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SRQ DAILY May 14, 2020

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Freshly Squeezed Content Every Morning

"We can't really afford to spend our very limited dollars building consumer confidence in flying."

- Erin Duggan, Visit Sarasota County.

[Hospitality]  Tourism-Dependent Industry Navigates Pandemic Fallout
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

For all the diversification of Florida’s economy since the Great Recession, tourism remains a pillar in the Sarasota-Bradenton market. But with the greatest economic threat of the moment scaring tourists away—if not outright driving government to outright prohibit some visitors—how will many companies survive regardless of whether beaches are open?

At an online symposium about economic challenges hosted by SRQ MEDIA, tourism leaders explained the challenges and path ahead amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Manatee County was projected for a banner spring until the coronavirus scare brought tourism to the area to a halt around March 12. First spring training and events were canceled, then more beach vacations were called off. By month’s end bed taxes were down 34%.

“And we all know April isn’t going to be pretty at all,” he said.

But there’s positive signs drive traffic can pick up and bring visitors to the region. Area beaches have opened in both counties. For some time, the people who can come by land will be the market officials try to reach.

“We can’t really afford to spend our very limited dollars building consumer confidence in flying,” said Erin Duggan, vice president of Visit Sarasota County. “We're going to have to wait until we start to see that consumer sentiment change and for people to have their confidence restored in that before we start targeting a fly market. We're really going to be targeting the drive markets and then we're balancing that against residents' sentiment.”

That’s critical, especially to organizations spending tax dollars. Many residents today simply don’t want a flood of tourists from other parts of the country potentially bringing further spread of a novel coronavirus.

But there’s also an array of companies in the region relying on visitors to the area, even those not directly associated with tourism.

“Restaurants and retail are just in dire straights right now,” said Christine Robinson, executive director of The Argus Foundation. “When you have to make an appointment to go into a store, and the maximum number of people they allow in the store is six, that’s just not sustainable.”

Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, said she’s seen some industries cancel projects and others put fresh attention to operations. Home improvement actually has seen a spike, which helps contractors, but then any work planned at area nursing homes has been cancelled with visitation to facilities prohibited. School renovation projects once planned for summer have been accelerated. Basically, industries across the board just need to dust off a decade-old playbook on enduring a recession, which among other things calls for local business to support one another without the outside world giving the economy a lift.

“It would be a goal of every one of our members that we don’t cook for the rest of the year,” Dougherty said. “Take your family out to a meal or pickup take-out. Support these retailers. We’ve come together before.” 

Excerpts from SRQ Magazine's Economic Recovery Symposium will continue in the May 18 edition of SRQ DAILY. The full symposium will be published in the June edition of SRQ Magazine.

[Gardening]  Kathy Crowley on Unearthing and Bringing Back the Revered Old Garden Rose
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

The Old Garden Rose, also known as “antique” or “heirloom” rose, is often described as tough, sturdy, disease-resistant, carefree and prolific. Old Garden rose shrubs require very little, to no tending, and have resiliently existed for thousands of years. However, after 1867, the “modern” rose came into existence when the first hybrid tea rose was discovered. Today, about 80% of all roses grown are of the modern class—usurping the heirloom rose from many landscapes and gardens. 

If you love all things vintage, or maybe just love having flowers in your garden your neighbor likely won’t have, don't fretsome can still be unearthed today.  If you’re looking to incorporate a bit of history and distinctive fragrance in your yard by planting an heirloom rose, seek Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nursery & Gardens Inc. Located out by Myakka City, her and her family discovered a pleasant surprise when they found Old Garden roses. Now growing at her property for close to 20 years, “Some we have uncovered under weeds,” she says. “Some started blooming that we forgot all about and we realized how easy they are to grow.” 

SRQ: So what are some particular tidbits you’d like to share about tending to these vintage keepsakes? 

Kathy: Old garden roses tend to get yellow leaves that just fall off on their own—you do not have to do anything special to them like pick every leaf off and seal in a bag and throw them away.  Also, they do like to be a little on the acidic side, so think about adding coffee grinds or maybe some diluted pickled juice around the drip line of the plant. They come in different colors, some are climbers and some are large or small shrubs.

