Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

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

Category: Press Releases (page 1 of 6)

Seminar #2 Cyber Security

CEO’S CORNER– Seminar Cyber Security Coming Soon

Chamber Members, Friends, Colleagues: 

Please consider attending our upcoming Business Seminar Classes which are a great opportunity for you and your employees to learn about:

  1. August 14th: Cyber security to protect your online information, customer info/data, websites, etc.
  2. September 11th: How to read and utilize financial reports to make good business decisions.

Have a great and safe weekend everyone.  Lobster Mini Season is next week, please be safe out there; ensure all your gear is in good working order, your lobster and fishing licenses, etc.  May the lobster be with you!

To sign up & RSVP please contact Erika at your Marathon Chamber: 305-743-5417 /
Click here for PDF of Seminars Flyer


Seminar Cyber Security

Seminar Cyber Security


7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:


  1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.


  1. Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page


  1. Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.


  1. Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.


  1. Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.


  1. Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

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  1. Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all of the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

Financial Literacy Classes


Marathon, FL (July 11, 2017) – United Way of the Florida Keys is offering FREE Financial Literacy classes to anyone interested in improving their budgeting and also money management skills.


Tuesday, July 25 2017:

A class is scheduled in Marathon at the Power Squadron Building, located:

5211 Loggerhead, across the street from St. Columba Church.

Class runs from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Materials are furnished.


“Money Matters” and includes instruction on how to:

  • Identify ways to increase income
  • Decrease spending
  • Track spending habits
  • Prepare a personal spending plan/budget to help balance monthly income and also expenses
  • List and prioritize financial goals to help you reach them
  • Identify budgeting tools that help you manage your bills
  • Create a personal workable and also realistic plan for your specific circumstances

Class is absolutely FREE and is also open to anyone.  Additional classes with different topics will be scheduled in Marathon and also Key West.

For more information and free registration, please contact Loretta Geotis at or call 305-797-1704.


About United Way of the Florida Keys:

United Way of the Florida Keys is an independent, local 501(c)(3) organization that has been supporting the Keys community for more than 30 years. UWFK supports strong working families and also funds nonprofits that provide critical services to Keys residents. Therefore money raised in the Keys stays in the Keys.

United Way also plays a unique role in convening businesses, nonprofits and government to work together to address community needs. For more information, visit our website: or call (305) 735-1929.  Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED.

July 2017 CEO Letter

July 2017 CEO Letter:


Join June Membership Drive

Join June Membership Drive

School’s out for summer (as Alice Cooper said), but that doesn’t mean we stop learning and trying to educate and empower you, our valued
member! I am very excited for the three (3) educational seminars we have planned for you this summer and fall. Each class is specific to
local business’ needs that will help to further improve your marketing, security of valuable data, and to better understand and utilize financial
reports to make sound business decisions.


First class focuses on social media marketing. It takes place on July 10th from 8:30AM – 11:30AM at the Hyatt Place conference room. We hope to see you there as this will be a great class. Also opportunity to learn about how to effectively market your business, products, and also services to current and potential customers online via Facebook and other widely used social media platforms.

Second class will focus on cyber security for your business, and how to protect important data, customer data, etc. that you may store on your computer, point of sale system, etc. This class will take place on August 14th (same time and location).

Third and final class will focus on cash flow management and effective use of financial reports for your business. Here you will learn how to construct, read, and effectively use financial reports to help your business survive and also thrive. This class will be on September 11th, again same time and also location as the previous two.

We hope you will join us for one, two, or all three classes; as always chamber members receive a discounted rate. If you sign up for all three classes you receive an even more heavily discounted rate. All classes include coffee, beverages, fruit and pastries. Please contact us your Marathon Chamber to RSVP (305-743-5417;

Board elections, and annual Awards & Installation Banquet

Lastly, we are beginning to plan ahead for our upcoming Board elections, and annual Awards & Installation Banquet (save the date please: October 6th at Hawks Cay Resort).

We recently awarded (10) ten Business Beautification Grants to local business-members as well. Our education committee Chairman TJ Patterson announced our five MHS senior scholarship recipients, each received $1,000.00 from your Marathon Chamber of Commerce.

Congrats to: Carlie Meehan, Theodore Violissi III, Amanda Ban, Alyssa Turner, and Rachel Philcox!

Have a great, safe, and happy 4th of July everyone; see you all at Sombrero Beach for the amazing Marathon Rotary Beach Party and City of Marathon Fireworks Show. Be sure to contact us for any business assistance, needs, or also services you may need either directly from us or from someone else we can connect you with. Our doors are always open and no request is out of bounds.

Most Respectfully,

Daniel Samess, CEO

Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

(305) 743-5417


Seafood Festival Application

Original Marathon Florida Seafood

Festival Vendor Application is ready

2018 Seafood Festival Vendor Application is ready for vendors! Got to the Website, under the tab at the top “Vendors” click on it and finally the application is there.

