Key Largo Chamber Legend March 2023

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Gordon Food Service Store

The Key Largo Chamber of Commerce is excited to celebrate the grand opening of the Gordon Food Service Store in the Waldorf Plaza at 99615 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. Thank you to everyone who attended. See more photos on page 15.

Legend March 2024 Vol. 26 No. 300 Official Newsletter SUPPORT AREA BUSINESSES • SHOP LOCAL

In This Issue

From the Front Line of the Key Largo Chamber Visitor Center

Over the past month, we've received calls from various tourism attractions inquiring if the number of visitors arriving at the KLCOC Visitor Center has decreased. The good news is that we haven't seen a decline, in fact, our numbers have increased.

Legacy Members

However, we have learned that families visiting the Florida Keys tend to allocate most of their budget toward lodging. We have learned that they need our help justifying the cost of visiting attractions and dining options. They are looking for that one "mustdo" tourist attraction and "must-visit" restaurant. At the same time, the rest of their visit involves finding ways to enjoy the beautiful islands without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately, the cost of living and doing business in this area has increased expenses being passed on to visitors, resulting in decreased revenue for tourism-dependent businesses. To ensure the long-term sustainability of our tourism industry, we need to find ways to address the needs of lodging, dining, and tourismdependent businesses while meeting the needs of visitors to the Florida Keys, guaranteeing that they have an unforgettable experience without worrying about their budget.

The tourism industry is the backbone of our economy and is facing significant challenges. We must avoid overburdening it with costs that visitors cannot afford. Families are beginning to opt for more affordable vacation destinations, and we cannot afford to lose them. If we don't act now, the

industry we have come to rely on will decline. Let's collaborate and devise solutions to ensure the Florida Keys remain a popular vacation spot; by discovering methods to make tourist attractions and dining options more reasonably priced, we can draw in more visitors, increase business earnings, and guarantee the long-term viability of our economy.

Here are a few suggestions and ideas that we can help implement to boost your business:


• Offer package deals for multiple attractions

• Provide discounts for groups or families

• Implement discounted admission days

• Offer off-peak day discounts


• Fixed-price menus

• Discounts for early bird or late-night diners

• Family style dinner options


• Mid-week specials

• Multiple day booking reduction

• Florida resident discount

If your business has something to offer tourists, please send us the details, and we will share that information. Contact us at 305-451-1414 or

2 MARCH 2024
Director Join the Chamber's exclusive Legacy Member 100K Club to help raise $100,000 to pay off the chamber's mortgage and bolster reserves. The Key Largo Chamber is seeking 100 sponsorships of $1,000 per business or individual. Thank you to: X Henry Quintana X HNO Productions X Michael Rojewski Realtor X Gretchen Holland X Coral Reef Title X Arla Marr
Landscaping Guide PAGE 2 2024 Legislative Highlights PAGE 4 History of Diving Museum Benefit Concert PAGE 6 Destination Guide Rates PAGE 7 Members in Motion PAGE 8 Event Calendar PAGE 10-11 Chamber Directors PAGE 12 Gordon Store Grand Opening PAGE 13 Unleash Superpower with AI PAGE 14 Luncheon Happenings PAGE 15 FKEC Residential Rebates PAGE 16 Credits: Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Market Design Connect with Nikki Dunn Cullen
of Commerce
Michael Kane, KLCOC
Key Largo Chamber

New Native Plant Landscaping Guide

Monroe County Environmental Resources introduces a userfriendly guide to aid property owners in selecting and planting native vegetation. This comprehensive guide will aid in creating stunning landscapes while supporting local ecosystems.

The guide features a convenient classification table that helps users quickly identify desired plant qualities such as butterfly attraction, showy flowers, salt tolerance, and light requirements. Detailed photos and descriptions assist in selecting ideal plants suited to specific locations within Monroe County.

The free digital guide is available at keysnatives as a downloadable PDF

and in a flipbook.

Limited hard copies are available for pickup at Monroe County Building Department offices, or a hard copy can be viewed at any of Monroe County’s five public libraries. The guide can help enhance your landscape with indigenous flora while preserving Monroe County’s biodiversity.

For more information, contact a Monroe County biologist at 305-289-2500.

