By LOIS KINDLE
A chamber of commerce primarily exists to further the business interests of its members and the community at large. But the mission of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce goes one step further.
It also seeks to promote and serve the general interests and welfare of those who live and work here.
“Like other area chambers, we are here for our business members,” said Connie Huber, chairwoman of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce board. “But since we’re located within an active retirement community, we have a special relationship with its residents.
“I think our chamber is different because of the way the community looks to us as its primary source of information,” Huber continued. “We have constant interaction with the public. Sometimes it’s like a revolving door with people coming in and out, and we love it!”
Some of the folks who stop by are thinking about moving to the community and need information, some simply need directions. Others seek referrals for a doctor or plumber. And still others want information on fun things to do or where to get help for a problem.
“It’s kind of like we’re the town hall,” said Lynne Conlan, the chamber’s executive director. “People come here for all kinds of reasons, and if there’s something we can do we’re certainly willing to help.”
One thing the chamber is not, though, is the Better Business Bureau or a county government office.
“We can’t fix your cable bill or a pothole in front of your house,” Conlan said. “But we’ll listen and try to refer you to someone who can.”
The chamber also offers a variety of public services: faxing, black and white and color-copying, typing services and a notary public. Dexter Charles, the chamber’s operations manager, is authorized to notarize signatures on virtually any document, but all parties required to sign must be present. The cost is $5 per signature.
Additionally, the chamber rents its conference room for meetings and its events hall to the public for all kinds of events, including fundraisers, banquets, annual meetings, church gatherings, birthday parties, wedding receptions, celebrations of life and more. Capacity is 200 for theatre-style seating and 110 for table seating. Kitchen access is included, and tables and chairs are supplied.
The events hall has two, 65-inch television monitors for presentations.
Chamber members and nonprofit groups receive a rental discount. Call Charles for pricing and additional information at 813-634-5111.
There’s more. The chamber serves as a collection point for used eyeglasses and hearing aids; old cell phones; damaged American flags; and nonperishable foods for Good Samaritan Mission. It also accepts returned phones for Florida Telecommunications Relay.
And during the Christmas holidays, it’s involved with Veterans Funeral Home for the collection of toys for kids in need and with Home Instead Senior Care for gifts for elders in need. Plus, year ’round it takes in cat food and litter for Feline Folks.
“We couldn’t possibly do all this without our wonderful volunteers,” Huber said. “Our only paid positions are our executive director and operations manager.”
For more information or to volunteer, call 813-634-5111.