Spaces will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis. Return vendors may receive first right of refusal for previous booth space, however, not guaranteed.

Sponsored by the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce and the Organized Fishermen of Florida.

2018 Seafood Festival Vendor App

Original Marathon Seafood Festival Application

 2nd largest FL Keys event with over 20,000 attendees & growing every year.

In addition premier event for great/fresh seafood and entertainment in the Florida Keys. Bring the whole family for two days and enjoy great cuisine, entertainment, and also fun!

Paramount Residential Mortgage Group

Welcome New Chamber Member

PRMG Expands its Southeast Territory with New Branch in Marathon, FL!

(Paramount Residential Mortgage Group)

California-based mortgage lender, Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc., is further expanding its Southeast region by opening their new location in sunny Marathon, FL.



The newest location will be managed by seventeen-year mortgage veteran; Lismel Morales. Lismel has worked for Equity Mortgage Bankers, Bank of America and Ameriquest, to name a few.

He has successfully managed all aspects of mortgage branch in his primary branch, including recruiting and training Sales Team, Managing Office Staff, Approving Transactions, and overall Profit & Loss responsibility. Being able to communicate in Spanish and English has allowed Lismel to continue to be a top-performing, self-confident Mortgage Professional while building lasting relationships in his local community.

“I’m extremely excited to open my new satellite branch in the beautiful Marathon, FL and to start assisting many families in their pursuit of the American Dream of Homeownership!”, said Morales.

Lismel will work closely with PRMG Vice President/ Divisional Retail Production; Steve Levine and ultimately report to PRMG SVP, Director of National Retail Production; Chris Sorensen.

The new PRMG Marathon, FL location is looking for Motivated Loan Originators to support the PRMG mission to being “Progressively Better in All that We Do”.  If you’re ready to join a top-tier team in PRMG’s Marathon, FL office, please contact Lismel Morales at 786.543.5388 or


Quilt Donations



Public Relations Manager Patricia Krogh* *Office: 352.271.4650  Cell: 623.628.9148

A Gift of Comfort and Care: Quilt

Monroe County, Florida (June 12, 2017)— Each year, the 90-member Florida Keys Quilters Guild donate handmade quilts to support the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Florida Keys (VNA/HFK). Mission of providing comfort, care and compassion to its patients and their families.

“As long as the organization has existed we have helped out as much as we can,” said Florida Keys Quilters Guild member Mary Lou Wilkinson. Also “We also donate quilts to be used for silent auctions at fundraising events. Anything we can do to help.”

This year the club donated a variety of beautiful quilts with various designs including; a tropical pattern, a penguin pattern, a sushi pattern, holiday-themed quilts and also many more. Each quilt has a special label that reads, “One who is sleeping under a quilt is sleeping under love.”

“We are so happy to be able to help out such a great organization,” said Mary Lou. “I had a close friend receive care from Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys and they were so great. Anyone who has ever dealt with the organization is always praising them. They really are a great group of people.”

The group meets the first Saturday of the month starting at 10 a.m. at the Key Largo Library Community Room located at 101485 Overseas Highway. In addition if anyone interested in becoming part of the charity quilt program, please contact Mary Lou Wilkinson at 305.394.3878.


VNA/HFK Development & Volunteer Coordinator Becky Love, VNA/HFK Professional Liaison Livia Barbosa, VNA/HFK Patient Care Manager Debbie Premaza, VNA/HFK Chaplin Kerry Foote, VNA/HFK Medical Director Dr. Joanne Mahoney, VNA/HFK Assistant Clinical Coordinator Aniessa Rittenhouse and VNA/HFK Nurse Holly Nason.

About Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys:

Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys (VNA/HFK), an affiliate of Haven Hospice, is an integrated agency that has been providing skilled home health, palliative and hospice care to the residents and visitors of Monroe County since 1984. The mission of VNA/HFK is to honor life by providing comfort, care and compassion to those we serve.  For more information regarding VNA/HFK or how you can volunteer, please call 305-852-7887 or visit Since 1984, VNA/HFK has had the onor and privilege to serve more than 54,600 patients and families in the Florida Keys. Hospice License:  HPC50310951. VNA License:  HHA21245096. HCS License: 232500 and 232517.  EIN: HHA21245095.  Charitable organization registration number: CH87.

About Haven Hospice:

Haven Hospice is your not-for-profit, community hospice organization providing comprehensive services since 1979 and also licensed in Florida since 1980. Therefore Haven is North Florida’s expert in end-of-life and palliative care; receiving national recognition as a Circle of Life Award Recipient from the American Hospital Association for its excellence and innovation. Haven has also been recognized as a Florida Pacesetter for its leadership in promoting advance directives. In conclusion for more than 38 years Haven has had the honor and also privilege to serve more than 110,000 patients and families in North Florida. Finally for more information, visit or call 800-727-1889.   

