Buckets of disinfection supplies head out to area businesses
May 20, 2020
By BETSY CALVERT
STAFF WRITER - SUN NEWSPAPERS
One of the bigger worries for local businesses is finding infection control supplies, staff at Charlotte County’s Economic Development Office learned from a regional survey.
So the county found local donors and some advertising funds to pay for a reopening kit for 100 local businesses starting to reopen after being shut down by the state’s coronavirus pandemic order.
On Monday, economic development staff gathered Patti and Stephan Herndon, who together own Punta Gorda Chocolate and Wine, Punta Gorda Coffee and Tea and Haley’s Handcrafted Chocolates. They received the first bucket of supplies, many of which are locally produced. Fuccillo Kia of Port Charlotte, Sunshine Ace Hardware on U.S. 41 and the businesses of the county’s Economic Development Partnership provided a lot of the funding, said Kay Tracy, business recruitment manager for the EDO.
Local products include hand sanitizer made by Alligator Bay Distillers and Fat Point Brewing, both of Punta Gorda. Cheney Brothers supplied the toilet paper and paper towels. Businesses also received a box of nitrile gloves and some masks.
Stephan Herndon praised the county’s Ready, Set, Re-Open campaign.
“Anything that can get the word out,” he said.
Two of their three businesses stayed open to the public, even though few people visited during the shut down that particularly afflicted downtown Punta Gorda.
“We didn’t want people to think we’re going away,” Patti Herndon said of the decision to stay open. They were deemed essential due to selling alcohol and cheese, she noted with a smile. “Did it pay off? Not financially, but it does pay off with our guests.”