Letter: Not Happy With Changes At Central Chamber

There have been so many changes in our chamber of commerce, and with each change, there seems to be less and less for the small business owner of our area.

Some time ago, what is now the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce was started by a group of interested founding members for the purpose of promoting the businesses of our area. The events and activities helped to focus on the services that were available right here in our community. I really miss those who cared about our small businesses surviving and thriving — Vivian Palmer, Kathy Foster and Jess Santamaria were among those who understood the importance of this area and the value of having a local chamber, and they worked together and made it happen when we needed it.

I am a small business owner in the area and have been very disappointed in the lack of chamber representation that has taken place with the changes over the past few years in our local chamber of commerce. The first blow came with the expansion to include Lake Worth. There is no reasonable connection between our interests and those along the coastline, and surely no benefit to the central businesses.

Now the chamber has been completely reorganized to ensure that small, local businesses are unable to participate through dramatic increases in dues and fees, and the removal of members from various boards and committees. It is very obvious that it is now a chamber of large business interests not located here in our community. It is also evident that the purpose of the new chamber is building professional resumes for large corporation upper staff members and the new CEO. This is more than a disappointment for the small businesses, but also an insult to our hard work during these very hard economic times when a good chamber could be a good thing for us all.

Dara Coffman, Royal Palm Beach