Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chamber, Rotary Welcoming New Leaders; the Ponte Vedra Chamber Has Challenge of Dealing with a Down Economy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chamber, Rotary Welcoming New Leaders; the Ponte Vedra Chamber Has Challenge of Dealing with a Down Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAKAYA ANDRES

PONTE VEDRA BEACH - In the face of the ailing economy, keeping the Ponte Vedra Beach Chamber of Commerce's membership numbers steady will be the newly appointed president's top priority.

And the incoming president of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach said her priorities are to have fun and get more people involved in the organization's community service events.

New chamber President Vincent Grassia said this week he hopes to recruit and retain members with creative networking events, chamber mixers, ribbon cuttings and continuing to give tips to businesses on how to succeed.

Special events like selecting the best small business of the year are also being implemented to keep businesses interested in being part of the organization.

"We are working hard to come up with interesting, fun and helpful strategies to help businesses grow," he said. "No matter what the economy is, we have to strive to continue to succeed and we will."

Grassia, who was appointed two weeks ago after his predecessor, Greg Totten, resigned to take a job in Fort Lauderdale, said he's still working on the chamber's agenda.

"This was a surprise to me," he said. "I had no idea I'd be moving into the spot so soon. I'm still feeling my way through the agenda."

The chamber plays an important role in helping businesses succeed in the community by helping them come up with new ideas, said Grassia. As in other communities, Ponte Vedra Beach businesses have struggled to stay afloat; some have closed and others have moved in.

"When you frequently patronize the small businesses in your community, the community gets that back ten-fold," he said. "Everyone was hit, even many people who had nice comfortable portfolios."

The Ponte Vedra chamber has about 300 business and professional members.

"I'll try to do everything I can the best I can to help the chamber fulfill its role as the organization to help small businesses in Ponte Vedra," Grassia said. …

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