Chamber celebrating 60 years

Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 60th anniversary

In 1931, a group of businessmen and community-minded citizens formed the Armstrong Spallumcheen Board of Trade.

Under the first elected secretary, John Fredrick Harrison, the organization’s purpose was to encourage growth and prosperity in the community.

In 1961, the board submitted an application to become a chamber of commerce. This was granted and since then Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce has been there to meet the needs of local businesses, and has been an integral part of growth in this community.

Fast forward to 2011, and the chamber is 200-plus members strong, with the highest rate of business participation per number of business licenses within the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. A pretty impressive statistic for a community of less than 10,000.

Today, the mandate of the Armstrong chamber is to:

Encourage growth and prosperity of the community by promoting tourism.

Encourage growth and prosperity of businesses through marketing, support and promotions such as ‘shop local.’

Encourage community growth by building a stable and inviting environment for business and community members alike.

Our goal of economic and social wellbeing ensures our rural community is a great place to live, work and visit – for seniors, young families and empty nesters.

On a weekly basis, we provide information to those looking to relocate their business or their family to our community, and we expect our community to continue to grow and thrive.

What does the future look like for the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce? Bright – with retention of established business, succession plans for businesses looking to retire, and  growth through new businesses, the Armstrong chamber will continue to grow.

These goals – retention and growth – will not come easily. They will require hard work, a continuation of established programs and a willingness to change as our businesses change.

I was recently at a conference, and for the first time in a long time, the message given to chamber executives was not that we need to follow the lead of larger chambers in terms of programs and services, but rather that we must each find our own way and create our own niche.

The key is to recognize what your community wants, not what everyone else is doing.

Since 1951, the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce has been doing exactly that, and the result is that this year, we are celebrating 60 years in the community.

We plan to continue to be lead by our community, and we challenge our members to do the same.

Whatever it is you do, make it your goal to be the best at it, and we’ll see you at our 75th anniversary in 2026!

The Armstrong chamber is hosting a 60th anniversary celebration at the chamber office, Wednesday, Nov. 2m   7-9 p.m.

Patti Noonan is the executive director of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce.