The mission of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce is to develop and provide leadership that improves the business climate, education, and the quality of life for all of Madison County.
The Chamber of Commerce is a concept found only where private initiative and free enterprise exist.
The Chamber of Commerce, as a wholly volunteer institution in the United States, is eight years older than the Declaration of Independence. The New York State Chamber of Commerce, first in America, was organized in 1768 and five years later, the first local chamber was formed in Charleston, South Carolina.
In these 200+ years, the Chamber has grown from a single purpose Federation of Traders who organized to promote trade and cut costs by cooperation in certain operations, to a broad community development association which believes that when men and women of high purpose work unselfishly on problems which they have in common, progress will result.
A group of businessmen, F. H. Parker, A. T. Graham, and Tip Ray, gathered in Canton, Mississippi, on Friday night, October 29 to organize and to draw up the Articles of Incorporation for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. This humble start was then filed with Jes W. Power, Secretary of State, on January 31, 1921 for a recording fee of $10.
The August, 1921 Madison County Chamber News Bulletin stated “Mr. Farmer, if you have anything in the way of seed, implements, livestock, produce, etc., that you want to dispose of, notify the Chamber of Commerce at once. Chances are that sooner of later we will able to help you. This is the season for advertisement of such things as clover seed, turnip seed, cats, etc. and if you have any of these or any thing else for sale, let us know at once.”
My, how the business world has changed in Madison County! The one constant is that the Madison County Chamber is able to help you. From beginnings of only 155 members, some noted in the News Bulletin, “are delinquent in paying membership fees and must pay their dues at once”, we now focus on the membership investment that businesses make to advance economic prosperity in Madison County.
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce has moved from planning the annual Christmas parades and recognizing businesses for beautification awards to economic symposiums, featuring regional speakers and providing members with information on the world of importing and exporting. Networking and connecting members to other members for goods and services, will always be a priority.
It has been generally accepted that the role of the modern Chamber is to:
- Promote, with its maximum resources, the development of new and expanded payrolls;
- Work for a continuous upgrading of the “product,” which is the community which it serves;
- Create a proper legislative climate in which business can operate at a profit and provide maximum employment; and
- Identify public issues but stay clear of purely partisan political issues.
While the Madison County Chamber cannot be everything to everyone, we strive to keep members informed, educated, and connected…same as in 1921!