Monthly Chamber Newsletter - January

Have you seen the lineup for 2019? The schedule for January alone takes my breath away, chock filled with Chamber activities, food festivals, art festivals, Concerts and happenings all over the place! What a great way to start out the New Year!

This is my 222 nd column in the newsletter, and my last. I would like to be really profound about my retirement, yet the words are not coming that easy. It’s been a whirlwind of best wishes and ceremonies, and so many people have reached out to me that I am overwhelmed with gratitude. This chamber gig was awesome! I have few regrets, and many fabulous memories to sustain me in my rocking chair years! We all work really hard to fulfill the Chamber mission statement, supporting business, promoting tourism and working toward a quality of life in our community. No one person can take credit for the Chamber accomplishments, everybody gets credit. This Chamber has been blessed with very dedicated and caring business leaders who ensure the success of our business community and the Sebastian River Area. The Chamber’s greatest asset is the members, the board and the staff. And I am very grateful to have been a part of this organization for a long time. As I move out to my pottery studio, a new person is coming in to take the helm here, and it will be a new, exciting time for the Chamber. Our leadership was very thoughtful in their approach to finding a new executive, and dedicated their efforts towards finding new talent. I think when you meet your new President, you will agree that their time was well spent. Congratulations to Amber Batchelor, you are going to be a great President!
I would especially like to shout out to the Chamber staff. They represent the best in service to our visitors and residents, the best in promoting the business community, and the best in collaboration and team effort.  They make us all look good!  And I thank them.
Now is when I drop the mic, step away and say so long, au revoir, and adios! Oh, and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may you all have a joyful holiday season!    

Press Release
December 14, 2028

From: Bob Morgan, Chairman of the Board, Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce
Bob Morgan, Marine Bank and Trust and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, has announced the appointment of Amber Batchelor to the position of President of the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Batchelor will assume her new role, effective January 1, 2019.

She replaces Beth Mitchell, who retired in December, 2018 after serving in her position for over eighteen years.

The Chamber’s Selection Committee, led by Dawn Biehl, Guardian Group, and past Board Chair, researched and vetted a number of qualified candidates after receiving many inquiries and over sixty resumes from our local area, the State of Florida and nationally. The Selection Committee, comprised of Chamber members and business leaders in the community, looked for qualities in a candidate that would be representative of the Chamber organization and the Sebastian River Area community, with Chamber experience and strong leadership skills.

Batchelor, who is relocating from Reston, Virginia, is originally from St. Petersburg, Florida. Most recently she has been a chamber executive with a regional chamber, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. She has a multi- faceted background in chamber work, including membership growth and development, event management, budgeting, finance and chamber leadership. Her experiences include working with the Visitor and Relocation Center at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. She is a proven association leader and civic trustee passionate about people and community.   

Batchelor holds a BS in Business Administration from Saint Augustine University, North Carolina and is a member of the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, VACCE Institute.

Bob Morgan stated that the Chamber was very excited with Amber’s appointment because her background will bring positive new initiatives to the Chamber while complimenting the established programs and services offered to the business members and organization.

The Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce is a member driven business organization supporting businesses, promoting tourism and contributing to the quality of life in the area. The Sebastian River Area Chamber is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary in 2018. For more information go to
Missed a newsletter? No problem! Click below for archived editions:
January Calendar of Events
Chamber Breakfast & Ribbon Cutting
Date: January 4, 2019
Time: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Sponsor: Paradise Home Finders
Location: 311 Barefoot Bay Blvd., Ste. 6
Barefoot Bay, FL 32976
Chamber Luncheon
Date: January 8, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Sponsor: AAA - Vero Beach (Kyle Bradford & Kelly Bergstrom)
Speaker: Kyle Sanders- CEO Sebastian River Medical Center
Location: Capt Hiram's
1606 Indian River Dr.
Sebastian, FL 32958
Chamber Ambassador Luncheon
Date: January 16, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Sebastian Chamber
700 Main St.
Sebastian, FL 32958
Chamber Business & Pleasure
Date: January 17, 2019
Time: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Frog Leg Festival Chamber Booth
Chamber President Meet & Greet
Date: January 10, 2019
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Chamber Office
700 Main Street
Sebastian, FL 32958
American Grill Ribbon Cutting
Date: January 23, 2019
Time: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: American Grill
710 US Hwy 1
Vero Beach, FL 32962

