Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2005

Chamber to celebrate anniversary

January 20, 2005

An organization composed of local business leaders dedicated to the long-term economic development of Basehor and one that can be credited with putting Basehor back on the map, literally, will celebrate its 20-year anniversary later this month.

What began with a telephone inquiry in 1984 has transformed into the Basehor Chamber of Commerce, a group that will ring in its platinum anniversary during a celebration Thursday, Jan. 27 in the community room at Community National Bank in Basehor. Past Chamber of Commerce officers, board members and founders are invited to attend as well as present Chamber members.

According to Susan Guy, a long-time Chamber of Commerce member and one of several founders, the Chamber began when a local chiropractor called Guy, Basehor City Clerk at the time, asking if the city had a business association of any kind. As Guy said, the rest is history.

A letter was sent out to local businesses and an organizational meeting took place in August 1984. The first Chamber of Commerce membership roster listed 19 members. Today, the organization includes more than 80 members, all of whom work toward promoting the city's economic viability and attempt to embody the Chamber slogan "Opening the Door to Progress."

The Basehor Chamber of Commerce was registered with the state Jan. 25, 1985.

Since then, the group has been quite busy. Some accomplishments the group boasts include:

  • Organizing an effort behind the placement of two "Welcome to Basehor" signs located at 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24/40 and near 142nd Street and Parallel Road.
  • Publication of a brochure advertising the Basehor community, school district, area growth and economic opportunities. Also published the city's first business directory.
  • Continued representation on the Leavenworth Area Development board of directors.
  • Coordinated and hosted most forums for candidates seeking Basehor city or school district public office.
  • Initiated, in conjunction with the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce, the southern Leavenworth County leadership development program in 1990, which has graduated more than 220 students thus far.

The group is also responsible for putting Basehor back on the state of Kansas' map. In 1985, the Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to state officials complaining that the city wasn't listed on an inset of the area. Problem solved. A year later, at the urging of the Chamber of Commerce, state officials included the city on the map.

Lynn McClure, executive director of Leavenworth Area Development, a group that works in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, said the Basehor organization is a valuable commodity to the community in general and the business climate in particular.

"Not only is that role important now, it will be increasingly important as the community grows," McClure said. "It's drastically important to have a strong Chamber of Commerce in place to support those businesses."

McClure cited an example of the Basehor Chamber's proactive approach to supporting not just the city's business climate, but the county's as well. He said the Basehor organization "stepped up" last year to find extra funding to make possible an advertisement that ran in a magazine promoting Leavenworth County and local communities.

"They know the merit of something like that and they weren't willing to let it die because a few dollars were standing in the way," McClure said. "They stepped up and said 'you know what, we'll find it.'"

Debbie Breuer, Chamber of Commerce president, said the group will continue throughout its next 20 years with the same goal it's had in mind for the past 20.

"Making Basehor a place people want to live and spend their money," Breuer said. "That's just our sole mission."

Next week's anniversary celebration will be catered by Keen Cuisine and the cost is $9 per person.

The evening will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner will take place at 6:30 p.m. Past and present Chamber officials are invited to participate. Those interested should call the Chamber of Commerce at (913) 724-9000 or Susan Guy at (913) 724-2824 by Friday, Jan. 21 to make reservations.

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