Sumter County Chamber of Commerce Hits Century Mark

The Sumter County Chamber of Commerce marks its 100th year in 2020, and although plans for a celebratory gala have been shelved for the time being due to COVID-19, there is still reason to celebrate.

Carolyn Wright, President of the Sumter County Chamber, says the 100th anniversary gala will be held at a later date, yet there is still reason to mark the Chamber’s century of success now.

“It’s still an exciting time in the Chamber of Commerce,” Wright said.  “As we have reviewed the events of the past 100 year, it has become even more apparent that the Chamber has been and is a driving force in the local economy.  We are reminded of stories from the earlier days when the mobile home industry first came to Sumter County, providing hundreds and hundreds of jobs.  We are reminded of the courage and acumen of young entrepreneurs like Larry Comer who were willing to investment in Sumter County to build companies that are still thriving here today.”

The Americus - Sumter County Chamber opened its doors on August 15, 1920, when a group of like-minded businesspeople got together — to today’s Chamber with international connections, the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce membership is currently 345 businesses, non-pro-fits, and individuals.  “Smaller than long ago, however membership is growing this year even with the COVID-19 challenge for businesses”, said Wright.  “The Chamber is working hard to serve all the businesses of Sumter County during this time of crisis.”  The Chamber’s mission is to provide opportunities and support for the growth and prosperity of local business and industry.  Through the Agriculture, Business Development, Education, Leadership, and Governmental Affairs Divisions, the Chamber works to strengthen and build upon the quality of life for the business community and citizens. 

Tapping leadership from various segments of the local scene — business, education, the judiciary, health care and culture, today’s Chamber presents the diversity of the population it represents.  Also working in tandem with other groups such as tourism, government, and private investors, today’s Chamber of Commerce realizes its strength in numbers.  Sometimes it really does take a village to achieve a goal.   

Preserving its long history of official ribbon cuttings and after-hour gatherings, today’s Chamber of Commerce has a strong influence on leadership from the local and state levels all the way to Washington, D.C. Partnerships have been forged and maintained in the continuing effort to promote new business while also supporting existing business.

“I believe we should celebrate the Chamber of Commerce every day, especially this year,” said Wright, President.  “The Chamber of Commerce should be the come-to place for those who are in business or are considering starting a business in Sumter County.  We award scholarships for local youth as an investment in our future, and we offer member benefits through partnerships among other members.  We provide everything for our members to be successful — from current and useful data to efforts to improve the local quality of life order to attract even more business.  If there is an exemplary success story, it is that of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 100 years of success!”

Wright added plans for the 100th Anniversary Gala will continue, and in the meantime, look for more information on how the Chamber reached 100 and the stories told by former leadership.  It is all part of the 100th anniversary in 2020.  And everyone needs a reason to celebrate now!