Chamber Committee Meetings
Wednesday January 2, 2019
8 AM
Sebastian Chamber
700 Main St., Sebastian, FL
Wednesday January 9, 2019
8 AM
Sebastian Chamber
700 Main St., Sebastian, FL
Thursday January 10, 2019
10 AM
Sebastian Chamber
700 Main St., Sebastian, FL

Tuesday January 15, 2019
4 PM
Sebastian Chamber
700 Main St., Sebastian, FL
Festivals and Events
Frog Leg Festival
January 17th & 18th 4pm - 11pm
January 19th 10am - 11pm
January 20th 11am - 6pm
Location: 22 South Orange St
Fellsmere, FL 32948
For more information logon to

Fine Arts and Music Festival
January 19th - 20th
10AM - 5PM
Location: Riverview Park
Sebastian, FL 32958
For more information logon to
Concerts in the Park - January Line Up

J anuary 11th - 5:30 - 8:00pm
Featuring: Golden Oldies Dance Parties
Classic 50's, 60's, 70's
American Standards & Hollywood

January 25th - 5:30 - 8:00pm
Featuring: Wit's End
Rock, Classic Rock, Fusion, Alternative
Community Events Calendar
Check out the local happenings for the Sebastian River Area
January Member Spotlight

Laurel Matthews is a New Jersey transplant and has resided in Florida for the last 15 years with her husband Carmen Del Verde. She and her husband are avid NASCAR fans and also members and supporters of the American Legion Auxiliary and the American Legion. Laurel served as State President of the Auxiliary and also a National Divisional Vice President. She remains active in the auxiliary and returns every year to NJ to Direct the Jersey Girls State program, sponsored by the Auxiliary, where 400 female students entering their Senior year of High School learn about state government during the week thru a hands on approach with the culmination being the election of a Governor. Laurel is an active member of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Sebastian is a member of the Vestry, President of the Episcopal Church Women and Director of the Vacation Bible School. 

Prior to coming to Florida Laurel was the Tax Collector and Water and Sewer Billing Supervisor for a town in New Jersey. Laurel loves to help others wherever she can and eventually wound up coming to K-12 Tax Services Inc. in 2013.

K-12 Tax Services Inc. started out on a very small basis with assisting educators, retired and current with filing their tax returns. Having a personal connection to the other owner, Eve Van Buren, Laurel was asked to come and assist the business and to help it expand. The business has expanded from just doing tax returns to include processing payroll, bookkeeping and doing business formulations. Being open year round has enabled K-12 to assist our clients with all of their needs including tax planning for current and future financial situations. 

Our main office is located on US Highway 1 in the very southern end of Sebastian and we have another office in Melbourne. A partnership with the St Lucie Classroom Teachers Association has enabled us to meet clients in the Fort Pierce area. 

What sets K-12 apart from others? We review your tax return with you and issue a report that will show you where you can possibly save on your taxes. “We Teach You How to Save”
Laurel A Matthews,RTRP
Office Manager
9432 US Highway 1
Sebastian, FL 32958
Phone 772-646-0037
Fax 800-741-5006
December Networking Events
30th Annual Light Up Night - November 30, 2018

Ribbon Cutting
Hippo Roofing December 5, 2018
Chamber Breakfast
December 7, 2018
Sponsored by Kashi
Chamber Luncheon was held on December 12, 2018 at Marsh Landing!
It was the annual Chamber Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and this year we honored Opey Angelone, Mary Clark, Marc Gingras, Teddy Hulse, Nancy Johnson, Judy Kerr, Reina Ropequet, Linn Stewart and Stacy Thompson!

We would like to thank Busy Bee Lawn and Garden for donating the beautiful Poinsettias centerpieces also served as a gift our volunteer's!
Follow us on Facebook to see pictures from previous networking events.
Membership Memo by Vicki Wild
Happy 2019! Let’s Make Business Happen!

Here are some reminders to make the most of your membership with our Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce.

