From the Berea Businessmen's Association
To the Berea Chamber of Commerce...
To the Berea Chamber of Commerce...
|The Berea Businessmen's Association, founded on January 28, 1887, was the first business association in Berea. Membership cost was $5.00, and the group's main objective was the promotion of the village.|
In March, 1939 The Businessmen's Association was dissolved and The Berea Chamber of Commerce was established. The New organization had over 137 members.
By the year 1942, the Chamber began to experience problems. Interest in the organization by local businessmen had waned and membership had fallen to 98 members.
By October, 1943 the president announced that there was $5.08 in the treasury. The organization managed to hang on until September of 1955, when a drastic reorganization campaign "Keep Berea Ahead" was implemented.
Temporary headquarters were established at 39 E. Bridge Street where nightly reorganization meetings were held. On September 23, the campaign kickoff breakfast was held. The members were told of the necessity to raise $12,000 and to hire a full-time professional manager. By October 6, the Chamber had grown to more than 244, over $14,000 was raised, and the interviewing process began.
The new Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on February 21,1956, and had moved to 25 1/2 Riverside Drive.
In January, 1960 the Chamber had developed "Committee of 25", a group of businessmen which developed the Master Plan for downtown modernization, "The Triangle of Tomorrow". The plan was submitted to the Chamber at the October 17, 1963 meeting.
By June 21, 1974 the ground breaking ceremonies for the major portion of the Urban Renewal Project was held with a crowd of over 300 in attendance. Construction was to take about 15 months.
The long list of programs and accomplishments of the Chamber were impressive. The Chamber developed its YES program to promote jobs for youth. During the summer of 1973, the program had gotten 200 odd jobs for Berea's young people.
However, by 1974, disenchantment with the Chamber of Commerce was evident. Certain merchants felt the Chamber was failing to do what it could for Berea. Discover Berea, a more progressive retail group, became a reality in July, 1976.
By May of 1976 the Chamber of Commerce was lacking spirit, life or enthusiasm. Consideration was given to dissolve the Chamber of Commerce and letting Discover Berea take over. Instead, it was decided to reorganize the Chamber by-laws.
The Chamber of Commerce and Discover Berea worked together, though as separate organizations. The Chamber began to grow stronger in membership and interest, and the Chambers purpose became one of advancing and developing the commercial, industrial, civic and general interest of the City of Berea.
By December of 1979 the Discover Berea's membership had become stagnant, interest waned and the organization collapsed due to lack of leadership. It was recommended that Discover Berea and the Chamber of Commerce merge to become the Discover Berea/Chamber of Commerce. The Discover Berea logo was copyrighted by the Chamber and on February 21, 1980 the two combined into one organization.
On March 1,1984 the Berea Chamber of Commerce moved to 2 Berea Commons. And in 1994 the Chamber was located at 11 Berea Commons, next to the Municipal Pool. On October 1, 2000 the Chamber office rediscovered visibility by moving to 173 Front St.
The Berea Chamber of Commerce is constantly at work to serve as the front door to the community.
The Chamber's principal purpose is to make Berea a better place to live and work. From its inception in March 1939, the Chamber of Commerce has been, and will continue to be, a vital influence in the business and civic affairs of the City of Berea.