Message from the President

May 2020

Dear Valued Members,

In 1981 Dean Koontz wrote “The Eyes of Darkness” and he mysteriously writes about a pandemic that will occur in 2020 spreads throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and then will disappear. It seems very familiar to what we are going thru now, I only hope the part where it disappears is true.

At the Key West Chamber everyone is intent on getting out the facts about financial programs available from our local banks and credit unions. I ask that tenants and landlords work together as everyone has been financially strained by the impacts, in every conceivable way possible, from this virus with all of the shutdowns in our city, county, state, and country. We are happy to know that on Monday, May 4th we will start phase one in opening and hope to have phase two and three soon to follow. This will be an interesting summer as we reopen for business and learn what the new normal is, face masks for all?

We are also doing a fact-finding mission to quantify the economic impacts of the cruise ship industry within the City of Key West. What is the value of the industry to our community as far as employees and their jobs, as well as the employers and their businesses? Will a number of businesses be able to weather the downturn in business? How will it affect the sales tax, infrastructure tax, school tax and also our ad-valorem taxes if properties downtown are assessed at lower values? Our mission is to find out the information and inform and educate the community with the facts.

Our offices are open and ready to assist our members, answering questions, getting information out, and helping you promote your business. There has never been a greater need than now to shop and spend locally, as well as purchase items made in the USA!

Thanks to our board member Bill Lay we have a new committee named Bars & Restaurants. They had their first zoom meeting, with perfect timing as we start to re-open. We also had our first virtual general membership meeting with 181 folks signed in, let’s hope we don’t have too many more of them and we are back to see each other face to face. Just a reminder board election are right around the corner in July therefore, if you’re thinking of running for the board reach out to Scott or myself if you have any questions that we can answer.

We look forward to the many newly painted and spruced up businesses in Key West as many employers have had their staff busy doing projects during this down time period that couldn’t be accomplished during our busy time. Also, we all look forward to having Duval and Simonton streets repaved as well.
Everyone please be safe as we reopen and thank you for supporting your chamber thru your membership.

Greg Sullivan