 * Place your membership decal in prominent location at your business
* Put our logo on your website
* Like us on Facebook
* Join our Facebook membership group
* Mark your calendar for Sebastian Chamber events 1st Friday of the month is
Breakfast, 2nd Tuesday of the month is Lunch, 3rd Thursday of the month is
* Have your pamphlets and business cards available in our Chamber
* Make the Chamber part of your media outreach and continue to send
business updates.
* Send us your events/semianrs/job postings or any economic news for the
Chamber to promote your events.
* Review the annual Membership Directory for potential business connections
and referrals.
* Add promotional information and certificates to giveaway at Chamber events
such as concerts in the park, 50/50 drawings, golf tournament
* Track your referrals from the Chamber.

If you have any questions or not sure how to get involved, please reach out to me Vicki Wild at or call me at 772-589-5969. Wishing you and your business a wonderful, successful 2019 year.  
Welcome New Members for the Month of December
ITEX in the Treasure Coast/T.C.
Elizabeth Bowler
Barter Group, LLC
Vero Beach
Mary Kay
Ingrid Hernandez
Vero Beach
Mac Evoy Real Estate Co .
Carolyn Mac Evoy
1170 6th Ave. Villa #25D
Vero Beach, FL 32960
The Supersitters
Jamie Aguilar
Serenity Solutions Inc
Patrice Bowes
1705 19th Place Ste. H3
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Elisabeth Casaponsa
Elisabeth Casaponsa and Abner Flores
2504 Langrove Lane SW
Vero Beach, FL 32962
American Grill
Muse Arturo Alici
710 S US Hwy 1
Vero Beach, FL 32962
Paul's Guns
Paul Trafzer
9090 N US Hwy 1
Sebastian, FL 32958
Triton Submarines, LLC
Patrick Lahey
10055 102nd Ter
Sebastian, Fl 32958
Hippo Roofing, LLC
Agatha Hall
1716 US 1
Sebastian, FL 32958
A Kitchen of Her Own
Shari Pierce
9090 N US Hwy 1, Ste #2
Sebastian, FL 32958
Portside Pub and Grille
John Preece
717 Coolidge St.
Sebastian, FL 32958
Member News & Announcements
Tell us your good news and
we'll share it with the business community! 

Email your news to
Tourism Tidbits by Nicole Capp Holbrook
January Tourism Committee Meeting
Our next Tourism Committee Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15th at 4 p.m. at the Chamber. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us to discuss our upcoming season, festivals and events, as well as an update on our Mural Program and more!

Florida Sets Another Tourism Record

Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another tourism record, welcoming 95.8 million visitors from January through September, according to VISIT FLORIDA. This is the highest number of visitors in any nine months in Florida’s history and represents a 6.7 percent increase over the 89.8 million visitors during the same period in 2017. This includes 85 million domestic visitors, 8 million overseas visitors and 2.8 million Canadian visitors.

VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 30.7 million visitors traveled to Florida in the third quarter of 2018 (July-September), an increase of 10.1 percent over the same period last year. This third quarter number represents 27.5 million domestic visitors, 2.7 million overseas visitors and 490,000 Canadian visitors to the Sunshine State. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in the third quarter increased 10.2 percent over the same period last year, with 21.9 million passengers. The number of visitors through Florida’s five Official Welcome Centers and Florida’s average daily room rate (ADR) also grew, increasing by 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

As the Sunshine State’s number one industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 118.8 million visitors in 2017. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors spent $112 billion and supported more than 1.4 million Florida jobs. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated.

VISIT FLORIDA unites the state’s tourism industry to inspire travel to and within the Sunshine State. Through successful marketing campaigns, the Florida tourism industry reaches targeted audiences in domestic and international markets such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany and China. VISIT FLORIDA’s innovative marketing tactics strengthen the state’s share of the global travel market and maximize the economic impact of travel and tourism to Florida.

Upcoming Events-
Florida Pro Surf Competition- January 14th-20 th (Sebastian Inlet State Park)
o   Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival- January 17 th -20 th (Downtown Fellsmere)**
o   Sebastian Riverfront Fine Art & Music Festival- Jan. 19 th & 20 th (IRD/Riverview Park)
**Volunteer space available at the Chamber booth

2019 Concerts in the Park Series
o   January 11th- Golden Oldies Dance Parties
o   January 25th- Wit’s End
o   February 8th- Southern Vine Band
o   February 22nd- Johnny & The Blaze
o   March 22nd- Souljam
o   April 12th - SRHS Jazz Ensemble & Steel Drum Band
o   April 26th - The Mixers
o   May 17th- Note 4 Note

**Please note, we are still looking for prizes to raffle off during the concert intermission. If you or your business would like to donate, it's a great way to promote your business in front of a large audience. We are asking for 9 certificates total (includes all 8 concerts and 1 for the golf tournament in May)! Thank you for your support!**

Since our area was affected by Red Tide, VISIT FLORIDA is offering complimentary partnerships, brochure distribution, and lobby booth display opportunities! Please be sure to take advantage of these great offers if you aren't already!