Louie Philippe (named for the 1800’s French King) is one of the biggest sellers, as it blooms year-round and buds profusely. It can be a large shrub or climb to the top of an old oak tree. Another favorite of ours is Prosperity, which is a cluster of white with as many as six to eight blooms in a cluster. We love the scent of these two roses. There are very few modern roses that can be grown on their own roots like old garden roses can. Belinda's Dream, for example, is a very large pink rose that blooms year-round and does not have to be put on a rootstock. We spray ours with our Atomic Grow and Key Plex to keep the thrips (plant damaging pests) off of them. 

We sell our old garden roses year-round and you can also find new roses from time to time. Newer, modern roses do require a bit more work. They need to be sprayed and their yellow leaves put in a bag and thrown away. They are grown for the flowers, not the foliage. And being on a rootstock, you need to watch that it does not take over the plant and kill it, as the rootstock is stronger than the rose.

If you have a particular gardening question you'd like answered and featured in a future column, email SRQDailyGardening@srqme.com  

Crowley Nursery, 16423 Jomar Road Sarasota, 941-322-0315.

[Impact Grant]  Key Chorale receives Community Impact Grant from Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Thanks to a grant of $3,200 recently awarded by the Martha Leiter and Nancy Streetman Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Key Chorale was able to reach out virtually to thousands of singers with their Come Together Choir Online Choral Rehearsals. These rehearsals weren’t just for local singers, but could be experienced by anyone, anywhere in the country via Key Chorale’s YouTube channel.

Viewers registered in advance to receive PDF copies of the music to be rehearsed during these online choral rehearsals. Vital components of Key Chorale's mission are "transforming lives through innovative programming" and "service to the community". Even after these two months of isolation, many organizations have entertained viewers online, but few organizations have enlisted actual participation at the level of this endeavor, nearly 400 registrants from throughout the country and beyond, and more than 4,000 views of the episodes. Though the weekly rehearsals have already premiered, all episodes are always available to watch on Key Chorale’s YouTube channel. If you missed it, you can still register to get PDFs of the music and sing-a-long with the 6 episodes.

“Innovation and service are in the DNA of Key Chorale. We were pleased to provide the therapeutic value of making music, not only to our Sarasota friends of the Off Key Chorale and Where Are My Keys? Chorale, but also to any and every one wanting and needing a lift in these troubling times. We are indebted to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for underwriting this important outreach and service,” said Larry D Patton, Chorale President. 

Click for more.

[Growth]  PGTI Reports 2020 First Quarter Results

PGT Innovations, Inc. (NYSE: PGTI), a national leader in premium windows and doors, including impact-resistant products and products designed to unify indoor/outdoor living spaces, today announced financial results for its first quarter ended April 4, 2020.
Financial Highlights for First Quarter 2020 compared to First Quarter 2019

— Net sales increased 27 percent, to $220 million, including $16 million from our NewSouth acquisition
— Net income increased 89 percent, to $16 million
— Net income per diluted share increased 86 percent, to $0.26, and adjusted net income per diluted share increased 75 percent, to $0.28
—Adjusted EBITDA increased 39 percent, to $39 million

“We started the year by achieving significant sales growth, reflecting the overall strength of our brands in the housing market going into 2020,” said Jeff Jackson, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We saw strong organic growth of 18% in our Southeast business unit, and 14% for our Western business unit, inclusive of an extra selling week within the first quarter of 2020, as compared to the prior year. Additionally, the newest addition to our Company, NewSouth Window Solutions, which we acquired on February 1, 2020, has started off strong, growing orders more than 50 percent compared to the prior year quarter.” 

Click for more on PGTI.

[Staff Announcement]  Manatee District Announces New Associate Superintendent for Finance

Tim Bargeron, who has spent 32 years working in educational finance in Florida school districts, has been named the Associate Superintendent for Finance for the School District of Manatee County. Bargeron’s appointment was approved by the School Board of Manatee County at Tuesday night’s meeting. From 2002 to 2018, Bargeron served in several roles including Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for the St. Lucie County School District. He has also served as the Director of Finance for the Martin County School District from 1995 to 2001, and in other financial capacities with the school districts of Hernando County, Marion County and Union County – all in Florida – dating back to 1985. Bargeron is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations for the Galveston Independent School District in Texas. Bargeron’s first day with the school district is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2020. 

