By Gregg Weiss
Of the thousands of businesses that call Delray Beach home, the vast majority aren’t big corporations nor large chains, but rather mostly small, homegrown businesses.
To that end, this article is the first of a two-part series on the heart and soul of business in Delray, the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce (GDBCC).
Much of this series relies on real world experiences from current staff and members, along with my experiences and observations as not just a GDBCC member, but former chairman of the board who has held multiple executive board and committee roles since 2009.
First, we’ll look at what exactly a chamber of commerce is and the impact it has on the business community. In the second installment we will cover how the GDBCC is the fiber that weaves the community together through its work with local non-profits, Delray Beach schools and beyond.
According to Wikipedia, the definition of a Chamber of Commerce is a "A local organization of Business owners in towns and cities to advocate on behalf of the business community."
While technically correct, this definition does not truly capture the essence of what makes the GDBCC so special.
Former Mayor Jeff Perlman gave his definition of the Delray Chamber:
“A Chamber of Commerce is very important to a community. Good chambers are not just advocates for business; they are advocates for the cities they serve. Chambers take the long view; they support and lead initiatives that build the economy. They care about jobs, they care about housing, schools, recreation, culture, and health care. Chambers are about the big picture—and the best ones think holistically. We are fortunate in Delray to have a strong chamber that’s focused on keeping Delray healthy and prosperous. Our chamber is almost as old as Delray and that’s so cool. The Delray Chamber has a rich history and a strong track record. It’s trusted, welcoming to newcomers, and can be counted on for leadership at a time when that is more important than ever.”
Here is a list of all the areas where the Delray Chamber contributes to the community:
Economic Development: The Delray Chamber plays a key role in attracting new businesses to the community. They also provide resources and support to help local businesses grow and thrive.
Business Connections: The Delray Chamber facilitates networking opportunities for local businesses, helping them connect with potential clients, partners, and suppliers. These connections lead to increased business opportunities and collaboration. As a side benefit, many close friendships are established among Chamber members.
Advocacy: The GDBCC advocates for local businesses on important issues that affect the business community such as employment laws, zoning and parking regulations.
Community Engagement: The GDBCC is involved in community events and philanthropic activities. We’ll have a lot more on that in our 2nd installment.
Information Resources: One of the most important and impactful purposes of the Delray Chamber is to provide valuable information, resources, and educational programs for businesses and community members.
Quality of Life Improvements: Our Chamber of commerce continuously works to enhance the overall quality of life in the community. They may support initiatives related to education, healthcare, transportation, and cultural amenities, making the area more appealing to residents and businesses.
Marketing and Promotion: The Delray Chamber is committed to marketing and promotional activities that highlight the strengths and advantages of not just local businesses, but the community, helping to attract both businesses and residents.
Business Support Services: The GDBCC has multiple tools to help local businesses gain efficiency, fine tune their business models, and implement programs that add value to their business.
Effectively, the above key points about the Delray Chamber can be summed up into one word “Opportunity”.
Let’s hear from a few members on their take about their experience working with the Delray Chamber.
From Allison Turner, Founder BatCat Media Group - “The Delray Chamber is not solely about marketing and selling my company's services; the true value are the relationships I’ve built that go way beyond my business. The Chamber is a powerful community!
Local realtor from Posh Properties Steve Martel adds "Since the beginning of our professional journey in Florida, the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce has been part of the equation. From networking events and trade shows to the amazing, Leadership program, they've provided countless opportunities to participate in everything that makes our town work."
Myself, I sum up my experience like this: My experience with the Delray Chamber has given me more opportunity I could have ever dreamed of. Opportunity to build lasting friendships, meaningful business connections, access to local, county and state business leaders and elected officials, opportunity to learn and lead and opportunity to give back to the community I so dearly love.
Hopefully this effectively gives you a feel for what the Delray Beach Chamber offers as core mission and opportunity to its members and the community.
In our next installment, we’ll take a very deep dive into the people and programs that make the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce the premier, the most impactful Chamber Of Commerce in Palm Beach County.
For more information on the opportunities the Delray Chamber has for you, click: https://delraybeach.com/
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