Monroe County Environmental Resources is dedicated to fostering sustainable, quality development while conserving and promoting stewardship of the county’s fragile environment and the unique character of its diverse island communities.

MARCH 2024 3 Business Savings. EARN MORE on the money you’ve earned. Member FDIC Key Largo • 97670 Overseas Hwy 305-852-2070 Key Largo - Tradewinds • 101433 Overseas Hwy 305-451-3033

2024 Legislative Season Highlights


• The bill clarifies that the City of Key West is included in the 24-hurricane evacuation model and that mobile homes are included in the 48-evacuation model.

• The bill allows for one-time use only of Tourist Development Tax Surplus to be used for tourismsector workforce housing.

• The bill provides for a temporary (5 year) exemption from SHIP program’s mandatory distribution across income categories. Monroe County is experiencing problems qualifying people in the two lower categories. The exemption will allow 100% of the funds to help more families in the moderateincome category if they cannot be used in the other two categories.

• And finally, the bill Amends the Monroe County Land Authority powers related to qualifying buyers from homeownership and

ensuring that affordable housing is protected perpetually.

CS/HB 1571 — FKAA

• The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) is responsible for managing and maintaining water and sewer systems within the district.

• This bill will make sure that the FKAA is in the most advantageous position possible when they go to market for funding by allowing them to combine water and sewer systems for the purposes of financing.


• Provides a procedure for the Construction Industry Licensing Board to issue a license to a registered contractor in good standing who was registered locally during calendar years 2021, 2022, or 2023, in circumstances where the local jurisdiction no longer issues local licenses.

• Limited to the contractor trade categories in current law, including local residential, HVAC, roofing, and plumbing contractors, who are not required to have a state license.

• Eligible applicants must meet the insurance and financial responsibility requirements for contractors in current law


The Bill requires the DEP to adopt rules for mangrove replanting and restoration.

The rules must do the following:

• Address significant erosion in areas of critical state concern.

• Protect barrier islands, and spoil islands.

• Assist Everglades restoration and Biscayne Bay 28 revitalization efforts, including the development of living shoreline design options for the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve.

• Promote public awareness of the value of mangroves.

4 MARCH 2024

• Support mangrove education campaigns conducted by local governmental entities.

• Protect and maintain access to and navigation of the marked channel and the right-of-way of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway’s.

• Requires the department, in consultation with the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services, to conduct a statewide feasibility study regarding the use of mangroves and other naturebased solutions to improve a local government's community rating for flood insurance purposes.


• Allows the college of the Florida Keys to expand the number of dormitories on its campus

• Allows the college to have an ownership interest in the dorms

• This change will help the college

respond to affordable housing needs for their students, teachers and first responders.


• The Bill will roll back the requirement that Citizens insured policies be identical to flood insurance policies, removing the requirement for contents coverage.

Effective date of July 1, 2024



• San Carlos Institute Repairs


• Harry S. Truman Little White House Improvements $125,000

• Florida Keys Habitat for Humanity $950,000

• Caroline Street Roadway

Improvements $400,000

• The WOW Center $940,000

• FKAA Crawl Key Reverse Osmosis

Facility $10,000,000

• Homestead Septic to Sewer Conversion $1,000,000

• Mote Marine Laboratory Coral Recovery $1,000,000

• Zoo Miami Manatee Rescue $685,750

• Adults with Disabilities – MARC $150,000

• Florida Keys AHEC $355,110

• Good Health Clinic $250,000

• Monroe County Domestic Violence Shelter $1,000,000

• Baptist Women’s Cancer Center $2,500,000

• Mental Health Services for LEO & FF $250,000

• Stewardship $20,000,000

• FWC Fish Study $2,000,000

• MERT Emergency Response Vessel – Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada. (Rep. Melo) $750,000

• Total Funds Brought to District 120 = $43,355,860.00

MARCH 2024 5
secluded staycation is just a stone’s throw away in Key Largo. Paradise doesn’t require a plane ticket.

History of Diving Museum with Musical Performance by Rainbow Full of Sound, Host Benefit Concert on March 29

Get your tickets now for an evening of art, community and special musical tribute to musician, artist and avid diver Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Bands have a shelf life, but great music thrives—and this is perhaps truest of the Grateful Dead, whose repertoire is now being performed by hundreds of bands. Among the best of them is Waynard Scheller and Rainbow Full of Sound (RFoS).

RFoS took shape in 2012 when a group of Dead Head musicians decided to replicate the Dead’s legendary 1980 Radio City Music Hall run. They had so much fun they never stopped. A rotating cast of members keeps things lively and the music fresh. The continuing link is Waynard, whose roots in music include a ragtime-piano-playing grandfather, guitar-toting hippie babysitters, and a mom who taught him classics like “Heart and Soul.”

Enjoy a night under the stars at Safe Harbor Angler House in Islamorada.

Celebrating Jerry’s love of diving and protecting our oceans, the Jerry Garcia Foundation donated limited-edition museum quality giclees of his art to the History of Diving Museum. Prints will be

on display and available for purchase. In addition, there will be a drawing for one print. Each piece of fine art comes with a JGF Certificate of Authenticity that is hand-signed by Jerry's wife, Manasha and daughter, Keelin.

Along with dinner and dancing “Dive Into Art & Music” on March 29th, from 5:30-9:00 pm, there will be a fun photo op area provided by Keys Westys with a ’70s hippy style VW van and community booths to share coral restoration efforts from

Key Largo to Key West.

Seating will be limited, with several options available: Poolside access, dinner by M.E.A.T Eatery and Tap Room, admission to the History of Diving Museum and a Jerry Garcia art raffle is $125 per person. For $3,000, a sponsor will receive their very own signed giclee, VIP reserved seating and dinner for four along with admission passes to the History of Diving Museum.

There will be a limited number of general admission tickets available at $50 per

person which is packaged with a Jerry Garcia art raffle ticket. You can purchase tickets for the event at the Museum or on their website: https://divingmuseum. org/. The event will be held, rain or shine, and if unable to attend, you can view remaining art available for purchase at the Museum.

The History of Diving Museum is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit located in Islamorada (MM83). Check out for more details, to become a member, or shop online.

6 MARCH 2024

Key Largo Chamber 2024 Guide

Center Spread – Two Full Pages

Two Full Page Spread

Full Page

1/2 Page

1/4 Page

1/8 Page (Business Card)

Page 3 & 51 – Full Page

Inside Front or Back Cover – Full Page

Enhanced Listing – 40 words or less

Artwork Deadline is April 10, 2024

Estimated Distribution in May 2024

Publication dates & deadlines subject to change

MARCH 2024 7
off if paid by March 31, 2024
buys include website linked on digital upload
Downloaded Nationally
throughout the Florida Keys
Two Page Spread 16.1425” x 10” 17.25” x 11.125” Full Page 7.58” x 10” 8.625” x 11.125” 1/2 Page Vertical 3.725” x 10” 3.725” x 11.125” 1/2 Page Horizontal 7.5625 in X 4.95” 8.625 in X 5.5125 1/4 Page 3.725” x 4.95” Business Card – 1/8 3.725”x 2.4” Width x Height with Bleed
Visitors-Relocation-Local Directory Full color, 300 dpi minimum resolution. Accepted file types: .jpg, .tiff, .pdf To purchase an ad or more information contact Suzi at 305-451-1414 $3,500 $3,200 $2,500 $1,500 $860 $475 $2,800 $2,800 $100 2023 Pricing

Members in Motion!

Thank you to SBI Windows & Doors and The Rojewski Rebl Group for hosting our February networking event.

Thank you SBI Windows and Doors and

Our wonderful hosts, Incoming Chairman Michael Rojewski

Seeking Hosts for Members in Motions

We are seeking members to fill a few gaps in our Members in Motion schedule. The networking event is hosted on the fourth Thursday of the month, and currently, April, May, July, August, September, and November are available.

Interested? Please contact Suzi Youngberg at 305-451-1414.

Remember, members can collaborate to co-host events. If you do not have a brick-and-mortar business, the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce building is also available at no charge.

8 MARCH 2024
with Berta and Enrique. Board Director Henry Quintana with Chairman Henry Menendez. Margie Smith of Baptist Health Foundation and David Hartman from Fantastic Endeavors. Dr. Vidhi and Nirav Patel of Key Largo Dental Associates. Ivette and Eric Munoz from Above and Beyond Appliances. Rojewski Rebl Group Julie from Time Out Magazine with Jennifer and Sherry from First Horizon Bank. Ana, Eric owner of Buffalo Steakhouse and Seafood, Ana's husband, with Ilja and Brad of Voyage Blue Travel Agency. Patrick and Board Director Cathy from The Catch.