Complimentary Brochure Distribution at all five Official Florida Welcome Centers
Available through February 28, 2019, businesses may ship a maximum of 2,000 brochures per Welcome Center for distribution. For more information and to secure your brochure placement please contact the Visitor Services Department at
Complimentary Lobby Booth Display at four Highway Welcome Centers
Available through February 28, 2019, businesses may schedule a time to participate in the Lobby Booth Display program. For more information and to secure your lobby booth display placement please contact the Visitor Services Department at
Complimentary VISIT FLORIDA Marketing Partnership
Core tourism businesses located within Florida have the opportunity to get a Small Business Marketing Partnership free of charge through February 28, 2019. With the Marketing Partnership, businesses receive an Enhanced Web Listing on, the ability to submit social media posts for consideration, the ability to promote Partner-to-Partner specials and more. To submit your enrollment application,  click here .
Wishing you all the best in 2019!
Tourism Spotlight for January 2019
Mel Fisher was a dreamer, a visionary, a legend and most importantly the World’s Greatest Treasure Hunter. He made a name for himself treasure hunting and salvaging off of the 1715 Fleet Shipwrecks right here on the Treasure Coast in the early 60’s. With the winters being too rough to salvage up here, he decided to move his operation south to search for a very wealthy shipwreck called the “Nuestra Senora de Atocha.” After many personal losses, struggles with debt, ridicule, doubt, and 16 years of searching, the $450 million-dollar treasure cache or “Atocha Mother Lode,” was finally unveiled on the ocean floor. The immensity of the Atocha's treasure was staggering. What was only a dream instantly became an undeniable reality. He did what many have not - he realized his dream during his lifetime.
The Fisher Family sold their admiralty claims of the 1715 Fleet Shipwrecks on the Treasure Coast in 2009 but they still maintain 100% ownership and salvage rights of the Atocha down in Key West. Every day Mel insisted, "Today's the Day"! His mantra continues to inspire their team and family to search for the missing $200 million in treasures from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and her sister ship the Santa Margarita as well as another shipwreck they are in search of off of Cape Canaveral which they have named “The Lost Merchant.” They have some new cutting-edge equipment that is affectionately known as the “Dolores,” named after Mel’s wife, and the family’s and crew’s anchor through every storm. They are confident that their HAUV (Hybrid Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) will help them discover the treasures they are searching for. 
We encourage everyone and anyone to visit the local Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum located in Sebastian. If you haven’t been yet, then “Today’s the Day!” When you enter the museum, you will witness a spectacular collection of Spanish artifacts. They have displayed a little bit of everything such as rigging, medical tools, cooking utensils, and weaponry to some of the most unique items you will ever see as well as glistening gold chains, silver coins and bullion. You will be granted the opportunity to feel the weight of a solid gold bar recovered from the ocean depths of the Atocha wreck site. A visit to the Gift Shop affords you the distinct opportunity to own an authentic “piece of history”, unique gold escudos or silver reales in fine jewelry settings, museum quality recreations as well as other nautical gifts. They have products for every size wallet, from $1-$35K and everything in between.
We welcome you to discover the fun, romance, and adventure of Mel Fisher’s Treasures.
Nichole Johanson
Mel Fisher’s Grandaughter

Mel Fisher's Treasures
1322 U.S. Highway One
Sebastian, FL 32958
Monday-Saturday: 10AM-5PM
CLOSED Major Holidays and September

Adults: $7
Seniors: 55+-$5
Children: 6-12-$3
Active military, student, and local rates available with ID

Communication Corner by Britney Melchiori
3 Ways to Use the New Year to Promote Your Business
The turn of the calendar year is one of the most globally relatable annual events, and a great opportunity to catch the interest of potential customers. Here are three ways to join the new year buzz that dominates January. Use them to stand out from your competition, drive engagements, and increase sales.

