Chamber of commerce celebrates 80th anniversary


Ky McCombe

Executive Director of the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Council Kellie Carper stands outside the office on Main Street.

Dauntae Green, Managing Editor

The Whitewater community will be kick-starting this year off by celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1942, the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce consists of members of organizations in the community that work to support the businesses and organizations in the community by making sure they have all the resources needed to thrive, promoting their services and participating in their events. 

The chamber’s goals are to have an everlasting impact on the community, keeping the cooperation among each other strong and making sure that the businesses stay successful.

“The chamber’s primary goal is to support their business members in any way we possibly can. One of our primary objectives that we have established over the last year or so is to foster a sense of place in Whitewater to help solidify Whitewater’s identity. And to create some community driven efforts to drive connection to Whitewater,” said Executive Director of Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce Kellie Carper. 

Throughout the 80 years of the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce, there have been challenges that came from COVID-19, the community and the legacy. But they have continued to  persevere through those challenges to help the community, the businesses and organizations.

“When we look at legacy organizations, like chambers of commerce, especially within the last five years, there’s been really dynamic changes to how they operate, moving forward, and seeking ways to remain relevant. The networking piece was the biggest part of it because we didn’t have as many outlets for media or or much more than for how you grow your business. So that networking piece was probably the biggest piece of a chamber of commerce. But now, when you fast forward 80 years, in my opinion what keeps the chamber relevant is. Especially for some of the smaller businesses that exist in a community that have that backup. Where do you find support if you’re having a bad day or you have a situation that you don’t know how to deal with? Google is not going to be that reference for you. But if you’re a member of an organization, like a chamber, then you have not only the staff who work for an organization,” said Board of Directors President Lisa Dawsey Smith.

The chamber has plans to celebrate their 80th anniversary with the community through hot chocolate, dinners, and more events throughout the year.

“Our official anniversary is March of this year, but we are celebrating the entire year. We’ll actually have an event, a dinner in April that would be technically after our official birthday as it were. Our annual dinner is typically held in April, so we’ll be celebrating really All year we’re kicking things off on January 31st with the conversation and Coco events. So that we can invite the community in to chat with us, and maybe share some of their experiences with the chamber. Because we are trying to collect information about the chamber over the years photos and experiences,” said Carper.

Be ready to have a special dinner in April, continue serving the community and work amongst each other as one. The Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce will continue serving the community, supporting organizations and businesses. And watch out for future information about events in the community posted on their website