The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual meeting on April 20th, at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa. Not only was this the first full-membership annual meeting since April 2019, but it also stood as a celebration for the chamber’s 60th anniversary.
The first in-person annual meeting covered several topics, including awards, the chamber’s Government Affairs committee actions, a Year in Review summary for the chamber, as well as a review of initiatives supported by the chamber representatives.
The past year has brought forth several initiatives statewide that the chamber representatives have actively supported including the Everglades Conference in Southwest Florida and Tourism Day in Tallahassee. At Tourism Day, the chamber was instrumental in successfully lobbying for long-term funding and reauthorization for Visit Florida.
As the Chamber celebrates its 60-year anniversary, they reflect on its profound history and impressive growth in the past year. They’ve stayed true to their mission while working in collaboration with strategic partners to identify top priorities for the Sanibel-Captiva business community.
The celebration didn’t end there though – outgoing board chair Mark Blust welcomed Calli Johnson as the 2022-2023 chair of the chamber board of directors.
She then introduced other members of the upcoming year’s executive board – JR Ramirez with Casa Ybel Resort will serve as chair-elect and Ron Clayton with Waste Management as secretary-treasurer for 2021-2022 as well as recognizing new board members:
- David Lowden of Bank of the Islands
- Robert Monk of the Law Office of Robert Monk
- Patience Rodriguez of Select Vacation Properties
- Samantha Wilson of Toys Ahoy
The chamber also made it a point to celebrate and honor current Sanibel and Captiva community members with some awards:
- Roger Grogman has been a full-time Sanibel resident for more than 15 years and has actively served on a number of community boards and currently chairs the Sanibel Planning Commission. To thank him for his dedication to the Island, Roger was awarded the Sue Rosica Gray Volunteer of the Year Award. Congratulations Roger!
- Richard and Amanda Estes run the Savoury Spoon with the motto ‘Love people and feed them.” Their eat-in and take-out restaurant has brought lots of joy to Sanibel Island, which is exactly why they were given the New Business of the Year Award. Congratulations Richard and Amanda!
- Cielo restaurant has been in business for 11 years on Sanibel Island and has actively been a philanthropic sponsor of several community fundraisers. As a way to say thanks, the chamber awarded the restaurant with the Business of the Year Award. Congratulations Cielo!
- The final award of the evening was the Citizen of the Year award, presented to James Evans (CEO of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation for his dedication to protecting the islands from unfettered development and keeping their natural beauty intact. James was also a huge voice in the fight for water quality on our coast. Thank you for every James, and congratulations!
Besides the chamber’s 60th anniversary, water quality on the coasts of the islands was probably the most touched on theme during the in-person meeting. Co-sponsor for the event, Captains for Clean Water showcased the local key players in the fight for water quality, including John Lai (Chamber President), James Evans (CEO of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation), and Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith.
The Captains for Clean Water foundation realized that the releases from Lake Okeechobee were pushing an abundance of Algae into the water. This was no longer just a concern for local fisheries, it had now become a humanitarian issue. Captains for Clean Water showed a video highlighting the concern for their local waters and how members could help be a part of the fight for strong water quality on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
The annual meeting and 60th-anniversary celebration would not have been possible without the chamber’s gracious sponsors:
- Captains for Clean Water began in 2016 and has grown into a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting for the restoration and protection of Sanibel and Captiva water resources.
- Lee Health: with several locations across Lee county, Lee Health is well-equipped to provide safe and exceptional care to all patients.
- Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF): Founded in 1967, SCCF’s mission is to protect and care for Southwest Florida’s coastal ecosystems through our focus on Water Quality Research, Policy and Advocacy, Sea Turtles and Shorebirds, Native Landscaping, Habitat and Wildlife Management, and Environmental Education.
- Goede, DeBoest & Cross (GD&C): since 2013, GD&C has taken its relationships with clients very seriously. GD&C has an abundance of experience in several different areas of law and the entire team has a shared desire to help their clients.
- Island Inn: Located on Sanibel’s gorgeous south shore, the Island Inn sits upon miles of white sandy beaches with private pools and hotel grounds with lush landscaping. This Sanibel Hotel is the perfect choice for a Florida getaway.
- Doc Fords Rum Bar & Grill: Doc Ford’s is one of the most iconic restaurants on the Islands. With a rich history and unbelievable food, Doc Ford’s is sure to become your go-to restaurant every time you’re on the Islands.
- Rapid Response Team: as a leading industry expert in complete restoration services for residential and commercial customers, the Rapid Response Team has helped several people on the Islands restore their homes or businesses.
- Valerie Tutor, Kingfisher Real Estate: Valerie Tutor is your go-to source for finding your dream home in Sanibel or Captiva. Valerie is proud to be a part of the Kingfisher Real Estate office.
- Charitable Foundation of the Islands: Actively promoting philanthropy on Sanibel and Captiva Islands is the center of all that Charitable Foundation of the Islands does. Their mission is to actively identify community needs and collaborative opportunities that empower organizations to affect real change.
There’s no time to waste when staying on Sanibel and Captiva, the salt air and fresh breeze are waiting for you! We hope this helps you navigate your stay here to ensure that no second is wasted during your vacation. But, there are even more activities waiting for you – we’ve only scratched the surface! Need extra time to squeeze in every fun activity? Extend your stay by checking out accommodation deals – because you deserve to stay in paradise a little longer.