By Jennifer Sugarman
President & CEO
Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce
When you think of a Chamber of Commerce at its most basic function, the name explains it all. A chamber (place) of commerce (business) is essentially where business takes place. At the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce, over 1,500 business partners come together with one unified voice, uplifting our community as a premier place to do business. Small, medium and large sized companies, as well as non-profits, collaborate daily and all share a similar message of success when adding the chamber to their business success toolkit.
A true champion for its partners
Local non-profit, the Brevard Humane Society, found itself struggling to recover from infrastructure damage to their Molly Mutt Thrift Store on Merritt Island and roof damage to their adoption center in Cocoa after the 2004 storm season. “In the wake of ruin, the chamber played an instrumental role in assisting with donation efforts and helping the Brevard Humane Society rebuild its business,” said Theresa Clifton, executive director of the Brevard Humane Society. “The Cocoa Beach chamber was and still is a true champion for its partners, sharing in the commitment and providing available resources to all its businesses that are impacted by unexpected events.”
HandyPro of the SpaceCoast has utilized the chamber to reach a target audience on an important, yet not always talked about, subject. “Accessibility modifications are difficult to market since the clientele are usually very cautious and not web savvy; this means one needs to understand the network behind this type of specialty market,” said Elaine Deremer Cook, president of HandyPro of the SpaceCoast. “Through my connections at the chamber, I was introduced to the different networking entities associated with marketing to seniors and people with disabilities. Through these connections, combined with the training I received from the chamber on how to network, my business is starting to flourish, and we are helping more and more people live safely and independently in their homes and communities.”
Bringing the community together on important issues
Outside of networking and making connections, the chamber also provides a needed educational platform to bring the community together on important issues, and face-to-face time with community and government leaders that impact our daily lives on the Space Coast.
“I would like to thank the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce (CBRCC) for their kindness in facilitating the ribbon cutting of my Brevard district office in Historic Cocoa Village. The red, white and blue ribbon was signed by all those who celebrated this special occasion with me, and to this day, is kept at my office as a memento of that exciting day. Thanks to Jennifer and the exceptional staff and volunteers of CBRCC, for such a warm welcome to Brevard!” said state Senator Dorothy L. Hukill, District 14.
The chamber also builds business from the ground up
When joining the chamber over a decade ago, Robyn Greene had just started a scratch insurance agency (meaning she had zero clients) called Blue Sky Insurance Agency. Fast forward to 2014 and through dedication, hard work, and by utilizing the tools the chamber equipped her with, her agency surpassed $1M in annual premiums. “Because I could build my business based on referrals through the chamber, my policy retention rate is consistently in the 85-90 percent range,” said Greene.
It’s a fact; we do business with people we know, like and, most importantly, trust! The chamber offers a platform to allow these things to happen. Mike and Helen Hoats from Suwannee Insurance Merritt Island have found that by being a part of the Cocoa Beach chamber “we haven’t just found a place to market; we have formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
“After three years of partnership with the chamber, we can honestly say several doors have opened for us, increasing our business, and (the chamber) is a large part of the reason we will be celebrating 35 years in business this October.”
It is the business community on the Space Coast that allows us all to thrive, and the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 50 years as a catalyst for business success. ◆
“Relationships build business, and for the past 50 years, the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront of this recipe for success. Countless chamber partners have built lasting relationships through the chamber by serving on our board and various committees, and have helped new partners and young businesses to do the same through these leadership roles.”
–Dina Reider-Hicks, Chairman of the Board, Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce