History

Originally compiled by Ruth Preston, former Executive Director from the archives of the Claremont Daily Eagle, October 1964, and updated by the GCCC Marketing Committee

The Claremont Chamber of Commerce grew out of the need for business organizations in the city with interests other than mercantile. The Board of Trade which existed previously had a fair membership but with only those whose interests centered on mercantile growth of the city. The new organization was founded and merged with the existing Board of Trade under the Claremont Chamber of Commerce.

The newly formed group elected Hartley L. Brooks as president. It existed until 1921. It is unknown why it went defunct. Probably it was because of disagreements of how the Chamber supported just the mercantile.

In July of 1922 The Rotary Club met with local business people to reinstate the Chamber of Commerce. Romeo A. Quimby was chosen as the chairman of the committee. A tentative Constitution and By-laws were presented and adopted. This document provided for a board of 12 members, one half elected every September for a two-year term. A membership drive was started with a goal to retain 300 members at a cost of $15.00 per member.

Memorable events:

1923 – Members numbered 57, dues $2.00

1926 – Chamber became involved in town government and community betterment.

1926 – The Chamber took a positive stand in support of the construction of the airport.

Early thirties – The Chamber printed its own “script” money to keep money from leaving Claremont.

Early thirties – The Chamber hosted a banquet for a Polish Count and Countess.

1932 – 150 officials of Sigma Chi Fraternity came to visit the birthplace of the founder, Dudley Chase, who lived on Chestnut Street.

1944 – The Twin State Telescope was printed in the Eagle with local information. Some 613 copies were mailed to those serving their country. At the time of the war’s end some 1800 Claremont individuals were receiving these articles overseas and in the United States. Over 600,000 were mailed.

1946 – The Chamber was successful in partial curtailment of a scheduled utility rate increase.

1950 – The Chamber appeared in opposition to a sales tax and in favor of parking meters.

1950 – Raymond Genereux was hired as the first paid secretary of the Chamber.

1950 – The Chamber opened its first office in the Odd Fellows building.

1950’s – The Chamber erected welcome signs at entrances to the city.

1950’s – A flag display for the holidays was sponsored by the Chamber.

1953 – The Chamber hired its first director, J. Dickert Donovan.

1954 – The Chamber with the support of Joy Manufacturing Company lengthened the airport runways for transport use.

1955 – The Chamber sponsored a city-wide fire inspection of businesses.

1955 – The Chamber negotiated with local labor and management to avert a strike at the shoe factory.

1960 – A new brochure of Claremont, sponsored by the Chamber, titled “Claremont Welcomes You,” was published.  It later became an invaluable information book for the Welcome Wagon Hostess.

1963 – The Directorate and the mercantile committee voted a “hands-off” policy on store hours, which had resulted in rifts in the past.

1964 – There were 359 Chamber members, an all-time high.

1995 – The Chamber presented its first high school scholarship. Matthew St. Pierre was the recipient of the $500.00 scholarship.

1995 – The first of five “First Night” events was held in Claremont on New Year’s Eve.  The annual event lasted from 1995 to 1999.

1995 – Past presidents of the Chamber of Commerce still living in the city were honored at a dinner in recognition of their years of tenure. Each past president spoke on his term as officer holder, and interwoven in their remarks was recognition of the sameness of the problems that they had faced in the past and awareness of the progress that the Chamber had made through the years.

2004 – The Purchasing Alliance of NH was formed to provide affordable health insurance to small businesses.

2008 – First phase of Banner Project complete – downtown banners

2008 – Community Leaders Roundtable holds it first meeting

2009 – Revised Mission and tagline developed

2009 – Sullivan County Youing Professionals group formed

2009 – The Chamber adds Facebook and Twitter to it’s on-line presence

2010 – First Regional Map produced

2010 – 2 yr Strategic Plan developed – first round of benchmarks completed in 1 yr

2010 – First Auction Gala – Lights, Camera, Auction! held at the Common Man in Claremont

2011 – New Logo developed for the Chamber to reflect the entire region we serve

2011 – First President’s Awards

2011 – First Annual Meeting Breakfast

2011 – Launch of our Lunch N Learn series

2011 – Membership Committee develops the new TIP membership dues program

2011 – The Chamber’s Claremont page appears in Kearsarge Shopper

2013 – New Executive Director Melissa Richmond signs on with the Chamber

2013 – Kim Vacca welcomed as the new President of the Board of Directors

2013 – Website reboot launched