Greensburg Chamber of Commerce turns 115

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Oct. 20—GREENSBURG — Wednesday, Mayor Josh Marsh, Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Past President Jason Barbieri and Chamber Director Dawn Lowe welcomed guests and business leaders to a ceremony on the Courthouse Square held to celebrate the local Chamber of Commerce turning 115 years old.

"It is such an honor to be here, and to know that we are still here," Lowe said. "To know that you are a business that started in the early 1900s and we're still here, continuing to grow and evolve — I think that shows we've had great leadership over the years."

Lowe continued, complimenting past and present Board members for being focused and driven, and the Chamber staff for supporting ideas and initiatives through strategic planning.

"This is a testament to everyone who's been a part of the Chamber, and the reason we are still here today," she said.

Decatur County Commissioner Mark Koors also spoke favorably of the Chamber.

"It keeps businesses in tune with each other and what trends are happening. The Chamber was very valuable during COVID, to have the all the business owners on a conference call giving their opinions of when we should close up, go red. The Chamber is essential to how the county runs, and I think Dawn is an excellent addition to the Chamber. I know she'll do great things."

Many don't realize how important a Chamber of Commerce can be to a community, and how long the organization has fostered businesses.

According to Wikipedia, the first Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1599 in Marseille, France. Another official Chamber of Commerce followed 65 years later, probably in Bruges, then part of the Spanish Netherlands.

The world's oldest English-speaking Chamber of Commerce and oldest Chamber of Commerce in North America is the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1750.

As a non-governmental institution, a Chamber of Commerce has no direct role in the writing and passage of laws and regulations that affect businesses. It can, however, lobby in an attempt to get laws passed that are favorable to businesses.

City Chambers of Commerce have a long history in the US. The Charleston Chamber of Commerce is one of the oldest, dating back to colonial 1773. That same year, Boston's Chamber of Commerce organized the famous "Boston Tea Party."

In 2005, there were 2,800 Chambers of Commerce in the United States and 102 Chambers representing U.S. businesses overseas.

According to the Association for Chamber of Commerce Executives, there are approximately 3,000 Chambers of Commerce with at least one staff person and thousands more established as strictly volunteer entities.

The Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce has 316 members.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email

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