Bill Gunnin

Bill Gunnin

Sarasota County government and the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County want input from businesses on how to use funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

If you are a business person in North Port, they are asking for your help.

Known as the CARES Act, it established and appropriated $150 billion to the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The fund is to be used to help states and certain local governments.

In Florida, the money will make its way to local governments through the Florida Department of Emergency Management. It is estimated that Sarasota County could be eligible for up to $75 million for eligible reimbursements that meet criteria.

The funds will need to be spent by December 2020. The Sarasota County Commission recently approved that the CARES Act funding could be used on the following funding categories:

• Safety and security

• Health and medical

• Food, water and shelter

• Economic recovery

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County is gathering feedback from our business community to help make recommendations to the County Commission about how these funds can be used locally.

Business are encouraged and requested to go to the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce website,, to complete a four question survey on how to best use the CARES Act Funding for economic recovery. Results from the survey will be presented to the Sarasota County Commission for review and consideration.


We’re conducting a chamber orientation from 8:30-9:30 a.m. today, July 29, at the Olde World Restaurant, 14415 S. Tamiami Trail. Members and the public can also view the orientation live on our Facebook page.

Orientation is free and designed to show the benefits and opportunities that comes with a chamber membership to new, current and prospective members. Seating will be limited in accordance to the CDC recommended seating and social distancing guidelines. Participants attending in person are requested to register in advance. Participants will have an opportunity to order a meal off the Olde World Restaurant’s delicious breakfast menu.


Every week, the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a 30-minute “Business Spotlight Show” on WKDW 97.5 FM Radio. These shows are taped each Friday at 11:30 am and air the following Wednesday on 97.5 FM Radio Station at 6:30 pm. These shows are also broadcast live on the Chamber’s facebook page at 11:30 am each Friday. The “Business Spotlight Show” is design to showcase Chamber businesses and organizations that provide great products and services to our community. This week, the Chamber will be talking to William Chubb, Loan Consultant at loanDepot. Please join us and learn more about our wonderful Chamber businesses and organizations.


The North Port Chamber is hosting a Live Facebook “Coffee with the Docs” with Dr. Lee Gross and Dr. William Crouch of epiphany Health on the chamber’s Facebook page at 8 a.m. each Friday to discuss the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Gross and Dr. Crouch are very knowledgeable and are frequently in contact with the White House and the State Capital. Submit questions in the “Comment Box” on the chamber’s Facebook page, or email in advance to


Our “BILL”board campaign is starting off to a smashing success for the chamber and its participating partners. Each day, I wear different business attire that has been provided by various business partners that request to have their business or organization promoted through this campaign. During the day, I will email a promotional flyer about their business or organization, post the promotional flyer and conduct a live posting on the chamber’s Facebook page. This program is free to all chamber businesses, and dates are still available. This week, I’d like to thank Olde World Restaurant & Sherwood Forest Lounge, Do-Well Painting, Buffalo Graffix, The Florida Center for Early Childhood and loanDepot.


We would like to welcome An Organized Move, Award Living Solutions, and Irma’s Taco Craft Beer & Tequila Bar as the newest members of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Gunnin is executive director of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 941-564-3040 or or visit


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