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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 1 year ago

New Palm Coast chamber: less ribbon cutting, more government affairs

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The new chamber's first president is Greg Blose.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Less than three months after the Flagler County Chamber dissolved due to financial struggles amplified by the pandemic, the Palm Coast Regional Chamber of Commerce has been created and has its first leader: CEO/President Greg Blose, formerly of the state chamber.

With massive job losses brought on by COVID-19, combined with the threat of hurricanes, now is the time to start a new chamber, said Blose (pronounced blah-SAY).

“We cannot have the business community unrepresented at this time,” he said in an Aug. 17 phone interview with the Palm Coast Observer. “It’s just not acceptable.”

The new chamber will have a new focus and will operate on a staff of just one — Blose himself — likely for the first 12 months.

“You’ll see our chamber focus on a lot of governmental relations issues,” he said. “This is less about ribbon cuttings and more about major policy issues, and more about how do we take the community to the next level.”

Blose, a former resident of Flagler County, was most recently the director of the Board of Governors for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in Tallahassee; he also served as the state chamber’s disaster preparedness and recovery project manager. He is a former executive officer of the Volusia Home Builders Association and was appointed in 2018 by then-Gov. Rick Scott to the Florida State Emergency Response Commission.

The first volunteer chairman of the chamber will be John Walsh, publisher of the Palm Coast Observer.

“Businesses today face so many new challenges,” he said, mentioning COVID-19 and hurricane season. “The opportunity of having Mr. Greg Blose come lead us to face those mounting challenges, from his experience at the state level, accelerated our decision to bring it to life today.”

Walsh hopes the business community embraces the chamber’s new emphasis on government affairs and lifting the entire community.

“We’re changing our focus,” he said. “Successful chambers today don’t focus on what’s in it for me as an individual business but focus on what’s in it for we, the entire business community.”

The nonprofit was formed July 15 by Michael Chiumento, Walsh and Donald O'Brien. A website is in development. New memberships are accepted; email [email protected] for details.

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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