John Wright


There’s a lot of “buzz” on social media about the Punta Gorda Chamber’s events and activities recently.

Now that COVID restrictions are lightening up and the mask ordinances have sunset, attendance is on the rise once again to pre-pandemic levels. At our last networking luncheon at the Village Fish Market, the filled room was in rare form getting back to business and networking once again. The meeting was a true blessing, seeing our community and its band of small business leaders gather together to work with and alongside each other. The Charlotte Harbor Dragons won the hearts of a table-load of new paddlers: Valerie’s House and The Center for Change united to commit to a joint fundraiser this summer, in collaboration with the PG Chamber. Fishermen’s Village gushed with excitement as they announced the July 3 fireworks are back, free to the public. The Animal Welfare League introduced a new service, which, although sad, gives even more funding to help and rescue unwanted pets in our community. “Pay it forward” is a brand-new cremation service, that will look after your pet after it has passed, but every dollar you pay goes back to the Animal Welfare League to support those pets in need. It is very important to reconfirm that the AWL is a no-kill shelter, so this crematory is not there to service the shelter, but, you, the caring pet owners. To contact “Pay it forward” either call 941-232-0715 or visit

There was a magic in the room. It was as if the clouds had lifted and the community was 100% back to supporting each other. Roll on to the next one.

Tonight, we meet at the Visual Arts Center on Maud Street, opposite the entrance to Fishermen’s Village, for our June Business After Hours, sponsored by WhitCo Insurance. The event starts at 5:30 p.m., and if you would like to attend, please call us today on 941-639-3720 to RSVP. If you are attending, please try and bring along a small gift to promote your business in the drawing. It’s always a FUN time: Fully Understanding Networking.

On June 23, we visit the Burg’r Bar on Tamiami Trail in downtown Punta Gorda for our June Networking Luncheon. The cost is $20 to attend and an RSVP and pre-payment is required by calling 941-639-3720.

Tomorrow, June 16, is a very special day in the world of Illusions Salon and Spa as they celebrate 20 years of serving this community and making us all a lot prettier. At 5:30 p.m., we are conducting a celebratory ribbon cutting to honor these 20 years. Please feel free to join us at 115 Taylor St., Punta Gorda, as well as joining in the celebrations that will be running all day.

On June 22, we are going to welcome ServPro of Punta Gorda with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. at their new office, which just happens to be right here at the Punta Gorda Chamber Office, 252 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, in the Executive Suites. It’s indeed a great sign, when you see ribbon cuttings falling back onto our program of work.

Working on events like the upcoming Wine and Jazz Festival Week firmly show the impact of such events on our community and moving it this year to November, has proven to be a great boon to what we would normally call the “shoulder season.” When the Wine and Jazz Festival started up in February 2005, we needed every bit of help we could get. Now, 16 years later, February around here kinda takes care of itself. The event and the PG Chamber are focused on local businesses doing even better at a time of year when we can focus and enjoy it. We are so looking forward to four jazz-filled days from Nov. 17-20. Tickets are now available by visiting the shop chamber link at The Thursday night event is already sold out, so do not delay in getting your Wednesday, Friday and Saturday tickets before the same happens to them to. We are truly honored to get this show back on the road. Special hotel rates are available at the FourPoints by Sheraton ($109). More hotels to follow shortly. Simply call them asking for the Wine and Jazz rate: 941-637-6770. It’s time to enjoy family, friends and great music once again, right here in our backyard. Punta Gorda will party (safely) that week for sure.

Our office is open each weekday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for your convenience. Have you visited our offices recently? We are located at 252 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, and we have two rooms filled with every piece of literature you could possibly need to make your stay, your residence or your business more fulfilling than ever. Don’t forget, if you prefer, our website has a new addition — our new 2021 Member and Visitor Guide, which makes looking up our members and finding things to do even easier for you. The link you’ll find in the top right of our homepage. If you have any questions about our city, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to help.

John R. Wright is president of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce,


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