The Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 70th year. What is now a 400-plus member organization began on March 29, 1949 with a group of about 60 local merchants who called themselves the Greater Pacific Palisades Association. Their goal was to develop a series of events that would attract attention to businesses in the Palisades. Ray Covey was spokesperson at that first meeting.
Soon the association’s Board of directors was set: Arthur Loomis, Santa Monica Land and Water, was elected president; J. U. Chaffin, manager of the Bay Theater, as his vice-president; Phyllis Genovese, who later became president in 1974-1975, owner of the Palisades Letter Shop, as treasurer. Colvey, chairman of the retail sales committee, and secretary Jewel Ferber, rounded out the five-member board.
According to Genovese, “When I started the Palisades Letter Shop, I doubt there were 15 businesses in town. By 1949, Pacific Palisades was coming into its own. There was Palisades Jewelers, the Patio Shop, Marie’s Beauty Salon, Laird’s Portrait Studio, Molly McPherson’s Clothing for Mothers and Daughters, and the busiest place in town, Dilly’s Ice Cream Shop.”
With such a growing and diverse group of merchants, the Greater Pacific Palisades Association was faced with an enormous job. The group quickly set to work promoting the business community by holding a Draw Bugs Bunny Contest on April 9, 1949. the scene was set in the Bay Theater, where a movie studio artist presented an image of Bugs Bunny as seen through the eyes of a professional cartoonist. Children were invited to draw their version of the animated character, and the top 10 winners were awarded prizes the following week, donated by local merchants. The contest was a success, especially for 11 year old Bill Fulton who took home the first prize, a shiny new Schwinn bicycle.
On October 7, 1949, the Palisadian reported the official news: by formal Resolution, the GPPA and officers would he converted into a Chamber of Commerce.
With the holiday season fast approaching, the Chamber had a packed agenda. By November 15, 1949, they had a game plan that included a Yuletide affair to delight Palisadian families. On the afternoon and evening of Friday, December 2, 1949, the Chamber presented a community-wide square dance in the parking lot at Palisades Patio, and hosted a film showing at the Bay Theater. Plus, the organization offered two grand prizes-complete food baskets for a full Christmas dinner-and awarded 40 hams and turkeys to those lucky participants shopping at local shops.
The holiday event was a success, and the Chamber’s Holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! Has become a Palisades tradition, with children young and old waiting for Santa to appear.
Over the past 6 decades many other Chamber events have become time-honored traditions such as the Village Fair; Community Expo & Classic Auto Display; Polo Tournament, Sidewalk Sale, General Membership Meetings, Teen Contest, Mixers and the selection of the town’s honorary mayor. All 31 honorary mayors have been wonderful ambassadors.
The following are years in which some of our proud Chamber members established their longtime association with the Palisades:
Norris Hardware, 1925
American Legion Post 283 and the Palisadian-Post, 1928
First Federal Bank of California, 1929
Palisades Barber Shop, 1940
Jordan Appliances and Palisades Letter Shop, 1947
Denton Jewelers, 1948
Bay Pharmacy, 1949
Emerson LaMay Cleaners, 1950
Beckwith Insurance Agency, 1951
Post Printing, 1952
Johnson, Harband, Foster & Darling, CPA’s. 1953
Harrington’s Camera Corner and Luxe Summit Hotel Bel-Air, 1958
Bank Of America. 1962
May the next year be one of peace, high ideals and constructive work in keeping a beautiful community. Be proud of “Our Town.”