Volume 1 l January 2021
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

President's Desk
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!
From the President's Desk...
-----Happy 2021! Cheers to a brighter year.
-----Making it one is a personal resolution. I don’t think I’ll ever again take for granted seeing family, travelling or even going to a movie. Hope to do all this and more before we sing another Auld Lang Syne. 
-----On the professional side, I’ve resolved to make your Chamber a more member-driven organization in 2021. To do so, I’ll be relying heavily on the Board of Directors and committees and looking for input from every individual member. Our relevancy after COVID, and the services we provide to our businesses and community-at-large, will depend upon it.
-----As a first step, please take our 2021 Central Pinellas Business Survey when you receive it next week. Your responses will provide the framework in our post-pandemic planning. For our evolution to be successful, it must reflect your needs!
-----Wishing you a prosperous January. Continue to be healthy, safe and happy. And as always, thank you for your continued Chamber support and loyalty!
-----Tom Morrissette, President 
WELCOME MR. HANDYMAN! Rob Coughlin, owner of Pinellas County’s first Mr. Handyman franchise, cuts the ribbon celebrating its opening here during a Chamber ceremony last week. He’s joined by his wife Jill, his Mr. Handyman team and family members. (See the video: Mr. Handyman Ceremony) Located in Tarpon Springs, the business serves Palm Harbor, Clearwater and Largo. Since 1996, about one million home and business owners have trusted Mr. Handyman for repairs and maintenance. For Mr. Handyman service, call 727-758-5904 or email Clearwater.Owner@MrHandyman.com
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!
COMING NEXT WEEK - 2021 Annual Chamber Business Survey
 -----Your Voice Matters! This year more than ever!
-----The annual Chamber Business Survey will be distributed to the full Chamber membership the week of January 11. We hope to gain insight on how your business is doing, your workforce issues and the challenges you currently face or expect to face in 2021.
-----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.
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.
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 
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, to an all-time high of 2,317 per day over the past 14 days. Rising from 8.58% to 11.98%, Tampa Bay's positive testing rate now exceeds the 10% threshold outlined in state and federal re-opening guidelines for the first time in 23 weeks. Statewide, the positive testing rate also exceeds the 10% threshold, rising from 8.41% to 11.58%. The 7-day rolling average of Tampa Bay patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 increased by 17% in the past week and, as of Sunday, 1,661 such patients were hospitalized.
Stocks moved higher during a holiday-shortened week of trading, capping off a turbulent, but otherwise strong year for equity investors. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.35%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 increased by 1.43%. The Nasdaq Composite index, which led all year, added 0.65%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 2.02%.

Stocks End 2020 on a Positive Note -- Stocks established fresh record highs last week, propelled by the signing of a COVID-19 relief bill, which delivered on a long-awaited, new round of economic stimulus and served to prevent a government shutdown in the near term. After pulling back on disappointment that the Senate was not able to increase individual stimulus payments to $2,000, stocks reversed direction as the approval of another vaccine by the U.K. lifted investor sentiment. Ahead of the New Year holiday, stocks surged higher, leaving the Dow Jones Industrials Average and the S&P 500 Index to close 2020 at record highs.
From Pinellas County Government…
A triumphant year in space despite a difficult 2020, and Florida was at the center of it all 
2020, the trying year that it was, was a triumphant one for space exploration. And at the center for some of the year’s most consequential missions was the Space Coast of Florida. In all, Florida saw 31 successful launches — SpaceX missions deploying batches of Starlink satellites for Elon Musk’s growing internet constellation; satellite missions for the military, for SiriusXM and for the South Korean and Argentinian governments; as well cargo resupply missions for the International Space Station carrying dozens of science experiments. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Crime in Florida decreased in 2020, and numbers can provide insight into pandemic’s lasting effect 
Data released Thursday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows total crime dropped nearly 12% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time last year, continuing a downward trend in statewide crime rates over the past four years. But some violent crime increased, including 16.2% and 6.5% jumps in murders and aggravated assaults, respectively, FDLE said. Rapes dropped nearly 10% while robberies decreased 14.3%. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

2020 is over, but Florida top political developments will reverberate long into the future 
Politically, 2020 is far from over. Although a new Congress is about to be sworn in and Joe Biden will soon be inaugurated as president, many of the year’s political trends — and the decisions made by Florida voters — will continue reverberating through the 2022 campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate and in the 2024 presidential election. The coronavirus pandemic, of course, consumed politics and just about everything else in American life. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Coronavirus led to a dad’s new passion: building desks for e-learners 
Donnie Dewey learned woodworking from his stepfather, and it became a passion for him. On Facebook, he saw stories about people who were building desks for distance-learning students during the pandemic. I should do that, he thought. Then: I am going to do that. Building them was something he could do for families who might be struggling. He knew, from his stepmother who is a teacher, how tenuous education is for so many this school year. But, for the 42-year-old business executive and former Marine, it was a whole lot more. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
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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