Join the History of Diving Museum and Rainbow Full of Sound for a benefit concert, art exhibition and special musical tribute to musician, artist, and avid diver Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead!

Ticketed event includes: music, art sale, dinner, dancing and more!

Friday, March 29th

5:30-9:00 PM

At Safe Harbor Angler House 80500 Overseas Hwy Islamorada, FL Keys

This History of Diving Museum exhibition and fundraising event is made possible by a generous donation of Jerry Garcia’s LimitedEdition Museum Quality Giclee prints as a gift from the Jerry Garcia Foundation Pieces are available through silent auction, sale and raffle opportunities. More details:

Proceeds from event benefit Featured Exhibits, expanded student outreach and community programs. Get your tickets today!

History of Diving Museum | Open Daily 10 AM- 5 PM 82990 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL Keys

MARCH 2024 9
Musical performance by and guests
10 MARCH 2024 Upcoming Events For event details visit Start Up, Start Right New Business Webinar 6:00 PM Wednesday, March 20 Sunday, March 24 Full Moon Kayak Tour 6:00 PM Tuesday, March 26 Leadership Success Academy 9:00 AM Thursday, March 28 Wednesday, April 3 Retail Business Marketing Webinar 6:00 PM Saturday, April 6 Dueling Pianos 6:00 PM Tuesday, April 9 REEF Fish & Friends — Coastal Everglades Monitoring: Fish & Beyond 6:15 PM Pups & Polyps 5:30 PM Members in Motion "An Evening of Networking at the Garden Club" 5:30 PM Habitat for Humanity Upper Keys Golf Tournament 1:00 PM Thursday, April 18 Thursday, April 11 Mote's Bingo Night at Florida Keys Brewing Company! 7:00 PM
MARCH 2024 11 K ey Largo Chamber of Comm erce Trustees Members Networking Luncheon January 11—11:30 Pilot House New Years Eve Support Chamber Member Restaurants New Years Day Chamber/Visitor Center closed to celebrate the Holiday Members in Motion January 25th —5:30 PM Italian Food Company Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Trustees Franci s Tracy Garden Center Joi n us for t he next Member s in Moti on 94040 Overseas Highway Tavernier, FL 33070 Come out and e njoy an eveni ng of n etwo rking i n the gard ens Raffle tickets available for a beautiful tropical arrangement and native plants at the Thursday March 28—5:30 to 7:30 PM Parking is limited, please carpool No parking to the left of the building it is a private road and no parking in the median $ 15 pp RSVP By 3/25/2024 Late Registration $ 20 Register online or call 305.451.1414 Friday, April 19 Blue Water Surrender's Roaring 20's Gala 6:00 PM Tuesday, April 23 Full Moon Kayak Tour 6:30 PM

Your Chamber Board of Directors

Henry Menendez

2024 - 2026 Chairman of the Board of Directors

HNO Productions – Owner/Operator

Angie Alvarez (2024 -2026)

Centennial Bank Branch Manager

Manuel Alvarez (2024-2026)

Verdeja, De Armas & Trujill CPA

Berta Bravo (2024 – 2026)

SBI Windows & Doors Proprietor

Spencer Bryan (2023-2025)

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Captain

Kevin Donlan (2024-2026)

Publix Supermarkets, Inc District Director

Melissa Fernandez (2023-2025)

All Keys Concrete Communications & Sales

Cathy Gahagen (2024-2026)

The Catch Proprietor

Manuela Mobley (2024 – 2026)

Keys Weekly Director of Sales

Henry Quintana (2024 -2026)

Henry Quintana Realty, Inc Owner/Operator

Michael Rojewski – Chaiman Elect (2023–2025)

Rojewski & Rebl Group Realtor

Stephanie A. Russo (2023 - 2025)

Russo Law and Mediation Attorney

Cari Sanders (2024-2026)

Vital Signs Proprietor

Ruth Schrader-Grace (2024 - 2026)

Keys Core Fitness Owner/Operator

Blaine Vernicek (2023 - 2025)

The Structure Group Manager

Celebrating the Grand Opening of Gordon Food Service

MARCH 2024 13


a lightning-fast presentation showing how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can

workflow and free up your time for what matters most—growing your business.

