Biz Buzz: A Small Chamber with Big Ideas

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cdm chamberMany people think that Corona del Mar is a city, separate and apart from Newport Beach.

It actually is a business improvement district (BID) which is a formation of businesses within specific areas inside the city of Newport Beach.

And even though Corona del Mar is not a separate city, it does have its own Chamber of Commerce.

Formed in 1957, the chamber is not like the Newport Beach chamber, which is larger and more prominent, but this chamber is going for quality, not quantity. It is an extension of local businesses, much like a family.

Due to their close proximity to residential homes, Corona del Mar citizens are aware and respectful of boundaries, and they each live harmoniously together. Many chamber members live in the community, much like small town life was decades ago.

“We are like a large family,” shared Linda Leonard, president of the chamber since 2003, “and many members have been here for decades.”

Rather than having a membership of many strangers, this chamber usually hovers around 200 members. Kevin Priestley of Priestly Chiropractic is one of them.

“I’ve been a member since 1980 and lived in Corona del Mar since 1985,” Priestly told me. “At the chamber we get to know everyone in town, from the political leaders to the other business owners. We watch over and take care of each other.”

When I asked Priestly why the longevity he responded, “Many think that you can breeze into a chamber and get business right away, but it takes time.”

Bobbi Cox is another long time member (almost 30 years). A Laguna Beach realtor, she does a lot of business in Newport Beach. She is not a member of any other chamber. When asked why she belongs to the CdM chamber, her response was very specific:0 “This is one of the few chambers that has a unique combination of commercial businesses as well as residential owners. Few chambers have that degree of intimacy.”

This is not the first time that there has been two internal groups within the city. Almost 100 years ago there was a separate Newport Beach chamber as well as one for Balboa. The Newport Beach chamber is one of the oldest in Orange County and was formed in 1907, just one year after city incorporation. A few years later, the Balboa group splintered off in an effort to create their own identity. They functioned side by side from 1919 until 1927.

The Corona del Mar chamber is an ideal organization to join for businesses within CdM are or want to feel like part of an extended community. For membership information or prices contact them at (949) 673-4050 or visit



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