Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

Supporting, advocating, and promoting our local business-members in the heart of the Florida Keys!

Category: CEO Corner (page 1 of 5)

Working for you

Information is Power

We have all heard the term, “information is power.”  Because the more we know, the better we can understand, solve problems, overcome adversity, and accomplish goals. Your Marathon Chamber values this sentiment, as not only is education one of the pillars of your Marathon Chamber, but it’s also part of your and our success.

Your Marathon Chamber Board recently approved $10,000.00 in continuing education grants to current business-members.  In total, we were able to fund eighteen (18) business-members so they can engage in continuing education opportunities to further their knowledge, skills, and abilities.  All which will have a positive effect and ROI in our community.

Your Chamber also awarded seven (7), $1,000.00 scholarships to Marathon High School seniors to help pay for their college/trade school tuition, books, etc.  Lastly, at our May luncheon, we again donated $5,000.00 to our local (Middle Keys) Take Stock in Children program.  In total we will have awarded $22,000.00 in educational-related grants in 2019; something the Board of Directors and I are so very proud of.  Actually, since 2010 your Marathon Chamber Board has awarded and donated over $120,000.00 in educational scholarships and grants.  Once again we are so honored to be able to provide our members and local students with such funding and to connect them to their desired educational opportunities.

Changing gears a bit

Changing gears a bit; we are excited to announce that our annual Membership Drive will take place this entire month of June.  Please be sure to tell your friends, other businesses, etc. about this program. We have some great incentives for new members to join during the membership drive. Free radio ads, newspaper ads, special discounts on other services, and many more items that will all help your business succeed.  After all, it is due to our growth in membership (and your membership) that we are able and continue to fund such educational endeavors.  Members who refer businesses that end up joining in June will be entered into a raffle to win some great local gift certificates!

Have a great June everyone; please be sure to contact us for any business assistance, needs, and also any advice/help you may need.  Our doors are always open and no request is out of bounds.



Most Respectfully,

CEO Daniel Samess

Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

(305) 743-5417

Aqua Leisure Boat Tours

Welcome to The Marathon Chamber

New Member: Aqua Leisure Boat Tours

Boat Tours, Boat Charters, Sunset Cruises, Boat Rentals in Marathon Florida

Our Boat

Nice, roomy, comfortable, 23 foot,  AquaSport, walk around, cuddy cabin boat with stereo and bimini top. Boat powered with 200 Horse Power Johnson motor. Operated by your very own local Captain Dean Corey. Licensed USCG 100 Ton Master

May Ceo Letter

Scholarships, Grants, and Training for YOU

Now that we are past tax season (unless you filed an extension of course), therefore we can focus on our spring and summer seasons. Speaking of our high-season, the numbers look very strong and positive as we are hitting pre-Irma figures in many categories which is very encouraging. While there is still work to be done your Marathon Chamber will continue to monitor, assess, and assist as needed.

Back to the topic, or title at-hand. We are very excited to again open up the following annual programs that are designed to help, support, and benefit you, our workforce, and also local students:


1) Currently, we are accepting applications for our annual Continuing Education Scholarships, where the Chamber Board of Directors will award up to $1,000.00/ business- a member who wishes to further their skills, abilities, and education; which in turn will allow their business to further improve and thrive. Applications went out almost a month ago and are due May 10th (see application inside newsletter). Our total budget for this is again $10,000, I hope you are able to apply.

2) We are also accepting scholarship applications from Marathon High School seniors; of which the Board will award seven (7), one-thousand dollar ($1,000) scholarships. The deadline is also May 10th so please be sure to have your students send their applications in on time.

3) Our Business Beautification Grant program will shift gears this year. We have been awarding these since 2010. This year the Board wants to focus/dedicate these funds to focus more on landscaping our US1 corridor and streets in Marathon. Please stay tuned for more info on how your business can potentially apply for funding.

4) Lastly, Best Practices Business Breakfast, on May 14th at 8 am; we will focus on Social Media Marketing Tips, Strategies & Best Practices for our guests. Please join us for a great and educational experience.