Click for more.

[Sales Tax Free Holiday]  Tax-Free Holiday May 29-June 4 on Storm Supplies

The 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. This sales tax holiday begins Friday, May 29, 2020, and extends through Thursday, June 4, 2020.

During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax. However, the sales tax holiday does not apply to the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items. Additionally, the sales tax holiday does not apply to sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or airport.

Qualifying items include: Selling for $10 or less: Reusable ice packs; Selling for $20 or less, any portable, self-powered light sources powered by battery, solar, hand crank or gas; Selling for $25 or less, any gas or diesel fuel containers; Selling for $30 or less, batteries, including rechargeable batteries (excluding automobile and boat batteries)n and coolers and ice chests; Selling for $50 or less, bungee cords, ground anchor systems, radios, ratchet straps, tarpaulines, tie-down kits, visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and other flexible waterproof sheeting; and, Selling for $750 or less, portable generators used to provide light or communications or to preserve food in the events of a power outage. 

Click here for a full list of qualifying items.

[Restaurants]  City Expands Outdoor Dining Options for Local Restaurants

The City of Sarasota has created a new temporary outdoor café permit in an effort to aid local restaurants with a speedy economic recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new temporary permit allows restaurants to expand or add new outdoor seating arrangements to accommodate recommended social distancing standards. It also eases some of the requirements under the traditional sidewalk café permit, including allowing for temporary seating in designated parking spaces. There is no fee for the application, which is available online (click on “Form M2”). Physical copies are also available for pickup in the first-floor lobby of the City Hall Annex, 1565 First St. The streamlined permitting process includes an expedited review of completed applications, with a goal of having them processed as quickly as within 24 hours of submission.  For questions, contact the Development Applications Coordinator at sean.wilkins@sarasotaFL.gov or 941-263-6451. 

Click here for the application.

[Giving Back]  Copenhagen Imports Partners with All Faiths Food Bank

Copenhagen Imports is partnering with All Faith's Food Bank for a charity promotion with their Ekornes furniture line. When customers donate $50 to All Faith's Food Bank, they will receive up to $500 off a Stressless chair of up to $200 per seat on a Stressless sofa. "There has been so much in the news lately about our local food banks working hard to keep up with demands during these trying times and often not being able to meet the needs of the demand," says Kristina Hansen of Copenhagen Imports. "Given the current economic climate, this probably will not be getting better for a long time and it puts a strain on the community to keep families fed." Reach out to Kristina Hansen at 941-923-2569 for more information on their giving back program. 

Click for more information on Copenhagen Imports.

[Business]  RecoverManatee Launches

As many businesses navigate aspects of welcoming back employees and customers, the Manatee Chamber remains committed to being a trusted source for accurate, timely information and guidance from official sources. Our community and economy is transitioning into restart and recovery, which means businesses will be developing strategies that require access to relevant information and updated resources. With a daily focus on this important role, we are proud to announce the launch of RecoverManatee.


On this new website, you will find links to help your business in the following ways:

Relief – Access to information, assistance, and resources including loan/grant programs, tax credits, fee and filing deadline changes, and more.

Restart – Links for guidance and recommendations during Phase 1, with updates as Florida moves into new phases, including CDC and OSHA guidelines, industry-specific resources, links to vendors for health and safety products, and more.

Recover – Links to webinars covering a variety of topics that can assist you and your team in developing strategies for recovery. A future focus will be on mid- and longer-range measures needed to transition from “restart” to a recovery that reverses this economic downturn and positions your business and our economy to return to a growth trajectory.

Reimagine – As our community, state, and country explore long-term strategies to build resiliency in our economy, we will ensure that the voice of local business is heard. The Florida Scorecard offers a synopsis of important metrics that inform a 2030 Plan for our state with the ability to drill down to the county level.

As we continue to build-out RecoverManatee, we want to hear from you about how it can be even more helpful so please share your ideas and suggestions with us. 

Click for more.

[Theater]  The Players Centre Cancels 2020 Summer Sizzler Series

The Players Centre for Performing Arts has made the sad and difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Sizzler Series due to COVID-19. The Players’ priority is the safety, comfort and health of our patrons, volunteers and staff.

This year’s Summer Sizzler Series was set to include Sylvia written by A.R. Gurney (June 10 through 21), Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits book and lyrics by Gerald Alessandrini (July 15 through 26) and Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller (August 12 through 23.)

The Players has been closed since Friday March 13. The theatre estimates an additional loss of $300,000 with the loss of the Summer programming. After cancelling the last show in the 90th Wilde Broadway Series Anything Goes, the last Backstage at The Players show, Rabbit Hole, all end of the season studio shows (Peter/Wendy, The Music Man Jr, Jukebox Musical, The End of Year Showcase and The Flash Tappers’ Fabulous Feet), SNAP series concerts (Could It Be Magic and Pioneers of Rock n’ Soul), fundraisers (90th Season Birthday Celebration and Those Were the Days) and studio classes, The Players finds itself in uncharted waters.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce this cancellation. Like other producing organizations, the shows we have been working on for over a year now had a life to them, they had a hopeful director and creative team already thinking and working and planning. For some people they were just titles of shows, for us, it was the beginning of art!” says Jeffery Kin, Interim CEO and Managing Artistic Director of The Players Centre. “Planning for a successful play or musical is hard work, but it’s what we love. To let these three productions go is not just the loss of much needed summer income it’s losing just a bit of our joy. We pray our patrons will be understanding and note with pride the heartache of this decision. We were so fortunate with the outpouring of love and support when we had to cancel Anything Goes where very few people even requested their money back. Our theater will continue, we guarantee we’ll be ready and prepared when we can continue our mission.” 

Click for more.

[Giving Back]  Community Giving Exceeds Patrick and Mary Mulva's Matching Gift for $175,000

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is pleased to announce that, thanks to incredible community support, the nonprofit theatre has raised almost $187,800 in individual contributions made towards a matching gift of $175,000 pledged by the generous donors Patrick and Mary Mulva. This outpouring of community support has exceeded the matching gift by almost $12,800. In mid-March, the Mulvas announced that they would match every contribution made to FST, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. This matching gift was planned to coincide with the 2020 Giving Challenge in an effort to inspire others to give. Following the exceptional success of this year’s 24-hour online Giving Challenge campaign, the Mulvas responded by expanding their matching gift to FST from $100,000 to $175,000. “The generosity of our community never ceases to amaze me,” said Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “I was touched when Mary and Pat Mulva initially extended their support of $100,000, and was deeply moved when they expanded their gift due to others’ generosity. Every gift will help the theatre stay strong, move ahead, and prepare for the future.” “We have always been great fans of the theatre and were so excited to discover FST when we moved to Sarasota in 2018,” said Patrick and Mary Mulva. “As we learned more about FST’s mission and the people who make it the vibrant place it is, we were even more impressed and committed to its ongoing success. The theatre’s unmatched quality of productions, commitment to presenting relevant and challenging topics onstage, educational focus on youth, and economic impact on our community are so important.”

For more information on the matching challenge grant, made possible by the generous gift of Patrick and Mary Mulva, please contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh, FST’s Director of Individual Giving, at (941) 366-9017 x326 or at mmora-shihadeh@floridastudiotheatre.org. 

[Re-Openings]  Tommy Bahama Reopening Retail Stores

Tommy Bahama has begun to strategically reopen its retail and restaurant locations across the country. On May 17th, Tommy Bahama will be reopen five retail locations in Florida, an additional two restaurants on May 21st and five more retail locations on May 22. They plan to open in accordance with the state's capacity limit and other health and safety regulations. The retail store located at 371 St. Armand's Circle will reopen on May 17th with daily hours from 11am to 6pm. The Tommy Bahama retail store at the University Town Center will reopen on May 22 with daily hours from 11am to 7pm and Sunday, 12pm to 6pm. 

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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