June 5, 2009 CLEARWATER, FL – On June 5th, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce was proud to host six of Pinellas County’s legislators at their annual legislative breakfast at the Clearwater Harborview Center. Issues surrounding transportation, education, growth management, tax burdens, gaming compact, and property insurance were just a few of the issues discussed. Ed Armstrong, moderator of the event posed frank and tough questions to each legislator and received very thoughtful and forthright responses. Legislators present included: Senator Mike Fasano, Senator Dennis Jones, Representative Ed Hooper, Representative Jim Frishe, Representative Janet Long, and Representative Bill Heller.
The legislators gave a great deal of history regarding decisions made over time that help explain many of the situations we are currently facing as a result of unintended consequences. Decisions such as Save our Homes and constitutional mandates have facilitated imbalances and significant funding challenges. They all expressed their concern for the ability of the state to have sustainability over the long term.
The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce applauds their leadership in making decisions that impacted the lives of every Floridian during these very difficult and unprecedented economic times. With our mission to enhance the business environment and promote economic health and growth in the Clearwater region, we encourage all of our lawmakers to step up and demonstrate real leadership in making this state a place where businesses can continue to grow and create jobs.
Again we congratulate our legislators on a successful session and thank them for their leadership. We encourage all of our members to work independently and in partnership with the Chamber to meet with our legislative delegation to discuss the future business needs for our county and state.
The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce is an independent, not-for-profit business organization dedicated to enhancing the economic vitality of the area, while protecting the unsurpassed quality of life that its residents enjoy. Established in 1922, the Clearwater Chamber is the leading advocate for business in the Tampa Bay area. Their professional staff provide businesses innovating opportunities to market their products and services to the public. The Chamber also represents the interests of businesses at all levels of government. For more information regarding the Clearwater Chamber please call 727-461-0011 or visit www.clearwaterflorida.org.
CLEARWATER BEACH, FL - The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Forecasting Summit will be held on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 8:00am - 10:00 am at The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites on Clearwater Beach.
The Guest Speaker will be Alejandro "Alex" M. Sanchez, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Bankers Association.
On March 3rd, 2009, Cathy Germer joined the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce as the VP of Business Assistance & Economic Development.
In her role as Business Assistance, Cathy is part of the Business Assistance Partnership Program which consists of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Clearwater and Pinellas County Economic Development. Her focus is to assist businesses by providing counseling and resources on issues relating to start-up and growing a business including business and marketing plans, links to financing and business and education training to develop and enhance business owners’ skills.
Ryan Realty, Clearwater, FL
This year will be my 20th anniversary selling real estate in the Greater Tampa Bay area, and just when I think I’ve heard it all, along comes Chinese Drywall!
Chinese Drywall is a Chinese product imported by the Lennar Corporation and has been found to contain high levels of sulfur. In many cases, the drywall emits fumes that destroy appliances, air conditioning systems, duct work, copper pipes, blackens jewelry and can even make people sick.
|Tampa Bay Rays Senior Advisor Dick Crippen (left), Stonebridge Real Estate's Broker-Owner, Brian Andrus (center), and FGCAR President Scott Clendening (right).|
On March 24, 2009 the Florida Gulfcoast Commercial Association of Realtors (FGCAR) held a very successful event in Tampa which recognized the Top Producers and Deals of the Year for commercial real estate in six major categories: Industrial, Investment, Land, Office, Retail and General Brokerage. Realtors from the central western part of Florida had submitted their volume of production as well as evidence of their uniqueness of deals that exemplified hard work and dedication to client service. These were then judged by their peers.
Clearwater, FL ( April 1, 2009) - For the last few months, I’ve been experiencing quite a different real estate market than the prior 18 months. Buyers are back, and THAT makes all the difference in the world. In the last three months, I’ve got almost as many properties under contract already as I sold for the entire year in 2008!
This is the very best time to buy – prices are as low as they are probably going to go, and interest rates are also very low. The selection is amazing, and I really think this is an opportunity to jump on.