Creating opportunities

We are proud to offer these great programs to you, our valued business-member. By improving business-members (and staff’s) abilities through educational opportunities, and by improving the appearance of our businesses; your Marathon Chamber aims to raise the status, appeal, and performance of your business so all our businesses can reach new heights!

Have a great May everyone; please be sure to contact us for any business assistance, needs, and also any advice/help you may need. Our doors are always open and no request is out of bounds.


Most Respectfully, Daniel Samess, M.S.

CEO Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

(305) 743-5417

CEO November Letter



November CEO Newsletter

November is here! Believe or not we are approaching the holiday season and New Year’s! We also recently held our annual Awards Banquet and I am glad to say that we sold out with over 320 members in attendance! We had a wonderful time, some laughs, danced, gave out awards, and said goodbye and hello to Board members. I am honored to announce your newly elected Marathon Chamber of Commerce Board Directors for 2018: Steve Hurley (Chairman), Mike Kiraly (Chair-Elect), Sara Mathis (Secretary), Patrick Stevens, Greg Konrath, Jeff Smith, and Yunior Rodriguez. I would also like to recognize and thank Hawks Cay Resort for hosting us, my amazing staff (Jeanine and Erika), chamber ambassadors, and the chamber awards committee who all played a pivotal role in our banquet’s success.

BIG Raffle Contest

As it relates to our banquet, we hold our annual BIG Raffle Contest that culminates at the event. This year’s winner was Ron Snyder, whose family used to own Herbies for many years (recently sold it about five years ago). When I called Ron to inform him of the great news, he was happy but insisted on having his prize go to helping the Chamber and our community. So rather than choosing one of the vacations or the $2,000 cash option, Ron said to keep the $2,000 cash option and put it to something good. After getting direction from my Board Executive Committee, we decided to add $2,000 to our annual Marathon High School Scholarships. On top of the $5,000 we typically contribute/ award, in 2019 that amount will now be $7,000! Ron also asked that these extra scholarships be in his mother’s name, Gay Neth Snyder. I really am honored to share this story and good news with you all. Really goes to show that even our former Marathon Chamber members and business owners are still contributing and wanting Marathon to be its best.

New Board Members

Lastly, I want to acknowledge and thank three of our Board members who termed off the Board this year. They truly made a positive difference for your Marathon Chamber and personally for me in their direction and leadership: TJ Patterson (Past Chair), Sheila Cook (Past Secretary), and also Matt Lawrence (Director). Thank you TJ, Sheila, and Matt for your time and dedication; it was truly an honor to work for and with each of you!

Please always know your Marathon Chamber Board of Directors, staff, and I are all committed to working for and with you and also your business. Please be sure to get involved in our beneficial programs; ask questions, and put your Marathon Chamber to work for you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday later this month; be safe in your travels! Be sure to wait at least 3-4 hours to drive after eating all that turkey and stuffing!

Happy November!

Most Respectfully, Daniel Samess, M.S.

 CEO Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

(305) 743-5417

Marathon Chamber Website

Relocate to the Keys

Marathon Seafood Festival

Shop Small Business Saturday


As an organization that serves local business owners and customers, Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce is proud to support Small Business Saturday® this Nov 24.
Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 to help strengthen local economies. Today, it’s a holiday shopping tradition and part of a nationwide Shop Small® Movement. Dedicated to uniting communities and also supporting all kinds of small businesses. From the corner store to your favorite diner to a trendy online boutique, it’s unique small businesses like yours that help local communities stay vibrant.
Participating in Small Business Saturday is a great way to reach new customers and also promote your business.
Here are some ideas for getting involved on Nov 24:
  • Let your customers know that you plan to participate in Small Business Saturday. Visit for free promotional assets, such as ready-made social posts, to show your support.
  • On Nov 24, transform your store. Get free merchandise while supplies last to help your business make an impression. Don’t wait — apply for Small Business Saturday merchandise starting Sep 27 at
  • Terms apply.
  • Connect with your community. Connect with other organizations in your community to see how you can work together on Small Business Saturday events and also promotions.

