Many people associate the chamber of commerce with ribbon-cutting events for new businesses, but that is just a small part of what the group does.
Be that as it may, Norwalk Area Huron County Chamber of Commerce officials are looking forward to 2008 as "a ribbon-cutting for our future."
The local business advocacy organization turns 100 next year and, according to executive director Melissa James, will be celebrating the event throughout the year.
James gave a brief outline of the anniversary plans this morning at a breakfast for the chamber's gold sponsors.
She noted the program committee has been working on centennial celebration plans since June. The theme for the event will be "Honoring our history, dedicated to our future."
"I think a 100th anniversary is a really nice mark for this business community," James said. "What we're really doing is thinking about next year as a ribbon-cutting for our future."
Among events in the works are a past presidents breakfast or luncheon and a larger event for the chamber's 460 members.
This evening from 5 to 6:30 the chamber will be hosting a reception to celebrate the opening of its new Professional Resource Center. Made possible through a "substantial donation" from the Norwalk Lions Club, as well as from other members, the resource center will offer business clothing such as suits, jackets and ties, on a referral basis for people who are transitioning from blue collar to white collar jobs and don't have the resources available to put together a new wardrobe. Donations of clothing are being accepted at the chamber office. A silent auction for gift baskets will be held at tonight's event with the proceeds going to the program.
James listed for gold sponsors some of the other programs the chamber has undertaken, including:
The annual Home & Business Show, now in its seventh year.
The purchase of advertising on the doors of a car at Summit Motor Sports Racing Park during the past year's season.
Fair Deal Fair Booth, at which members who could not afford to purchase and/or man a full-time booth at the Huron County Fair could set up shop in four-hour shifts. James said the size of the booth was doubled last year and it was still full.
Luncheons and other events featuring representatives of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, providing information for chamber members on how to save money on their insurance.
The hosting of state representatives to give members updates on legislation that will impact them.
James also reported on the chamber switching from a printed newsletter to an electronic one in recent months, which has provided significant savings and increase response.
The chamber will be hosting its annual Christmas party Dec. 13 at Eagle Creek Golf Course.