At this time of year especially, I would like to stress the importance of shopping local. Small business is the backbone of our community. The business and store owners and employees all, for the most part, live and work in our neighborhoods. They themselves are consumers too. It is so easy to hit the Purchase Online button, but just imagine what we might look like with fewer storefronts to savor! The entire look of our community would change, and fewer visitors would find us as appealing as they do now. September is notoriously the slowest business month of the year. If we could all do our part to get out there and support our local merchants, we’d all be benefiting from the security that our business community can remain strong and make it through the slow period, before the onslaught of our seasonal guests arrive again to fill our stores and restaurants, etc. Enjoy your upcoming holiday weekend festivities, but please give a thought to “shopping your neighbors” to help our entire community prosper. Thank you for your consideration. Your action is much appreciated.

The date for the semi-final and final rounds of our Chamber Feud Challenge has been set for Thursday, Sept. 5 starting at 5 p.m. at the PG Women’s Club, 118 Sullivan St., Punta Gorda. The four semi-finalists are Friendly Floors, Florida SouthWestern State College, Chapman Insurance Agency and Re/Max Anchor Realty. Come on out Sept. 5 and see which two make the final, and which team will lift the Championship Trophy! Admission is a ridiculous $2 with beverages and popcorn available for donation at the event. You simply can’t buy entertainment at this price!

Networking in the coming days includes our August Networking Luncheon tomorrow, starting at noon with networking and lunch served at 12:30 p.m. Our hosts will be Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home located at 9400 Indian Spring Cemetery Road, Punta Gorda. I’ll actually be the guest speaker at this lunch, so be warned! I’ll be revisiting and reminding you of all the incredible benefits of Chamber membership and how to navigate your online presence on our website, that will help draw more people to your business. To reserve your seat at the table, RSVP to 941-639-3720. Lunch costs $15 plus you’ll be leaving with great information, new contacts and a smile on your face!

Then Thursday night, we conduct the ribbon cutting for a new store located on the corner of Sullivan and Virginia in downtown Punta Gorda — called A Few of my favorite Things. You are all invited to join us at 5:30 p.m. for the celebrations.

Also just added is our PG Chamber Halloween Party, to be held on Friday, Oct. 25 this year, at Angela’s Café Italiano, in their haunted garden. The party will start at 7–11 p.m. with live music, heavy appetizers and Happy Hour all night! Attendees get free entrance into the costume contest, being judged at 9 p.m. BOGO house wines, wells and domestic beers all night. Space is limited so call us now to get your groups together. $60 for a great and thrilling night out! This coming Friday, I have been invited by Angela’s to emcee their Miss Punta Gorda event.

Take a little time this week to revisit our award-winning website www.puntagordachamber.com and check out the many events on the horizon. The Mindi Abair Festival in November and the 15th Annual Wine & Jazz Festival in February 2020 should not be missed. Get your tickets now as space is becoming limited in certain ticket areas.

Whether you are local or just visiting, we have a weekly e-newsletter that can be delivered to your inbox every Friday full of events, programs and information to assist you. It’s called the Friday Facts. To sign up, simply click the icon on our website www.puntagordachamber.com, call us on 941 639 3720 or email your details to chamber@puntagorda-chamber.com. You’ll never be out of the loop again. There’s so much more to find. Go to www.puntagordachamber.com. Click Quick Links and locate the Friday Facts. You’ll never be so well informed! Our offices will close on Monday, Sept. 2 in celebration of Labor Day. We’ll reopen on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Have a great weekend!

John R. Wright is President of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce. Email: jrwright@puntagorda-chamber.com

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