The Mission of the Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce is to help businesses grow and prosper by fostering a dynamic partnership between business, community, and government; and to encourage a healthy and secure environment where all can thrive.
The Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce is a volunteer organization of business, industrial and professional people working to improve business and promote the economics and welfare of the community. The main function of the chamber is to represent Harbor City/Harbor Gateway business and all local residents, at every level of government by supporting beneficial legislation and opposing unnecessary or detrimental legislation. As the community advocates at the city, county, state and federal levels, the chamber works through volunteer committees to improve business and consumer relations. Funded by membership investment dues, the chamber truly reflects the community spirit that is evident among Harbor City/Harbor Gateway businesses.
The Harbor City Chamber of Commerce was formed in the back room of Jacks Woods Plumbing in the 1920′s. By a handful of business men. The newly formed chamber had no office or phone to call their own. The Chamber saw many changes to Harbor City, the community was growing and new industries came to Harbor City seek their fortunes. In 1942 the Chamber was incorporated and was deemed a non profit corporation on November 17, 1948.
During the early 80′s the Chamber virtually ceased to exist. While some Chambers of Commerce had their own building, the Harbor City group didn’t even have its own phone. If someone called looking for the Chamber, they would have called Zacher’s Auto Recycling. The person answering the phone was Joe Zacher, Sr. A 75-year-old businessman who by his own admission had been “holding” the chamber together for the past four to five years. Thanks to Zachers’ efforts. The group acquired a new president,Roy Ferrin ( Ferrin’s Woodworking and Lumber Yard). Roy worked with Bay Harbor Hospital and found the chamber a home. Not only did the hospital donate space but also a part time receptionist, Niki Tenant, who later became the Executive Director. The Chamber roster grow form 45 members to 60 members in four months with the help of another hospital employee, Jackie Hass. Jackie was out selling memberships door to door to all the local businessman and women.
In the late 80′s the Chamber began to grow, they looked to their neighbors to the north commonly known as the L.A. Strip. The “Strip” was also growing and new industry was being developed, without an representation between the businesses, the City of Los Angeles and other agencies. The Chamber put its hand out to the “Strip”, now known as the Harbor Gateway. The Chamber become the ” Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce.” The office has moved several times and has gone through a great deal of growing and pains. The office was moved from the Hospital to Councilwoman Joan Flores field office on Carson Street. The office was a 450 sq. ft. of space shared by the Part time Executive Director and the Field Deputy. Some time after the election in which the Councilwoman was not reelected, the Chamber was homeless again. Due to the kindness of the incoming President Charlene Apel, the Chamber once again had a home. Charlene invited the Chamber into her office on 240th Street in Harbor City. Yet another move for the Chamber came about. Shortly after the elections Councilman Rudy Svorinich, Jr. offered the chamber a new beautiful office, a far cry from the back room at Jack Woods Plumbing.
The Chamber’s roster looks considerably different from the chamber membership of years ago. The current membership includes Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Shell Oil, Tosco, RR Donnelley, The Port of Los Angeles and a large list of small and large businesses.
The Chamber continues to work to improve the business climate in the Harbor City/Harbor Gateway Area by enhancing relationships with the City,State and federal officials and agencies and developing a true community image for our communities.