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President's Report

President's Report - November 2023

Joe Catrambone, Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO

Pack Your Patience...
Season is Almost Here


We are entering our second month of fiscal year 23/24 and preparing for the beginning of another “Season”. I can’t help thinking back to 1989, my first “Season” in Martin County. I relocated from Titusville, Fl in August 1989 to what I believed to be a quiet and serene area of our beautiful state. I was familiar with tourists and traffic congestion in Titusville due to the hundreds of thousands of visitors we received visiting Kennedy Space Center, especially while a rocket or Space Shuttle was sitting on a pad preparing for a launch. In essence, we had no “season”, it was all year. So, as I enjoyed my short 10-15 minute drive from Martin Downs in Palm City every day from August to October, I noticed traffic increasing. My 10-15 minute drive became 20-30 minutes. I also noticed the boarded-up homes in Martin Downs were becoming occupied. That’s when I learned to everyone’s dismay; the dreaded “snowbirds” were back in town!

Fast forward to 2023, we still have a “season” but in retrospect nothing like the influx we had in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. I believe the reason so many of the “snowbirds” are now residents is also the reason our population has increased over those years. I often wonder if they are as discontented as many residents were back then??

In any event, they’re here and we should welcome them. Try to remember unless you were born here, you too may have been a snowbird.

I’d like to share a statistic; from 1980 – 1990 we doubled our population from 50 thousand to 100 thousand residents.* From then we’ve grown less than 3% a year. Not unbridled growth, as many claim it to be.


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