Today, Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts. The application period is from today through November 11, 2016.

DEO is currently surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, please go to flvbeoc.org/index.php?action=bda and select “Hurricane Matthew” from the drop-down menu.

DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide an expedient cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.

Owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees located in 67 counties affected by Hurricane Matthew can apply for short-term loans for up to $25,000. Loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days and are interest-free for that time period. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to October 3, 2016, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

To complete an application by the Nov. 11 deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network state office at 850-898-3489.

Monday, 03 October 2016 16:53

Governor Declares State of Emergency for Hurricane Matthew

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Governor Rick Scott today signed Executive Order 16-230 declaring a state of emergency for every Florida county due to the severity and magnitude of Hurricane Matthew.

Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Matthew is a life-threatening category four hurricane and we must all take it seriously. If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992. That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now. Today, I signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency in every Florida county to ensure we have resources for evacuations, sheltering and other logistical needs across our state. We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best and we will not take any chances to ensure our state is prepared."

FRF and FPMA will remain in constant contact with Governor Scott's office as well as the Division of Emergency Management for all pre-or post-Hurricane coordination efforts. We will continue to pass along any information pertaining to this hurricane going forward.

Please note that because an emergency has been declared that emergency pricing restrictions are in effect.

Monday, 03 October 2016 15:54

USDA Confirms New World Screwworm Cases in Big Pine Key

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World screwworm in Key deer from a wildlife refuge in Big Pine Key, Florida. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms this is a local infestation of new world screwworm. This is the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years. In response to this infestation, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County, Florida, which can be accessed here.

“The screwworm is a potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every rancher’s spine. It’s been more than five decades since the screwworm last infested Florida, and I’ve grown up hearing the horror stories from the last occurrence,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “This foreign animal disease poses a grave threat to wildlife, livestock and domestic pets in Florida. Though rare, it can even infect humans. We’ve eradicated this from Florida before, and we’ll do it again. We will work with our partners on the federal, state and local level to protect our residents, animals and wildlife by eliminating the screwworm from Florida. The public’s assistance is crucial to the success of this eradication program.”

Monday, 03 October 2016 10:40

Halloween Spending Expected to Reach Record His this Year

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 3, 2016
CONTACT:James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

Average person expected to spend almost $83 this year on Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes for a nationwide total of $8.4 billion

Suni

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that consumer spending on Halloween is expected to set an all-time high with the average person spending almost $83, up from $74 in 2015. Total spending nationally on Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion up from $6.9 billion last year.

“More families are making a bigger deal out of Halloween each year, with consistent increases in per consumer spending, which should make for frighteningly good sales figures for retailers this month,” said FRF President and CEO Randy Miller. “We fully expect Florida’s Halloween sales to meet or exceed the national numbers thanks to sustained positive economic indicators and a healthy state economy.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.5 billion on candy (94.3 percent), $2.4 billion on decorations (70 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (35.4 percent).

When it comes to preparation, 71 percent of consumers plan to hand out candy, decorate their home or yard (49 percent), dress in costume (47 percent), carve a pumpkin (46 percent), throw or attend a party (34 percent), take their children trick-or-treating (30 percent), visit a haunted house (21 percent) or dress their pet(s) in costume (16 percent).

Searching for the perfect costume inspiration will lead consumers to sources such as online (35 percent) and in-store (29 percent). Social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest (17 percent), which has seen 133 percent growth since 2012. Some other places for inspiration include friends/family (19 percent), Facebook (17 percent), pop culture (16 percent) and print media (14 percent).

When it comes to where consumers will shop for the season, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores to buy their Halloween-related items this year and 36 percent will visit a specialty Halloween/costume store, up from 33 percent last year. In addition, 26 percent of customers will visit grocery stores/supermarkets, 23 percent will visit department stores and 22 percent will shop online.

The survey asked 6,791 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 6-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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