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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, May 2, 2019 7 months ago

Maitland Chamber of Commerce relocating to new office

The chamber is moving on after four decades at its old location.
by: Harry Sayer Black Tie Reporter

Scott Hall remembers one long Saturday a few years ago, when he and a handful of other members of the Maitland Chamber of Commerce worked to touch up the chamber building. The plan was to repaint the office’s wood exterior, giving it a more fresh and vibrant look. 

But there was a problem the group quickly discovered — some of that wood had started to rot and decay. 

“We were there with saws and sawing off the paneling and nailing up new paneling,” he said. “Cutting up the old building and putting new pieces of wood on it just so it could last a couple more years.”

It’s a fond memory for Hall, current president of the chamber, but not an activity that he or other chamber members will have to repeat anytime soon. 

After more than 40 years at its current location, the chamber is moving to a new home, and Hall couldn’t be more excited. 

It’s no surprise the chamber’s current building has some battle scars. The building has  been a Maitland staple since the early 1970s. 

“There’s a lot of history there; it’s been passed around by word of mouth,” Hall said.

Hall said the chamber’s current office originally was a model home that became available in the late ‘60s and was provided to the chamber by the city of Maitland for a lower price. In the years since, the building has endured wear and tear by the passing of time and by the elements themselves. Beyond that, the structure lacks insulation — Hall suspected it was built at a time when air conditioning wasn’t a consideration. It ultimately became a situation that was too costly to continue. 

“It’s an older house,” he said. “It doesn’t really serve the needs of the chamber, and unfortunately, the condition of the property wasn’t a priority in the past. It was kind of draining us to maintain this home that wasn’t really serving us, anyway … we could have continued to pay the (bills) but the building was antiquated and not what we wanted to represent us as a chamber of commerce.”

The chamber planned for the big move to their new office, located at 500 N. Maitland Ave., late last year. Unlike some municipalities that have foregone a physical location for their chambers, Hall believes having people present in the community is more attractive to interested businesses, especially considering the downtown area’s recent expansion. 

The chamber is planning on outsourcing its community events like its holiday parties and Coffee Connections meet-ups to take place at the New Hope For Kids building.

“Having an office that is more representative of our progressive community that’s attracting new businesses … it will be a more business-like image for the chamber,” Hall said. 

Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 


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