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Cape chamber celebrates two decades of service

By Staff | Jan 17, 2009

A lot can happen in 20 years. In fact, a lot has happened in the two decades since the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce began its mission of showcasing the city’s economic, and domestic, potential.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Chamber threw a gala event Friday night at the Shrine Club on Santa Barbara, where past, present, and future leaders of the organization gathered to reflect and celebrate.
Mike Geml was 1993’s chairman, a 36-year Cape resident instrumental in restoring the Iwo Jima statue in Veterans Park.
He’s seen the highs and lows of the Cape’s boomtown-like success, and feels the real estate slump will improve locally once it improves nationally.
“Today, Cape Coral is in a holding pattern. People are on the fence with what to do,” said Geml. “This economic downturn has been prolonged because the folks that come here are unable to move their northern properties.”
Geml was one of 20 different chairs who came to visit the Chamber’s rich history.
While not all of the chairs were able to make it, those who were in attendance radiated pride in the Chamber and the city.
“I’m optimistic and hopeful we’ll see things bounce back,” said Richard Barton, 1992’s chairman. “We’re still a great community with strong core values. And we still have great weather, and we’re still waterfront.”
Incoming chairman is long-time business leader Elmer Tabor, whose family owned some of the Cape’s original businesses.
Tabor, owner of Wonderland Realty, replaces Heather Mazurkiewicz, 2008’s chairwoman. All chair people volunteer their time.
Tabor praised Mazurkiewicz’s work during her tenure, saying he was merely going to expand on her “tremendous structure.”
“We’re going to continue to work on the structure Heather set up,” he said. “The work and activities she did throughout the year has set up a tremendous business plan for the chamber to move forward.”
The evening was highlighted by a history of the Chamber, along with a video presentation of all the Chamber’s previous chair men and women.
Then all of the 2009 board members were sworn in by US Congressman Connie Mack IV.
Chamber President Mike Quaintance, credits the 20-year success of the organization to its board of directors, all volunteers themselves.
Quaintance, along with Elmer Tabor, recently accepted a proclamation from the Lee County Board of Commissioners, congratulating them on the two decades of prosperity.
“It’s come a long way. And I think the success of the Chamber is due to the volunteers we have,” he said. “Our role is going to be the same.”