Get smarter insights: Unleash

data analysis power to spot hidden trends, make data-driven decisions, and predict customer behavior.

Work smarter, not harder: Boost productivity by streamlining workflows, optimizing marketing campaigns, and even generating creative content with AI.

No big tech budget needed: Learn about affordable AI solutions tailored specifically for small businesses.

Leave with a roadmap: Get actionable steps and resources to start implementing AI. Reservations are opening soon.

14 MARCH 2024 Welcome New Chamber Members Keys Marine Electronics, Inc. CJ Davis 305-852-4668 Webb Bros Contracting Inc. Donna Webb 305-451-9216 Duval Street Media, LLC Christopher Massicotte 305-394-1108 Boca 2 Services, LLC Abbas Jaferi 561-774-8077 Thomas Anthony Furniture Service Linda Saylor 954-421-4911 Island Hammock Pet Hospital Michelle Koon 305-852-5252 Gordon Food Service Tommy Castillo 305-317-1016 Centauri Transport, LLC Frank J. Visconti 786-786-2326
will share
Market Growth Specialist,
supercharge your
April Networking Luncheon: Unleash Your Superpower with AI Tools

Chamber Luncheon Happenings

MARCH 2024 15
Guest speaker Richard Strickland from Key West International Airport. Dan and Laurie from Cruzin Tikis Key Largo. Board Director Berta Bravo with Past Chair Roberto Alonso. Board Director Keivn Donlan with Nikki from Habitat for Humanity. New Member I can See Clear Kayaking. Erin with Wild Bird Center and Linda from the Children's Shelter. It was a great turn out! New Member Keys Deep Apparel. Gretchen Holland with Ryan of Coral Reef Title. New Memeber Key Largo Dental Associates. PHOTOS BY DAVID KAY (AKA VIDEO DAVE)

New Rebates Offered

FKEC has added two new rebates to our Residential Rebate Program.

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative has updated our residential rebates and added a Smart Thermostat and an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger rebate to the program. Since implementing the Residential Rebate Program in 2014, FKEC has continually evaluated and revised the offer to align with our members’ interests and needs.

To benefit as many members as possible, FKEC offers a wide range of qualified rebates, from significant energy-saving improvements like investing in a new air conditioner to minor yet impactful improvements like reflective roof coating. Rebates range from $25 to $500, with a $500 limit per member per calendar year.


To be eligible, you must meet the program’s criteria and apply for the rebate within 60 days of completion of the energy-saving improvement in the same calendar year.

Our Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate does differ because it allows members who installed a UL-certified Level 2 charger at their home on or after July 1, 2019, to apply.

Interesting in Applying?

To apply for an FKEC Residential Rebate, start by reviewing the criteria for the energy-saving improvements at and call Member Service at 305-852-2431.

Smart Thermostat Rebate (up to $100.00)

Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate — UL-certified Level 2 (up to $350.00)

FKEC Available Rebates

Co-op members interested in conserving energy and saving money at home can make energy-efficient improvements that also qualify for an FKEC Residential Rebate. Florida Keys Electric Cooperative offers the program to encourage members to invest in decreasing their energy consumption. X


X Cool/Reflective Roof Coating Rebate — $25.00 per 5-gallon bucket

X Smart Thermostat Rebate — up to $100.00

X Electric Vehicle Charger — up to $350.00 — UL-certified Level 2

FKEC is proud to be the hometown electric cooperative serving the Upper and Middle Keys | 305-852-2431 FLORIDA KEYS ELECTRIC CO-OP
Central A/C Rebate — 30% up to $500.00 – SEER2 15.3 or more
Ductless Mini Split A/C Rebate — 30% up to $400.00 – SEER 18 or more
Room A/C Rebate — 30% up to $100.00 – EER2 11.00 or more
Insulation Rebate — 30% up to $300.00
Window Film or Solar Screen Rebate — 100% up to $200.00
100% up to $100.00
Caulk/Weather-stripping Rebate —
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