lasting hours. Sales have risen significantly when compared with last year. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

The economic impact of a rebounded and revitalized space program on Florida's Space Coast 
From 1981 to 2011, the Space Shuttle Program brought in a mix of engineers, technicians, logisticians, specialists, and more to the Space Coast region and supported the creation of numerous other jobs indirectly related to the space program. The infusion of NASA spending into the local and state economy generated an overall economic impact of more than $4.1 Billion in 2008, translating into 40,802 jobs, $2.1 billion in household income, and $103 million in state and local taxes. [Source: Florida Tax Watch]

Insurance companies are ordering more home inspections. Here’s what to expect 
With financial losses mounting over recent years, insurance companies in Florida are ordering more home inspections. Their aim is to force homeowners to fix potential problems or find justifications to dump risky properties. John Strautman, owner of an expansive home in Fort Lauderdale’s historic Colee Hammock neighborhood, learned this the hard way several months after switching from his longtime insurance company to one with a lower annual rate. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
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
Final Days to Be Counted!
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