Let’s Count Our Blessings This Thanksgiving
by Kevin Kieft, President/CEO of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council
From our family here at the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce to yours, we wish everyone a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving! We know during these uncertain times it feels as though there isn’t much to be thankful for, but like every other optimist, we choose to see our gravy bowl as half-full rather than empty. This holiday is the perfect time to allow us the opportunity to count our blessings and give thanks for everything in the city that we at the Chamber are thankful for this year.
First, we are thankful for the City of Lake Wales. Without the City and their exemplary work, we wouldn’t be able to operate as seamlessly as we do or have the plethora of wonderful amenities available to all of us. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner and work with them on behalf of the Economic Development Council to help generate economic development. We are thankful for their trust in us to do this important work on behalf of the city.
On that related note, we are thankful for the economic development created this year. These uncertain times may have thrown a monkey wrench into the economic development world, especially with this still-lingering COVID-19 crisis; but despite these obstacles, the local economy still managed to continue the upward trend.
I am especially thankful to see all targeted industrial buildings that once lay vacant in years past now occupied with new businesses moving into town and employing local citizens and neighbors. The EDC fulfilled its obligation to ensure that existing industrial spaces were filled with new businesses like GrowHealthy, The Fence Outlet, Central Florida Plywood, Pamlico Air, Alsim, and Soval. Supporting and growing business is our main goal and objective and whenever we reach or surpass these targets, we take pride and pleasure in knowing that our desired impacts have been reached.
We are thankful for our new City Manager, James Slaton. We know that he will continue to deliver excellence for the city. We are also thankful to our partner, Lake Wales Main Street Inc. for developing our downtown area. Currently, underway is the “Lake Wales Connected” plan to renovate downtown. We also appreciate the work of the city leadership team and departments.
Finally, we are thankful for all of our chamber members and sponsors who help make these changes possible. We couldn’t do what we do without our President’s Circle members and Economic Development partner investors, all those who support us at the highest level and sit on our boards and committees; we could not do it without them. Economic development and chamber work is a citywide effort to make positive progress. It takes us all working together to continue to see the city moving ahead.
Despite all the challenges this year, we are still a strong community, and we are poised for growth next year, including the addition of residential developments currently underway. We’ve come this far, and we all agree that it has been a challenge, but we have thrived together as a
chamber and a community. Despite these unchartered times, we are still moving forward with our plans and 2021 is a new year.
On behalf of the EDC and Chamber of Commerce, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.