As a major contributor to the growth and progress of the community, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral strives to make Cape Coral a great place to live and work. With more than 750 members, the Chamber actively supports the growth of business in Southwest Florida.
As promised in its mission statement “To Promote and Serve Business and Community,” this not-for-profit 501 (c) (6) organization uses the membership’s investments to operate two welcome centers and implement programs related to business advocacy, growth, recruitment and community promotion.
“To have successful members, the community itself must prosper,” said
To promote networking among its members and keep them informed of issues affecting the business community, the Chamber holds monthly membership meetings, business-after-hours and other monthly networking events.
The Chamber also plays host to several major community events such as Celebrate Cape Coral, Holiday Festival of Lights, Red White and Boom as well as the Farmer’s Market in Club Square.
“This is our way of giving back to the community,” Quaintance said. “Through the help of our sponsors and volunteers, we are able to provide some great community events for the residents of Cape Coral.”
The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral has gone through several changes since its inception in Edward B. Quirk’s small storefront in 1965. Known then as the Cape Coral Merchant’s Association, fewer than 75 businesses existed in Cape Coral. In 1967, the organization was renamed the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce and Charles Blackburn was elected its first president. Richard Crawford, owner of the local newspaper, the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, succeeded him in 1968.
Some well-known leaders started public life at the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce. Senator Connie Mack III, Chamber Chairman in 1974, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms, and also served in the U.S. Senate. State Senator Fred Dudley, the 1975 Chairman, served in the Florida House of Representatives and state Senate. In 1984, the Chamber elected its first woman chairperson, Gail Markham, owner of a Cape Coral CPA firm. State Representative Gary Aubuchon is also a past Chair of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral.
The Chamber built its Cape Coral Parkway Welcome Center through a partnership with the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association in 1976 on land leased from Lee County. In 1987, the Cape Coral Chamber and Fort Myers Chamber merged to form the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Florida, and the Welcome Center transferred to the new organization.
In 1989 the business community decided to form the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral which operated out of a small building on the corner of Del Prado and Cape Coral Parkway. In 1994, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral moved back to the Cape Coral Parkway Welcome Center eventually purchasing the building in 1998.
In 2004, the Chamber opened a second Welcome Center inside the FOS Furniture Store at Del Prado Boulevard and Pine Island Road to better serve the residents and visitors to the north end of the city. The Chamber offices serve as the welcome centers for Cape Coral and are resources for residents, visitors, newcomers and future residents.
- Donna Schuman Germain, Communications Director
Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral