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NFM Chamber continues local business assistance efforts

By Staff | Jun 17, 2020

Just because the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has its social events on hold doesn’t mean it hasn’t been helping the businesses they serve.

The Chamber has been promoting open businesses, regardless of whether they are Chamber members, on its Facebook page, and it plans to get back to full strength by mid-July.

The welcome center at the Shell Factory is set to reopen on Wednesday, July 15, after some remodeling to aid in social distancing, to coincide with the return of the monthly business leaders luncheon, said executive director Wendy Murray.

“We’re looking for some volunteers to commit for whatever many hours they would like to work per week,” Murray said. “Many of the volunteers go north for the summer.”

The first luncheon at the welcome center will be a Lunch and Learn for the hurricane season, which officially began June 1. The breakfast networking and after-hours events will resume in August.

Until that happens, the Chamber has done much of its promotion online, which Murray said has paid off, with Facebook hits up more than 35 percent from before the pandemic.

“We’ve done more texting and we’ve allowed anyone with something of interest to post on Facebook, such as if they’re open and specials to restaurants, as well as service jobs like plumbers and insurance agents that have remained open,” Murray said, who has been out speaking with members several days a week.

Murray said she plans to hold another new member blitz in the next few weeks, with specials for those who want to join.

Other events have had to be pushed back. A candidate forum to be jointly held with the North Fort Myers Civic Association and scheduled for the end of May had to be rescheduled for September in advance of the General Election.

Also, the August luncheon will also serve as the Chamber’s “Celebrity Waiters” event on Thursday, Aug. 6, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Faith Assembly of God. The event was previously scheduled for June before the pandemic postponed it.

The Chamber’s premier event, the Calvin Peete Golf Classic, has been set for Saturday, Oct. 10, at Magnolia Landing Country Club.

Murray said she is happy that things are slowly beginning to return to normal.

“Businesses are coming back open. The state has gone to Phase 2 and we and the businesses here are excited. Now, we have to increase consumer confidence and get everyone out and shopping and dining out,” Murray said.