Greater St. Charles County Chamber marks long history of support
In 1939, when nine local businessmen decided it was time to reactivate the then-dormant St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, the population of the county was about 25,000. By 2012, when the St. Charles and St. Peters chambers merged, the area’s population had mushroomed to more than 370,000.
That explosive growth rate has been a constant in the county for decades, making it one of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. And, although its organizational structure and physical location have changed several times since 1939, the chamber’s purpose has remained constant as well.
Now known as the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce, the organization is about people – the business owners and citizens of St. Charles County.
“We advocate for our business community by developing opportunities and partnerships that strengthen the economic prosperity and sustainability of our region,” reads the chamber’s formal mission statement adopted earlier this year. But in the process the chamber also supports and invigorates the community.
Throughout its 75-year history, the chamber has played a significant role in several key development projects, including one in 1946, when its members helped to revive the St. Charles County Fair, a popular event which continues to attract thousands of visitors to Wentzville every summer. More recently, the chamber drove the campaign to build the St. Charles Convention Center, now a hub for economic and social activity in the area. But the chamber’s work hasn’t been limited to supporting area business or showing residents a good time.
Its members also have reached out to the community in times of need – and sometimes extends its reach well past its borders. After the Great Flood of 1993 and the 2011 tornado in Joplin, the chamber held disaster relief drives which provided vital assistance to victims.
In 2009, it was named Missouri’s Chamber of the Year.
Today, the chamber’s activities are overseen by an all-volunteer 17-member Board of Directors. The board includes the mayors of St. Charles and St. Peters, a representative of St. Charles County, and the chairperson of the Young Professionals of St. Charles, along with other business leaders. Its current membership of 787 makes it the second largest chamber in the St. Louis region.
A full-time staff of five conducts its day-to-day operations and includes President/CEO Scott Tate, who has held the position since 2004; Vice President of Member Relations and Retention Terry McCrum; Vice President of Marketing and Communications Wendy Rackovan; Vice President of Member Services Lori Tainter; and Director of Sales Becky Tipton.
The organization’s current headquarters is located at 2201 First Capitol Drive in St. Charles.
Every month, the chamber holds networking and educational events for its members and guests. It also sponsors special events which benefit the community, including Paint the Town Gold (a fall welcome event for students at Lindenwood University); the annual Sip & Savor Taste Event held at 370 Lakeside Park; Shopping with the Saints in conjunction with the cities of St. Charles and St. Peters; and Santa’s North Pole Dash, a December 5K run through the streets of Historic St. Charles.
Information about the chamber and its sponsored events can be found on the chamber website, gstccc.com.
For three-quarters of a century, the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce has been a vital part of life in the county, and its members say it’s looking forward to 75 more years of service.