Peter Gillham’s Nutrition Center - 30 Years of Dedication to Downtown Clearwater
Clearwater, FL (March 2009) - Thirty years ago, Peter Gillham opened up his first nutrition center in downtown Clearwater in the old Gray Moss Inn. Downtown has gone through many changes since that time and so has Peter Gillham’s store. The location might have changed (alas, the Gray Moss is no more) but the same dedication to the community persists yet today. Recently, the company held a Grand Opening for the newly-created PG’s Café which brings an Organic Juice Bar to the downtown area for the first time.
The hottest new place to go in downtown is PG’s Café! This natural and organic juice bar features freshly-made juices and smoothies with only top quality organic ingredients. There are also build-it-yourself salads where customers can take advantage of organic produce and toppings to make the healthy yet tasteful meal of their choice. I am told that the homemade dressings are completely yummy.
Eco-Friendly “Adornable” Boutique
Nestled in a cozy shop on Laura Street, just next door to Intuition Salon and Spa, lies the WareHaus Boutique. It is positively one of the most “adornable” new boutiques to crop up recently in Downtown Clearwater. Offering “treasured objects and wearable art”, the store specializes in unique vintage pieces and locally-designed clothing, jewelry, handbags and scarves. Browsing the store one is sure to find one-of-a-kind pieces, hand made with care.
WareHaus Boutique was founded by Renee Cornish and Geri Aranjo in November of 2008, as a place for local artists and designers to display and sell their wares. “My purpose behind it was to provide a real artists’ outlet. There are so many artists and fashion designers around and we know it’s hard to really get out there and have that first step up,” says Renee.
That’s the Ticket
Downtown Clearwater, FL (March 2009) - “His BBQ. It’s that good” is Jill Gutterman’s immediate response when asked why she and husband Ajay decided to open up their restaurant “Smokin’ Out”. “We found that we had a good product and we wanted to give it a shot,” adds Ajay, humbly. “We were tired of working for other people. It was kind of a shot in the dark and it worked.”
Since their grand opening in December, business has been going well for them. “Lunches are really good,” says Jill. “Lunches are usually full. We fill up the place” adds Ajay. “Our lunch special is the pork sandwich or the chicken sandwich. It’s a sandwich, chips and a drink for $5.49. We offer that through the week. It’s cheap, it’s inexpensive, and it’s fast, friendly service.” Their goal is to get you in and out at lunch while giving you a good meal.
REAL ESTATE REALITY
ATTENTION: First-Time Home Buyers!
Clearwater, FL (March 2009) - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time homebuyers that purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009 and that they will occupy as their main or primary residence.
Even though this tax credit only counts for a primary residence, it may be a single family home such as a townhome, condominium, villa, manufactured home and even houseboats.
A first-time home buyer is defined as anyone that has not owned a home for three years prior to the current purchase of a home. This means that if a married couple would like to qualify for this program, that neither of them could have owned a home for three years.
Depending also on your income, the tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000. There are income limitations that apply and can lower or eliminate the tax credit, depending on how much money the buyer makes.
It is very easy to claim the tax credit; you simply claim it on your federal income tax return!
Clearwater, FL (February 2009) - Did you know that a local Clearwater company has prevented over a quarter of a million non-destructible, non-degradable laser toner cartridges from being thrown into landfills?
Malvern Group Cartridge Services has been providing Tampa Bay businesses with name brand and remanufactured toner cartridges for over a decade. They collect your empties and send them off to be remanufactured by an ISO 9001 certified and STMC Independent lab (that tests for yields, print quality and reliability) certified manufacturer.
When they collect your empties, they bring a high quality cartridge to replace it. They not only make it easy to be green, they save you up to 50% over the name brand cartridge. Malvern says it cannot be a mistake to save meaningful dollars if you don’t sacrifice yield, dependability and quality. Malvern’s warranty is provided in writing. “We stand behind our products 100% say, Mike & Lynn Farrell”, owners of Malvern.
Malvern is also an Authorized Samsung Copier and Kobra Shredder dealer here in Tampa Bay. They also offer copier, fax, and laser printer repair. Don’t be so quick to toss a well-built laser printer into a landfill. Often times a simple repair is all it needs.
Clearwater, FL (Feb. 4, 2009) - This is an interesting question that I’ve been asked several times recently, so I finally called the Property Appraiser’s Office to find out for myself.