Diving a Dream! Matt Johnston

Diving a Dream! Matt Johnston’s visit to the History of Diving Museum

ISLAMORADA, On June 3rd:

The History of Diving Museum (HDM) was thrilled to welcome Matt Johnston back in celebration of his groundbreaking dives 10 years ago. With the help of Mike Lombardi and Ocean Opportunity, this feat was achieved after three years of training and engineering of specialized equipment. SDI instructor Drew Gerling worked with Matt for hours in the pool and waters around Minnesota before they headed south. In 2006 Matt became the first quadriplegic ventilator-dependent scuba diver; he made his final two dives off of the Florida Keys. As Matt explains, “Underwater is where God shows off.” The goal was to learn from these stepping stones. So that aqua therapy could be an easier realized dream for people with disabilities.

The Diving a Dream exhibit showcases Matt’s journey to the sea, including his pioneering gear and dive manual. HDM was excited to share these enhancements with him and his team. Matt and Mike presented new artifacts donated from a scientific mission in Greece that will be included. The group received a guided tour throughout the exhibits with executive director Lisa Mongelia. Then everyone celebrated with as they all watched the NBC Today special about Matt’s diving journey, here in the Bauer Diving History Research Library.

Muscular Dystrophy:

Since this event was open to the public; many visitors were able to meet with Matt, ask questions, learn first-hand the challenges, and triumphs of those dives.  One of the visitors mentioned having a loved one with muscular dystrophy. Hence the disease which has kept Matt wheelchair bound since age 17.  Other museum guests where excited to share that they were adaptive dive instructors back in their home towns. Finally they have witnessed the positive value of aqua therapy. Even for those of us who have no experience with this disease or the world of adaptive diving, Matt Johnston’s story is an inspiring one. He reminds us all to pursue our dreams, even when they seem impossible, both under the water and on land.

Later in the evening the Museum hosted a dinner in honor of this anniversary and visit at Snappers Oceanfront Restaurant & Bar in Key Largo.  Guests dined with Matt and his team. They got to here form Mike Lombardi about some of the more technical aspects of his diving mission as well as what the whole campaign is really about. “Holding fast to your dreams and challenging perceived limitations.”. The group is now working to design and develop more robust equipment. It will better the lives of people with tracheotomies by allowing higher levels of physical activity.

One of Matt’s former nurses, Beth Ness, shared that “persistence” is Matt’s middle name, the knowing smiles throughout the team members seemed to confirm this.  It was a fascinating look into the hurdles this group faced. Also a fun evening commemorating something we all understand: the fascination with the ocean and supreme need to dive!

A special thank you:

A special thank you to the Surgery Center in Cleveland Ohio and our Board Members who made the event possible. Thank you to Matt and his team/dive family, Mike Lombardi and Ocean Opportunities, and everyone who came out to make these events such a wonderful experience.

In conclusion to support Matt Johnston’s continued mission check out  Also Matt Johnston’s Diving a Dream exhibit is a part of the History of Diving Museum’s permanent collection. Be sure to dive in and take a look!

Matt Johnston











Bottom Line Bookkeeping

Welcome New Member: The Bottom Line Bookkeeping Services!

Mitzi Priest can help you with all your bookkeeping needs, and in addition is excellent with Financials.

Bookkeeper job duties include working closely with our accounting team to create and also analyze financial reports; to ensure legal requirements compliance, to process accounts payable and receivable, manage invoices and lastly tax payments.

Almost all businesses need help in this department, unless they are experts on financials themselves!

Call Mitzi Today at 305-743-5523

Location: Mobile and Home Office

  1. The activity or occupation of keeping records of the financial affairs of a business.

Florida Keys Council of the Arts

Create Artistic Collaboration in the Classroom!

The Florida Keys Council of the Arts invites artists and teachers to apply for the Artists in Schools Grant with a JUNE 30th deadline.

The streamlined application is available online at:


Artists in Schools funds projects where collaboration between teaching artists and teachers bring innovative arts into the classroom

for grades preK-12 at all Monroe County schools . The Artists in Schools grant program encourages teachers of all subjects, and also artists

of all disciplines to design creative projects together to enhance the existing curriculum. Therefore Projects receiving funding in this cycle must

take place during the first/fall semester of the school year. Also Grants range up to $2,000.  As a result more than $149,000 has been awarded to date.


Artists in Schools projects are made possible with the help of; the sale of Florida State of the Arts license tags, the Florida Keys Council

of the Arts, The Women’s Club, the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and finally the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.


Questions and assistance in completing the application is always available by contacting the Florida Keys Council of the Arts

at 305-295-4369 or by e-mail

Image attached: Florida Keys All the Keys, All the Arts, All the Time Logo

All the arts, All the Keys, All the time

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