It was a heady time for the Chamber of Commerce
According to an ad that ran in the Chamber newsletter in 1995: "As a Coconut Grove Chamber member, your business is eligible to participate in a special group insurance plan with low affordable premiums. $15 office visits, No claim forms, $250 deductible, company rated A+." By the way, the newsletter won a national award at the time.
It doesn't say what the premium per month was, but it must have been reasonable in 1995 and with it being a group and so many people joining, it must have been.
According to Donna, "The Chamber was run like a business with two full-time employees, Amy Simons and Jackie Balaban, and one part-time employee. To pay salaries and expenses, the Chamber held the yearly Taste of the Grove which one year netted $4,000 that was split with the Muscular Dystrophy Association."
Correction: 1996 the Chamber donated $63,000 to Muscular Dystrophy Assn. MDA was a partner in Taste of the Grove; overall $126,000 was made and the Chamber split it with MDA.
The Chamber also held the Banyan Festival and several fund raising activities like Progressive Dinners, Luau at Scotty's Landing, the 1997 Chamber Golf Challenge at the Doral Park Silver Course and more.
The Chamber also held an annual town hall meeting with the mayor, commissioners, city manager and police chief, all there to answer questions and answer concerns. Refreshments were supplied by Grove restaurant members. The Chamber published a 32-page booklet edited by Peter Laird, current president, called "The IN Guide to going OUT in Coconut Grove." There were also active committees that met once a month: Membership, Think Tank, Grove Marketing and Public Relations, Police Liaison, Banyan Festival, Town Hall, Walk of Fame, and Progressive Dinner. They also sponsored a Coconut Grove Free Ride bus. The Installation Ball was black tie formal with mayor and all commissioners present. One year the Golden Coconut Awards had to be held at at the Sonesta in Key Biscayne because none of the Grove hotels had a ballroom big enough to hold all the people who attended.
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