  1. Celebrate New Beginnings: To many people, the annual flip to January signifies a fresh start. Reach these optimistic individuals by emphasizing how your products or services can help kick-off a new beginning in 2019.
  2. Share tips and tricks: This time of year many people are looking to pick up a hobby or learn something new. Share your expertise on social media or in your e-newsletters and encourage them to try new things and make your products a part of their 2019 adventure. 
  3. Lead the way for planners: Whether someone is making new year resolutions or not, January is a time for planning. Create content that shows your expertise and draws customers in. For example, a travel company might share tips about planning trips months in advance, or a restaurant could target local foodies and remind them to book special dinners before reservations disappear.

Don't forget to utilize the promotional features available to you with your chamber membership! From e-blasts and networking events to fliers in our visitors center and online advertising, we are here working for you 24/7. Let the Chamber take the guess work out of it for you. Call us today and get your marketing plan in place for 2019!

Wishing all of you a wonderful and safe holiday season and a happy and prosperous 2019!
Business to Business Member Discounts
Shop Chamber Members First!

Be sure to take advantage of great savings and discounts from your fellow Chamber Members. Here are this weeks highlighted discounts.
Oasis Creative Design
10% off all display ads in the City Guide
American Cancer Society
free literature, support and speaking opportunities
3375 20th St. Ste 100
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Mr Oil Xpress Lube
10% off all services
9895 N US Hwy 1
Sebastian, NJ 32958
See all of our member discounts here
Are you Hiring?
Whether your business is growing, hiring for season, or filling an empty position, we are here to help you get the word out. 
Submit  your employment opportunity to us and we'll post it on our  Jobs Board Page!   
Have you worked with SCORE?
Wondering where to start when it comes to marketing your small business? We've brought together experts from the community to talk about the basics of small business marketing, and to share what's worked for them...and what can work for your business.
SCORE offers FREE confidential one-on-one business mentoring and advice for existing and start-up businesses. 
For over 50 years, SCORE has served as America's premier source of free business mentoring and education.
To make an appointment or sign-up for a workshop visit
Download  Treasure Coast SCORE Client Engagement Results
Chamber Board / Staff / Ambassadors
Executive Team
Bob Morgan - Marine Bank & Trust - Chair
Michelle Napier - Napier & Rollins, PLLC - Vice Chair
Joel Stout - Sandpiper Pest Control - Treasurer
Dawn Biehl - Tiki Bar and Grill - Immediate Past Chair
Elected Directors
Pete Anderson - Pareidolia Brewing Co.
Capt. Christy Lenz - "Casual Cruisin"
Ben Maffett - Oculina Bank
Sue Skirvin - Tupperware
Theresa Tolle - Bay Street Pharmacy
Appointed Directors
Ophelia Angelone - Action Realty
Nancy Flickinger - Florida Power & Light
Francois Pelletier - Highland Homes Roofing
Jake Witt - Jake Witt State Farm

Ex Officio
Susan Adams - Indian River County Commissioner
Linda Kinchen - Vice Mayor, City of Sebastian
Jason Nunemaker - City Manager, City of Fellsmere
Chamber Staff
Kimberlee Armstrong, Accounting
Nicole Capp Holbrook, Tourism Director
Beth L. Mitchell, President/CEO
Britney Melchiori, Marketing & PR Director
Vicki Wild, Membership Director
Patti Williams, Information Specialist
Chamber Ambassadors
Opey Angelone, Action Realty 633-8617
Terry Gardner, Seacoast Bank 581-1341
Nancy Johnson, Plan B Laughing 713-6030
Sandi Gehrke, TD Bank 581-1490
Cindi Green, Florida Eye Institute 569-9500
Jackie Hart, Hart Escapes  646-4828
Isabel Marron, Oculina Bank       571-1400
Michael Natale, MN Worldwide 664-0525
Sue Skirvin, Tupperware  913-2010
Cynthia Williams, Primerica 713-1991
Kristie Woodward, Oculina Bank  581-3199
Brittany Beatty, VanDeVoorde Hall Law, P.L.
Anna Valencia Tillery, White Glove Moving, Storage & Delivery 232-7843
Jason Snellenberger, Capt Hirams   
Georgia Irish, Marine Bank & Trust