About Us

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Our Mission

Supporting Business Development & Growth

The Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce represents local business interests and advocates on behalf of our members. We provide the platform to help our members succeed through a proactive working partnership with government and community organizations.

The Chamber is a catalyst that raises the level of respect for our area and local businesses, to maintain a flourishing local economy that encourages and promotes positive, well-balanced economic growth through business development.

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Governed By a Caring Staff

Our team works to support business growth, increase job opportunities, and advocate for our incredible business community. Work with us to discover new business and host networking opportunities.

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Dave Turner

Exective Director
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Kathy Boyce

Assistant Director
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Lynn Wintermyer

Area Business Specialist
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Tracy Belew

Area Buisness Specialist
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Tiffany Moore

Area Business Specialist

Check Out the Lower Keys Community Guide

Board of Directors

We are proud of our chambers officers and directors. Our goal is to provide valuable demographic studies and statistics on our area, promote tourism by sharing information with visitors, and provide employment information for new residents.

Cathy Hoffman, President

Big Pine Academy
30220 Overseas Hwy
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
305-872-1266305-872-1265 
cathy.hoffman@keysschools.com

Denise Bays, Director

Patience Accounting & Tax Service
PO Box 420503
Summerland Key, FL 33042
305-745-1841305-745-1282 
denisebays@gmail.com

John Mendoza, Director

Home 1st Lending LLC
31148 Avenue I
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
305-906-2178305-768-2302 
john.mendoza@home1stlending.com

Cathy Crane, Director

Hurst & Crane Investments LLC
625 US 1, Suite 202
Key West, FL 33040
305-797-8578 
ccranekw@gmail.com

Rick Carter, Director

Conch IT & Stock Island Times
34 Kingfisher Laner
Key West, FL 33040
305-707-4024 
rick.conchit@gmail.com

Kristen Livengood, Director

Wesley House
1304 Truman Ave.
Key West, FL 33040
305-481-0685 
Kristen.Livengood@gmail.com

Anna Baird, Director

First State Bank of the FL Keys
3406 N Roosevelt Blvd.
Key West, FL 33040
305-923-5240 
annab@keysbank.com

Leslie Valant, Director

Labrum Wealth Management
30410 Sea Grape Terrace Suite 4
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
305-304-4110 
leslie@labrumwealth.com

Darcy Wadsworth, Director

Labrum Wealth Management
30410 Sea Grape Terrace Suite 4
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
941-452-2345 
darcy@labrumwealth.com

Jason Gwynne, Director

FISH
3100 Overseas Hwy.
Saddle Bunch Key, FL 33040
305-304-4521 
fishgwynne@gmail.com

Business-Known

Let's Get Your Business Known

Event Sponsorship Packages Where We Can Take Your Name Places

Get your business name seen and noticed at major events and at some of the most well-known areas in the Lower Keys.

Our History

Like many parts of Florida, the original inhabitants of the Keys were the Native American Indians. Indian tribes such as the Calusa and Tequesta were living in the Keys when the Spanish discovered Florida in the 1500s. In 1513, during his discovery of Florida, Ponce de Leon named the Keys the Martires (the martyrs). Experts have speculated that this name came from the Indians, as there was an Indian village named Cuchiyaga or "martyred place" during this early time. Memoirs, dated around the middle 1500s from a ship-wrecked Spaniard who lived in the Keys amongst the Indians for 20 years, reported that there were deer, raccoons, manatees, and bears. Their diets consisted of fish, turtle, snail, lobster, manatee, and raccoon. Little is known or written about the Keys until the 1800s as the Indian tribes moved or died out, and the lack of bridges precluded any land settlement.

The Lower Keys were sparsely settled in the early to mid-1800s. Mosquitoes and lack of any particular way of making a living made it challenging to homestead this area. At the same time, Key West had a population of 18,000, making it the largest city in Florida. Some well to do Key Westers had country homes 30 miles east in the Lower Keys and all sailed by boat to their second homes. Although sparsely inhabited today, small lower Keys like No Name and Little Pine had substantial settlements. Many brave settlers survived in the Lower Keys by producing charcoal, farming, fishing, and sponging. Back in 1905, a feed sack of coal netted 10 cents. 

With the fulfilled lifelong dream of Henry Flagler and the Overseas Railroad, a successful Lower Keys settlement was realized. This link with the mainland was the culmination of 7 years of complicated work. Over 500 railroad workers, as well as most of Flagler's fortune, were claimed by this project. The train ran from its completion in 1912 until 1935 when the great Labor Day hurricane destroyed it. The railroad left many remnants of its existence in the Lower Keys. Water towers, sumps, sinkholes and sections of the railway bridges are still evident.

After the hurricane, damage to the railway was so significant that the entire railroad system was sold to the State of Florida and they built the Overseas Highway. This highway incorporated a ferry system, as well. During this time in Keys history, travel time from Key Largo to Key West could take over 7 hours for the 118-mile stretch. 

The Florida Keys consist of 42 bridges and over 300 small islands, all imaginatively named. From the Saddle Bunch Keys to Duck Key to Ohio Key and even No Name Key, you'll enjoy crossing over each bridge and seeing the Keys on both sides of US Highway 1, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AREA

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Your Tropical Home Away From Home

The Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce works with local businesses, individuals, and other organizations in the community to encourage success and paradise across our beautiful islands. Visit us for your next trip and enjoy relaxing beaches, exquisite cuisine, and breathtaking history.

CONTACT US

  • 1-800-872-3722
  • Local: (305) 872-2411
  • (305) 872-0752
  • info@lowerkeyschamber.com

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