Volume 35 l September 2020
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

President's Desk
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
Hampton Inn & Suites Largo
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
Village Inn
Wealth Builders
We appreciate your continued support and loyalty!
From the President's Desk...
-----September greetings!
-----As I’m sure is the case with everyone, 2020 continues to be a year of firsts. It’s the first time in my 34-years of association leadership for a “do-over” of our Program of Work – our annually adopted goals and strategies.
-----At its meeting last week, your Board of Directors approved the do-over plan, which includes maintaining the current Board and Executive Committee through the 2021 program year (Oct-Sept). The goals/strategies we’ll continue to pursue range from technology upgrades and membership outreach initiatives to recognition and support of our growing manufacturing sector. Much more to come as the months unfold!
-----Through all these firsts, I continue to be grateful for the support and loyalty by you, our member businesses! Our renewal investments have been well above expected, and the growth with new businesses coming into our fold has been great. Thank you!
-----Remember to take advantage of our outreach services to share info about your business. They include our weekly BizReach newsletter and “We’re Back!” ribbon-cutting celebrations. You can find more information further down. Give me a call if you’re interested.
-----I hope you all continue to be healthy, safe and happy and get to enjoy the upcoming Labor Day Weekend!

Tom Morrissette, President
Why Join?
When businesses reach out to me and ask, “why join?” our Chamber during COVID, and “what have we done?” I’m proud of my reply and hope you will share!
“The Central Pinellas Chamber has been doing bi-weekly Zoom networking programs called “Morning Connections” that have been very successful since April. We have and are planning another “in-person” only Coffee An’Networking program following COVID guidelines. All of our committee and programming meetings including our three Leads Team networking groups have been hybrid, i.e. in-person and Zoom since June. We have been a regional leader in providing information and connections to our members for COVID assistance including PPP, SBA and county and local grants through Zoom, emails, our social media platforms, and electronic newsletters. And, our Chamber office has remained open through the pandemic.”
Tom Morrissette, President
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
Tampa Bay Partnership presents a regional “Equity Report “
-----While Tampa Bay enjoyed a period of relative economic prosperity prior to COVID-19, the global pandemic exposed the underlying vulnerabilities of our population and our economy.
-----The new 2020 Regional Equity Report reveals dramatic inequities for the region's Black residents, both within Tampa Bay and compared to a set of 19 benchmark communities across the country.
-----An analysis of 21 indicators related to economic vitality, talent, infrastructure, civic quality, poverty and employment shows that Tampa Bay’s Black residents are far more likely to be paid less, living in poverty and achieving less in school when compared to the region’s White residents. Without intervention, these disparities – and others – are likely to become more pronounced because of the COVID-19 crisis.
-----Read the full report here: Tampa Bay Equity Report
Stocks advanced relentlessly last week on positive COVID-19 developments, encouraging economic data, and a supportive policy shift in the Fed’s approach to its target inflation rate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 2.59%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 jumped 3.26%. The Nasdaq Composite index leaped 3.39% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 1.19%.

Stocks Power Higher 
Investors pushed stock prices higher all week as hopeful news came with each new day, from the announcement of a potential treatment for COVID-19 to news that U.S. and China negotiators had met by videoconference. Despite another high new jobless claims number, other economic data released during the week indicated a continuing economic recovery, further supporting investor enthusiasm for stocks. The Fed’s announcement of a shift in its inflation policy, which suggested that rates are likely to remain low for a long time, helped push the market higher. The momentum carried over into Friday, leaving the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite at new record highs and the Dow Jones in positive year-to-date territory.

Changes in the Dow Industrials 
It was announced last week that the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be undergoing some changes. Starting Monday, August 31, Salesforce.com, Amgen, and Honeywell International will be added to the 30 stocks in the Dow Industrials and Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, and Raytheon Technologies will be removed. In part, these changes were prompted by Dow-component Apple, which plans a four-to-one stock split on Monday, August 31. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index, and Apple’s split reduces the impact of technology on the index. The new changes are an attempt to mitigate that issue. 
A new home!
Chamber Trustee Jackson & Associates CPA, PA
Chamber President Tom Morrissette, left, with Tracy and Debbie Jackson, recently got a tour of the couple’s new Jackson & Associates CPA, PA headquarters. They’re located at Sugar Creek Professional Office Center, 10225 Ulmerton Road, Suite 10A in Largo. A Grand-Opening/Chamber Ribbon-Cutting is in the planning. More to come!
Gov. Ron DeSantis extends eviction and foreclosure moratorium until Oct. 1 
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced yet another extension of Florida’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures Monday evening, pushing back its expiration that was scheduled for 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning. DeSantis originally issued the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on April 2, but he made modifications to it when he announced an extension at the end of July. The modified version narrowed the scope to apply only to renters and single-family homeowners “adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency,” and opened the door for landlords and lenders to begin filing evictions or foreclosures but stated the “final action” would be halted in court. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel.

Largo, Clearwater add residential composting programs
Residents who live in single-family homes will be able to request a 65-gallon bin using a form on Largo.com, and the city will deliver the bin, along with educational materials, for free. Thomas said city staff will also work to ensure there is an educational campaign to help residents unfamiliar with composting. “We will actually partner with Keep Pinellas Beautiful to help promote the program and ensure participation and that our residents have all the information that they need,” she said, referring to the nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and beautification efforts. More from the Tampa Bay Newspapers.

Florida hotels try to attract ’work from home’ families
Some Florida resorts are morphing the pandemic-bolstered “work from home” trend into a business promotion: Work from hotels. More elbow room, strong and reliable WiFi and redefined “working vacations” are among the inspirations for relocating home offices, at least temporarily, executives say. Children attending virtual school can also be a factor. More from the Orlando 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
Schedule a “We’re Back”, Grand Opening, etc. Ribbon-Cutting
Celebrate your return to business, company achievement or your grand opening with a Chamber Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. Cost is $150. Includes photo/video placement on Chamber social media platforms and a copy for your business to share. Call us to book a date/time today! We recently commemorated the Source 1 Solutions' new Global Technical Services Center in Clearwater. The expanded state-of-the-art space is adjacent to its global headquarters. It's great to belong!
Mask Distribution Locations
Cloth face masks are available on a first come, first served basis at the following Central Pinellas locations. You’re encouraged to call before heading out to check mask availability. The county said supplies are limited and will be replenished as often as possible.
Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Dr., Largo, (727) 587-6715
Highpoint Neighborhood Family Center, 5812 150th Ave. N., Clearwater, (727) 533-0730
Clearwater Main Library, 100 N. Osceola Ave., Clearwater, (727) 562-4970
Barbara S. Ponce Public Library, 7770 52nd St. N., Pinellas Park, (727) 369-0669
Chamber Office Open (but wear a mask)
The Chamber’s 801 West Bay Drive, Largo office is now open for regular business. However, we require that you wear a mask to enter for your safety and ours. This is a public building, and visitors need to take an elevator to get to our 6th floor headquarters.

Please note our hours of operation until further notice.

Chamber Summer Office Hours
Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Friday
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