Cooper’s Hawk opens
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant officially opened in Wesley Chapel on Nov. 20, at 28963 State Road 56. The restaurant brings the essence of Napa Valley’s wine country to the heart of Tampa Bay and celebrates the fusion of food and wine, according to a news release. The restaurant features an indoor and outdoor dining area, full-service bar, Napa-style tasting room, and retail gift store.
Spectrum helps Sunrise
More than 20 Spectrum employees and volunteers turned out to help do landscaping work and renovations at Sunrise Pasco County, and to deliver more than 20 laptops to the Spectrum technology training room.
Sunrise, which assists survivors of domestic violence, received a $50,000 contribution from Spectrum Community Center Assist, the company’s $30 million philanthropic initiative, according to a Spectrum news release. It also will have 1GB Spectrum going forward.
The $50,000 to be used for job skills training includes expanding the resources offered to clients to enable their independence, according to a news release. Additionally, because broadband is a critical component of a community center’s infrastructure, Spectrum will provide Sunrise Pasco its advanced 1 gigabit-per-second internet service, for the life of the program.
“Nearly 99% of abusive relationships have elements of economic or financial abuse,” Kelly Sinn, CEO of Sunrise of Pasco County, said in the release. “The support from Spectrum will allow Sunrise to strengthen our Economic Empowerment Program by providing survivors with the necessary tools, resources and education to gain financial independence. Often, survivors stay in abusive relationships or return because of the financial isolation and abuse. It is our hope, that the opportunity that Spectrum has provided us, will help survivors to achieve personal success and build a future free of abuse.”
Spectrum launched Spectrum Community Center Assist in 2021 and will invest $30 million to benefit 100 community centers and job training programs in underserved areas across the company’s 41-state footprint. At each location, Spectrum invests in the community center’s job training efforts with cash grants and in-kind contributions, improves physical classroom spaces, sponsors rebuilding events with volunteers to repair and enhance the physical buildings, and provides new equipment, including laptops and furniture.
Veterans should be sure to check out scholarships that are available through the Pasco Economic Development Council’s SMARTstart program. The Santander Scholarship is now open to veterans and can be applied toward incubator membership, entrepreneurs and the CO.STARTERS program. There’s a veterans cohort in the CO.STARTERS program beginning in January. For more information, visit the SMARTstart website at SmartStartPasco.com.
The Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce has its Land O’ Lakes Brochure Exchange on the second Thursday of each month , from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at New Beginnings, 18935 Michigan Lane, which is one-fourth mile north of State Road 52, off U.S. 41. The event is hosted by Judi Fisher of Architectural Signage & Printing. Those attending can order a barbecue lunch catered by Hungry Harry’s. Attendance is free for chamber members, plus the cost of food. Non-members pay $10, plus the cost of food. If you would like to attend this event to find out more about it, the chamber offers a one-time free entry. To arrange that, call 727-842-7651 or 813-909-2722.
Weichert’s new team members
Weichert® affiliated offices in the Tampa area have recently added Martina Cheverez, Haiden Gabbard and Marquies Johnson to the team at 11734 N. Dale Mabry Highway, in Tampa. For more information, contact Hector Contreras at 727-344-9325 or
Restaurant & Lodging awards
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) named U.S. Foods and area president Pat Monile as Supplier of the Year during the 2023 Hospitality Starts of the Industry Gala.
They also were inducted into the FRLA Hall of Fame during the ceremony, which was held recently at the Opal Grand Resort in Delray Beach, according to a news release.
“Florida’s hospitality industry could not succeed without our amazing suppliers like U.S. Foods – reliable food distributors who enable our restaurants to produce innovative food and create memorable experiences for our guests,” Carol Dover, president and CEO of the FRLA, said in the release. “They are an important partner in hospitality, and we are proud to recognize them as our Supplier of the Year.”
The Hospitality Stars of the Industry Gala pays tribute to operators and suppliers from across the Sunshine State for their remarkable work in hospitality. The Hall of Fame distinction is reserved for those who have dedicated decades to providing excellent service and leadership in hospitality.
Hometown Heroes Program reopened
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation recently announced that the Hometown Heroes down payment assistance program will reopen with $36 million available to families looking to purchase their first home, according to a news release.
The Hometown Heroes program received $100 million from the Florida Legislature in July 2023 to help Florida families purchase their first home in the community where they work.
Within two months, the funds were fully committed — helping more than 6,400 families purchase a home.
Due to increased demand and the rapid speed at which the previous funding was reserved, Florida Housing has redirected additional resources to allow for the program to be reopened with more funding to assist Florida’s homebuyers.
The Hometown Heroes program is available to all full-time workers in Florida who earn less than 150% of their county’s area median income (AMI). The maximum down payment assistance available to each homebuyer is $35,000, or up to 5% of their first mortgage loan amount. To get started, homebuyers must connect with one of Florida Housing’s participating loan officers, have a minimum credit score of 640, and be a first-time homebuyer (veterans are exempt from this requirement).
For more information on the Hometown Heroes program or to connect with a loan officer in your area, visit FloridaHousing.org/hometownheroes.
NFIB Jobs Report: Tight Labor Market Continues to Hinder Main Street
In October, 43% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, according to a news release citing NFIB’s monthly jobs report.
NFIB is an advocacy organization for small and independent businesses.
The percentage of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem remains elevated at 23%, the news release says.
“The labor market has not eased up much on Main Street,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in the release. “Labor demand is still strong and small business owners are working hard to maintain competitive compensation to retain workers and fill critical open positions. Labor quality is still a top problem among small businesses.”
“Filling open positions continues to pose a serious challenge for small businesses,” Bill Herrle, executive director of the NFIB in Florida, added, in the release. “Without qualified applicants, it’ll be difficult for Main Street to maximize their sales during the holiday season. Small business owners will do everything they can to retain their current employees and meet their customers’ needs.”
For more information, visit NFIB.com.