Now, before I tell you the answer, I want to clarify a few terms.
Appraised Value – This is done by an Appraiser hired to determine the value of a home when it has been sold, when it is being re-financed, or to determine the market value of a home.
Just Market Value – This is the term the Property Appraiser’s Office uses for the fair market value of a property. (This is usually broken up into two parts—the Just Market Land which is how much your land is currently worth, and Just Market Improved which is how much your home or building, is worth currently without the land value. Then there is Total Assessment, and it’s the two values added together.
Do you want to survive and be able to experience expansion while everybody else believes this is the worst economic crisis ever – and is set to last for the rest of their life? If your answer is yes, then follow these 3 steps:
RULE NUMBER ONE:
IF YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY, YOU HAVE NO REASON FOR WORRY! The current economic crisis is just a repetition of the past. Don’t you remember “Black Monday”? It refers to Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed. The Black Monday decline was the largest one-day percentage decline in stock market history. But all world stock markets rallied in less than 1.5 year.
Moving forward, you may recall the 1991-1992 world crisis right after the Gulf War: huge peaks in oil prices, a steep decline in the commercial real estate market and a credit crisis (following the infamous savings and loan collapses of the late 1980s). This crisis ended in 1994 and world stock markets hit top values in less than 2 years.
Take Time to Find Your Tax Deductions!
Clearwater FL - Tax time is just around the corner, so you will be putting together the data you, or your tax preparer, will need to prepare your tax return. While assembling the data you can dig out information to help you keep more of your hard-earned money! Here are seven tips you can use to add to your tax deductions and SAVE when the return is filed.
1. Donations to Charity: Donating cash, property, clothing, household items or other goods is a great way to get a tax break and help a worthy cause at the same time. If you donated cash to an eligible charity this year, you can generally deduct up to 50% of your total income when you pay your taxes in April.
Important reminder: Under the newPension Protection Act, as of January 1, 2007 you need a written receipt for all charitable donations, regardless of the amount. So make sure you save receipts so you can take full advantage of your charitable giving.
2. Deductible Expenses: Do you have medical bills, state and local taxes, mortgage payments, or property taxes? If so, any payments you made before December 31are deductible on this year’s tax return. Making an extra mortgage payment or paying off outstanding dental or medicalbills is a great way to offset your tax bill. Just make sure you aren’t subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (which generally applies to high-income or upper-middle income households) and that you plan to itemize your deductions.
Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came...
One of Downtown’s not so best kept secrets...
Clearwater FL, December 31, 2008 - Angie’s Restaurant, located on the corner of Myrtle and Cleveland St. has been serving Clearwater delicious home cooked meals for over 35 years.
Angie Chaconas, who took over the diner in the 70’s, gave the restaurant to her son Louis roughly 11 years ago. “Yes, I own it,” states Louis. “But Mom’s still in charge.” Retirement planning does not exist for Angie Chaconas who proudly expressed that she finds joy in hard work. With so much to do in running a restaurant, and making sure each customer is served a hot homeâcooked meal, leaving with a full belly and a smile of their face; happiness at Angie’s is not in short supply.
Prior to the Myrtle Ave. and Cleveland Streetscape construction project (3 years ago), Angie’s Restaurant was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, with the rerouting of traffic away from Cleveland Street and road closures, less customers came and Angie’s Restaurant reduced their hours; closing at 3:00pm. Now that the construction is over and Downtown Clearwater is seeing increased traffic, popular demand from customers warranted the decision to increase the restaurant hours to stay open until 8:00pm. “There used to be a time…” Angie
FINALLY, SOME GOOD REAL ESTATE NEWS!
From my personal experience, I’ve been noticing that my listings are being shown more, and that prices seem to be stabilizing. Buyers are poking
out their heads again, that they are finding that the water is fine!
Even the National Association of Realtors is reporting that existing home sales in Florida increased in October, actually by 15% over last September. Condo sales are also up, but not so drastic, with a 5% increase over last year.
Last October’s median home price was $222,200 and this October’s median home price was $169,700. That is a 24 percent decrease in one year.
Prices had flown out of reach very quickly, and this adjustment, although painful to homeowners that now owe more on their home that it is worth, is really good news to people looking to buy.