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Welcome to the Manatee Chamber of Commerce

Strengthening Your Business and Our Community


Manatee Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 125 Years as an Organization


In celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, the Bradenton Herald prepared a special section filled with interesting historical data and information on new initiatives. You can view the special section online.

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Area Chambers Reaffirm Support for Regional Co-managed Transit System


In an effort to promote the continuing conversation and consideration regarding a Public/Private Operating Partnership (PPOP) for mass transit in the Sarasota/Manatee region, the Sarasota and Manatee Chambers of Commerce have launched SMARTransit.org.

The site is a result of the Chambers’ desire to reaffirm their shared resolutions in support of considering proposals to enter into a PPOP for their mass transit systems. The goal for the site is to serve as an information gateway where stakeholders can learn more about the concept and benefits of a PPOP. Users can also ask questions and provide feedback through a friendly contact form.

Additionally, the site exists to further promote the potential for the transit systems to become co-managed in a way that would fully realize the benefits of such an operating model. Rather than operate as separate entities, our region would benefit far greater from a co-managed platform that would service the ridership as a Sarasota Manatee Area Regional Transit system. The concept is smart - it’s innovative, it’s better for the ridership, and it’s better for the taxpayer.

While the term ‘merger’ has been used in more recent conversations surrounding the topic, the concept for SMARTransit is more acceptable and advanced. Such an idea would actually see the individual counties retain ownership of all pieces of equipment, maintenance facilities and bus shelters. The local governing bodies would also continue to make policy decisions about fares, routes and development of the system.

In other communities, the PPOP model has resulted in a reduction in the cost of service by as much as 29% while at the same time increasing service. PPOP models have also proven successful in reducing accident rates, maintenance calls, and customer service complaints. All the while, some of the risk associated with operating mass transit services is shifted away from the local government (i.e., our hardworking taxpayers) and is instead used to incent better service and more efficient operations from a private operator.

Given the ongoing budget pressures facing both counties, there’s likely not been a better time to review proposals for a PPOP system for mass transit. This type of partnership could literally save our taxpayers, who currently fund over 65% of our nearly $30 million fixed-route transit services, millions of dollars per year.

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Manatee Chamber of Commerce Sets Business Agendas


The Manatee Chamber’s Legislative Committee developed policy positions which will be presented in both Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. The Chamber Board of Directors approved the State and Federal platforms of priorities for the Chamber in 2014 at their October Board meeting. Guests, conference calls and research by committee members were coordinated in the development of the Business Agendas.

Click here for the Federal Business Agenda

Click here for the State Business Agenda

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The Real Value of Joining a Local Chamber of Commerce


Being active in the local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy. It communicates to consumers that a company uses good practices, is reputable, cares about its customers, and is involved in its community. According to a recent study by The Schapiro Group:

  • When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.
  • When consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 68% more likely to eat at the franchise in the next few months.
  • When consumers know that an insurance company is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 36% more likely to think favorably of the company.
  • If a company shows that it is highly involved in its local chamber (e.g. sits on the chamber board), consumers are 10% more likely to think that its products stack up better against its competition.
  • When a consumer thinks more favorably of a company because the company is highly involved in its local chamber of commerce, it is because he or she infers that the company is trustworthy and cares about its customers.
  • The positive impacts of chamber membership have remained the same and even increased over time.