Volume 52 l December 2020
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Special New Year Week 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!
Happy New Year!
May your 2021 be merry and bright!
Your Chamber Team:
Tom, Kelvin and Karen

Chamber New Year Hours 
Closed Thursday, Dec. 31 and Friday, Jan. 1
In Memoriam
Thomas “Gene” Evans 1960-2020

It’s with sadness that we recognize the passing of the Chamber’s 2011 Chairman of the Board Gene Evans. His courageous battle with cancer, his fundraising efforts for a cancer cure, and his community service throughout his banking career is an inspiration to all.

In 2009, Gene was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. In 2011, he founded Paddle Against Cancer and raised more than $300,000 for the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. Gene’s determination to raise funds to cure cancer brought him several accolades including a part of Moffitt’s Community of Courage campaign. In 2016 he was awarded the Spirit of Philanthropy on National Philanthropy Day and that same year received the Chamber’s prestigious Inspire Award which read “Your personal triumph and generosity is touching the lives of many.”

We extend our thoughts and prayers to Gene’s wife Katy, his family and many longtime friends.

A full tribute to Gene is provided by Dignity Memorial: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/st-pete-beach-fl/thomas-evans-9944097 No public services are scheduled at this time.
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 JANUARY 11 - 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 on 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.
Help Grow Your Chamber! Get $50 Each Recruit and $1,000 in Biz Training!

 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!
Final Days for 2020 Tax Deduction
It's for the kids! 
Thanks to everyone who participated and donated to the Holiday Follies Chamber Education Fund program that was 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. All donations are 100% tax deductible. Here's the link: www.centralchamber.biz/chamber-in-action/education-fundIf 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
 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 
From Pinellas County Government…
Florida remains in “Phase 3” reopen mode
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 2,043 per day over the past 14 days. Worthy of note is that the 14-day rolling average hit a record high of 2,150 cases per day on December 24. At 8.58%, 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 no change from last week’s rate. Statewide, the positive testing rate stayed below the 10% threshold for a fifteenth consecutive week, falling from 8.70% to 8.41%. The 7-day rolling average of Tampa Bay patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 increased by 12.2% in the past week and, as of Sunday, 1,325 such patients were hospitalized.
More PPP loans are coming. Here’s how your business can get a second one.
President Donald Trump has signed into law a new $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus package. Among its provisions: An extension of last spring’s Paycheck Protection Program, allowing another $284 billion or so in forgivable, federally backed loans for ailing small businesses. The initial program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration, shepherded some $525 billion to more than 5 million recipients but was fraught with loopholes and liabilities that raised countless issues throughout an already complex process. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Politicians of the Year: The Mayors
As the COVID-19 pandemic proved the greatest public health crisis to confront the nation in a century, there was one group of Floridians who stood out among all others in the race to beat the monster. The Mayors. The disaster struck with the deadly daily force of a hurricane — an invisible one that left buildings standing but hospital bed inventories crushed. Worse, it’s a storm that stayed put for nine months, and as a cold front strikes, the winds of death and sorrow appear only to be picking up speed. More from Florida Politics.

‘It was an unmitigated disaster’: Small business owners reflect on 2020, hopes for next year
Small businesses across South Florida have all faced a lot of challenges this year, but many of them have hope for 2021. Four unique businesses offer uncommon goods and services to South Florida. Three owners and a director shared their stories of fear, uncertainty, successes, and triumphs: Rick Medina, owner of Arcade Odyssey, a token-operated arcade in Kendall; Javier Chavez, the associate manager of the Coral Gables Art Cinema; Linda Udell Zakheim, owner of Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour, Restaurant and Country Store in Dania Beachand; and William Chrisant, owner of the Old Florida Book Shop. More from WLRN.

Driverless shuttles spark more interest in St. Petersburg than Tampa
Visitors to downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg this month have had the chance to catch a free ride on shuttles that have neither drivers nor steering wheels. It’s the first time autonomous technology has been readily available to the general public in Tampa Bay. Private partner Beep is behind both pilot programs, which aim to see how receptive people will be to the newest form of transit to hit local streets. But while both projects launched during the fall, and under the same company, their popularity has proven dramatically different. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Please join us in welcoming new Chamber member, Robert Coughlin with Mr. Handyman! Robert is opening the Mr. Handyman franchise in Tarpon Springs and is celebrating their grand opening on Tuesday, December 29th at 3:30p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This is our last ribbon cutting ceremony of 2020. Learn more and register for the event by clicking the button below. We hope you may join Rob and the Chamber in celebration.
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