Leadership & History
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is focused on building a sustainable organization with a keen focus on our members, advocating at every level for those issues that change and protect the way we do business and lead on efforts to start new business, expanding those already here and attracting those who can contribute to our shared vision to grow smarter.
All while providing a warm welcome to those who visit the Sunshine City every day!
Since the group’s origination, the Chamber and its Board of Governors has been one of the most influential organizations of St. Petersburg’s economic growth and development.
In addition to promoting the city continuously and countrywide, the Chamber has successfully advocated municipal improvements and organized local civic clubs and social groups for visiting vacationers for over a century.
The city of St. Petersburg is formed. “Marketed from the start as a destination to improve health, St. Petersburg boosters took care to preserve the natural and recreational amenities of the city including the waterfront park system.”
The Board of Trade is created.
William Alexander Holshouser, one of the twelve original founders of the St. Petersburg Board of Trade, serves as its first president.
He was an enthusiastic advocate of promoting patent medicines and advertising the benefits of living in his beloved Tampa Bay town. The gist of his message was that the Pinellas Peninsula was indeed exactly what Dr. Van Bibber, a late nineteenth-century physician, had claimed it to be: “the healthiest place in the country.” His message was spread around the country through postcards and leaflets that his own customers mailed to friends up North. He also printed thousands of booklets and came up with clever schemes to further publicize his beloved city.
The Board of Trade formally changes its name to St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.
1920s - 1945
The Sunshine City’s population increases from 14,237 in the 1920s to more than 100,000 in 1945, partially due to the continuous nation-wide promotion of the city’s charming features.
In the 1920s, it was Holster’s board of trade that would take a leap of faith and hire John Lodwick, the ambitious Ohio sportswriter, as the first public relations person for any American city. He is credited with generating millions of dollars of free publicity for St. Petersburg in magazines, newspapers and films.
"To relate the activities of the Chamber since 1920 would be like repeating the history of the city." - Karl Grismer, author of The Story of St. Petersburg (1948)
"St. Petersburg was built on printer’s ink.” - Former chamber manager, William Davenport Sr.
Corporate Interiors Inc.
Roy James Jr.
James Insurance Solutions
Dr. Shameka Jones
St. Pete Hospitality Group
Fletcher Fischer Pollack P.L.
Madeline McCarthy Anderson
Peninsular Mechanical Contractors Inc.
The Don Cesar
Valerie Powell Stafford
HCA Florida Northside Hospital
Tampa Bay Times
Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
I Love the Burg