I hope this column finds everyone doing well, social distancing and following all precautions to stay healthy. I can’t wait for the day when we say “remember the pandemic.”
At the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), we are grateful that construction was deemed an essential business. We are grateful that this segment of the economy was able to continue to keep people working and families supported during these difficult times.
As an association, GCBX provided free hand sanitizers to its members, is distributing free masks to GCBX members, provided our employees with the necessary tools to telecommute, ceased all “in person” networking events, held virtual events with proceeds going to provide meals to first responders, and worked tirelessly to keep GCBX members informed during this pandemic so they could focus on their businesses, their employees and their families.
Since 1952, GCBX has represented the local commercial contracting industry. We have always realized the importance of supporting the local economy by working with local businesses, the ones who raise their families here, are invested in the community and support the local area.
GCBX illustrated the importance of the local construction industry on the local economy in 1973 when it conducted what it called a “Silver Dollar Campaign.” GCBX Members paid their employees in silver dollars to illustrate how those dollars permeated the local economy. So many silver dollars went out into the community that legend has it that stores had signs in their windows that said “No More Silver Dollars”.
That was then and this is now. GCBX wants to show its support for the local economy with a new “Work Local, Eat Local” campaign. We are working with Visit Sarasota to support “Savor Sarasota” and the Venice Chamber to support their “Shop Local – Win Local” campaigns.
We are encouraging GCBX members to get out (responsibly – while following all the rules) and go out to dinner or pick up takeout from a local restaurant as often as possible. Plan a “staycation” at a local hotel. If your plans take you out of town, fly out of SRQ — our local airport is an important component of our local economy. When is the last time you visited Selby Gardens? Visit local attractions!
Remember, we live in paradise, so live the dream and reacquaint yourself and your family with why this is such a special place and why so many people want to visit where we are lucky enough to live.
We have all had and continue to have different experiences during this pandemic. We mourn those who were lost, we feel for those who have had to endure this illness and we worry about the workers and businesses that have been hit hardest. We are grateful to those who continued to make sure there was food on grocery store shelves, health care workers, first responders, postal workers and — particularly for GCBX members — those in county government who work in the building department. We have a different perspective and different priorities.
I hope we all make supporting our local economy and local community a priority. I know at GCBX this has always been important to the organization and its membership and now more than ever we are planning to give back.