Shop Small

As your local Chamber of Commerce, we are here to help promote, support, educate and also advocate for keys businesses since 1939.
Join us this Nov 24 to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

small business sat

Better Than Most Watersports

Welcome, New Member to the Marathon Chamber of Commerce

Better Than Most Watersports

Specializing in Florida Keys Watersports. Paddleboard/Kayak rentals, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and sunset cruises. Come play on and underwater!


Better Than Most Watersports is Marathon’s latest and greatest watersports company. We will bring the enjoyment of outdoor water activities to anyone’s vacation with our expert crew and Keysie lifestyle.


 All of our staff are trained watersports professionals. We bring a reputation with us that sets us above the rest. Our previous experience makes us more than eager and qualified to offer the best watersports experiences in the Keys.


Enjoy the best part about the Keys…THE WATER. Whether you want to be on the water or underwater, you can see the amazing scenery and beautiful tropical fish.

Dive Into Fall

Dive Into Fall with History of Diving Museum’s 13 Year Anniversary

ISLAMORADA, September 26, 2018 – The History of Diving Museum is excited to celebrate its 13th anniversary with Monroe County residents this October!

Have you driven past the History of Diving Museum (HDM) and always told yourself, “I need to stop in there sometime?”  Considered a “hidden gem” by many, the Museum is inviting locals of the Florida Keys to not just drive by, but dive in by offering a discounted rate on memberships.  All packages will be reduced by $13 through October 31. The standard adult price will be just $37 for a single adult membership, $62 for two adults* and $137 for a family membership* (same household please).

Becoming a member at the Museum has numerous benefits that you can share with family and friends!  Receive free admission 362 days of the year for member cardholders, and also a 25% discount off additional visitor admissions.  Members can reserve seats for the free monthly Immerse Yourself! Presentation series on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 7 pm.  Having a membership also means discounted rates or free admission for special events throughout the year.  Are you looking for the perfect gift for a diver, marine biologist, Keys history buff, or ocean lover in your life?  The Museum store has unique, museum-quality gifts available for all ages, with most items being discounted 10% for members.

Something for everyone at HDM

You do not have to be a diver to enjoy the Museum; there is something for everyone at HDM.  Exhibits focus on topics ranging from marine biology, history, military and also local treasure salvage.  The Featured Exhibit changes throughout the year, and also currently focuses on the development of technical diving and rebreathers. The whole family will enjoy scavenger hunts, interactive displays, and also more. HDM is even pet-friendly!

The most important factor in becoming a member is how your support helps the Museum and its educational outreach program.  Throughout the year, the Museum works to provide outreach to 4th-grade classes throughout the Keys. Staff and volunteers go to the schools to teach, inspire, and also foster new ideas about how people interact with the underwater world around us. Your membership helps the Museum to provide such unique learning experiences. Visit the Museum in person or go to to sign up to become a member!

The History of Diving Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that opened in 2005. Located in Islamorada (MM83) and is a must see for anyone traveling along the Overseas Highway. Divers and also non-divers alike are amazed by over 4,000 years of “man’s quest to explore under the sea.” Become a Member today and support special programming. Check out to find out more or email for details.


The History of Diving Museum

The Story of Man’s Quest to Explore Under the Sea

82990 Overseas Hwy – MM 83

Islamorada, FL  33036

Phone 305-664-9737 Fax 305-664-9736     |    Website

One Year After Irma

One Year After Irma

As we come upon the one-year anniversary of Irma, I can’t help but reflect on all that has and is happening.  From tragedy, to rebuilding and repairing, to recovering, and some normalcy; we have truly come a long way. Most of our hotel rooms are now back online, including Hawks Cay, along with some new rooms at The Hampton Inn. We lost a few businesses but gained a few new ones (Isla Bella Resort, Keys Dance Academy, Hampton Inn, etc.), most residents are back in their primary homes but some have moved and relocated. Our hospital took a walloping but is open and serving our community and looking to completely rebuild.  We have new workforce housing units approved and looking to start construction within one-two years, and our canals are being cleaned (kudos to our City of Marathon).

In the meantime your Marathon Chamber continues to remain a healthy, and active organization dedicated you supporting your needs and success.  Since Irma we have been working with our County and City on economic development and recovery initiatives, held countless seminars and events to connect businesses to services, and have stayed the course on our annual programs such as donating $5,000 in scholarships to MHS seniors earlier this year; $10,000 to Marathon Chamber members for continuing education scholarships, $5,000 in scholarships towards Middle Keys students in the Take Stock in Children program, and also our annual Business Beautification Grant Program where we award up to ten (10), $2,000 beautification grants to business-members.


We are also about to host a business seminar focusing on Digital & Social Marketing for your Business. Please contact us to sign up, as a member you receive a discounted rate.  I am very excited about this class as participants will learn how to put your brand/business in front of customers, no matter where they are looking, using digital advertising strategies.  I hope you can attend, please contact us ASAP to secure your space.


Later this month you, our valued member will make another very important decision. Electing seven (7) new members to the Marathon Chamber Board of Directors.  You will receive your ballots any day now, so please be sure to vote!  The Board is dedicated to representing our business-members, as well as setting the overall direction of your Marathon Chamber of Commerce; therefore your vote definitely counts and determines the leaders you wish to have representing you.


You will also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for our annual BIG RAFFLE CONTEST. It culminates at our Awards Banquet on Oct. 5th at (the newly opened) Hawks Cay Resort (save the date please).  Prizes include a luxury vacation of your choice or $2,000.00 cash, a 2-night stay at Isla Bella Beach Resort plus a $100 resort credit (for spa, dining, etc.), and multiple $100.00 gift certificates to great local restaurants.  Tickets are only $25.00 each and benefit our scholarship program; only 500 tickets max will be sold.  Please be sure to contact us anytime to get your tickets before they run out.

Have a great September everyone; please be sure to contact us for any business assistance, needs, etc.  Our doors are always open and no request is out of bounds. While we will never forget Irma I look forward to a fresh start and a strong finish to 2018!



Chief Executive Officer

Daniel Samess, M.S.

Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

12222 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050

W: (305) 743-5417 / F: (305) 289-0183


Isla Bella Beach Resort

Re-imagine vacation traditions.

A beautiful new contemporary 199-guestroom, 24-acre luxury resort in the heart of the Florida Keys, Isla Bella is perfectly nestled on one of the most stunning locations in the region. Opening Early 2019.

Guests travel a tropical winding road away from the world and into a private sanctuary. A Florida Keys beach resort with five pools, multiple dining options, sandy beach, spa and fitness center, conference center, and more on-site activities than you can imagine.

More than a resort, a destination.

The resort is exquisite, with delightful touches you didn’t know you wanted, like bocce ball, fire pits, and hammocks. From backcountry kayaking to world-class sportfishing, you’ll find more activities at your fingertips than anywhere else in the Florida Keys.

A vacation to

What’s your palate in the mood for? Wood-fired, handmade Neapolitan pizza and a traditional Keys seafood menu at IL Postino. Oceanfront tropical cocktails and sushi or poolside burgers and also freshly caught fish. Pull up a stool at the bar, dine in the restaurant, or at the beach.

The best kind of work.

Our beautiful Florida Keys location is the best place to work hard and also play harder. With our 4,000 square foot Hibiscus Conference Center, we can accommodate a wide range of groups and events, from 25 to 300 people.

A match made in heaven.

The perfect setting for your perfect day. Breezy swaying palms, calm turquoise waters. You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful backdrop. With a destination like this, the honeymoon has already started.

Indulge your mind, body & spirit.

Isla Bella will make you feel a world away, especially when you visit IL Mare Spa and also Fitness Center in the comfort of our relaxing treatment rooms.

commerce corner isla bella


Welcome New Member Crown Merchants!

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