May 18th, 2020




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – It’s ready, set, deliver this week, with the Charlotte County Economic Development Office’s “Ready…Set…Reopen” initiative now moving to deliver needed supplies to area business.  Beginning today, EDO staffers are loading a convoy of EDO vehicles with generously-sized buckets filled with cleaning supplies and PPE (personal protection equipment) for delivery to 100 local businesses preparing to reopen.


“We identified PPE as a critical need for local businesses as they enter this next economic phase,” notes Dave Gammon, Director of the Charlotte County EDO. “We heard from business owners that procurement was difficult, and we wanted to pitch in immediately.”


Some of the recipient businesses are restaurants or retail establishments, such as Punta Gorda Chocolate & Wine, a locally-owned purveyor of artisanal chocolates, craft beers and select wines. However, designated businesses span the spectrum of the area’s economic activity, according to Gammon.


“We want to support all of our businesses,” he points out. “Charlotte County has always offered an environment where enterprises of all sizes, from all sectors, could flourish. The Charlotte County EDO is here to help continue that tradition.”


Close communication: The need for PPE is only one piece of information that has emerged from the EDO’s strategic communication with area stakeholders in recent weeks. Since the beginning of Florida’s shelter-in-place, EDO staff has maintained consistent contact with local businesses, beginning with personal phone calls in March and more recently through weekly emails that included surveys.

“We are pleased and grateful for the level of response that we’ve gotten from our surveys,” Gammon says. “Business owners have been generous with their time and attention, and that’s given us a better picture of their challenges and needs.”


Survey results show that two-thirds of respondent businesses reported a 50% or more drop in revenue during these recent eight weeks; almost half reported concern about employees returning to work, while 47% suggested that the best time for reopening is in the next 15 days.


“We could see that procuring adequate PPE immediately is important not only for safety,” notes Gammon, “but also for the confidence it instills in staff and customers.”


More support in the future: As communication between the EDO and local business continues, Gammon expects the EDO will identify or develop other programs and services, and encourages business owners to check in frequently for covid-19-related business resources on the EDO website


In the meantime, Gammon and the rest of the five-person EDO staff are loading buckets and vehicles to start delivery on Tuesday and complete all deliveries by the end of the week.


“We’re rolling,” says Gammon.


For more information on this story and economic development activities in Charlotte County, Florida, contact the Charlotte County Economic Development Office. Their website is