Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce
In 1921, the work of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce began as reported in local newspaper articles. For the first nine years under the leadership of Paul Holman, Sr., the Chamber was involved in numerous projects. It was during this time that the Chamber played a major role in planning for the T. J. Samson Community Hospital which now makes Glasgow and Barren County known as a regional medical center.
The Chamber offered service on committees such as industrial development, good roads, retail, local government, agriculture, education, tourism, membership, and publicity. As early as 1950, the Chamber produced a brochure to attract industry to the community.
The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on April 23, 1945. At that time, the office was located in the Citizens National Bank Building and according to the By-Laws, the Board of Directors was made up of not less than five and not more than forty members. On December 15, 1971, the name was officially changed to the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
The Glasgow Junior Chamber of Commerce or Glasgow Jaycees were created in the late 40’s. For years, this group of young men, ages 21-35, was responsible for many events in the community some of which were the Annual Christmas Parade, style shows, county fair, get out and vote campaigns, and contests in city and county schools.
Many of Glasgow-Barren County’s organizations had their beginnings under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce and once established, broke away to stand alone; organizations such as the Industrial Development Economic Authority of Glasgow and Barren County, the Glasgow Highland Games, Global Fest, Renaissance Main Street, Glasgow-Barren County Tourist & Convention Commission, and the Glasgow-Barren County Community Foundation, to name a few. It is obvious that the Chamber is a partner with many groups and individuals seeking to make Glasgow and Barren County a better place.
Since the late 20th century, leadership of the Chamber consists of a president, president-elect, vice president, secretary, treasurer, immediate past president and one member-at-large, appointed by the president. Each of the seven named serve as voting members of the Executive Committee. Non-voting members serving on the Executive Committee are the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and its legal counsel.
As of September 2009, the Board of Directors of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce is made up of eighteen members elected by the membership to serve a three-year term. Two Board members at-large are appointed by the current President to serve one year. Six new Board members are elected annually. The Chamber currently employs an Executive Vice President who oversees its day-to-day operations, conducts the business of the Chamber, recruits new members, and represents the Chamber at community events.
The organization of the Chamber includes the following. It is interesting to note that the committee names have not changed much over the years, but the focus of each committee does change.
- Business Development Division: Agribusiness Committee, Small Business Development Committee, Health Care Committee, Barren County Ag Fest Committee, Industrial Council and Business Expo Committee
- Community Development Division: Arts Committee, Education Committee and Infrastructure Committee
- Organizational Development Division: Ambassadors Club and Member Services Committee
- Special Events Division: Annual Meeting Committee, Christmas Parade Committee, Golf Tournament Committee, Industry Appreciation Week Committee, T.J. Samson Resident’s Reception and Taste of Barren County Committee
Volunteers continue to play a major role in the success of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce just as they did when the Chamber’s work first began. In 1979, under the leadership of Ledean Hamilton, the Ambassadors Club was created. Ambassadors represent the friendly face of the Chamber at ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, Business After Hours events, quarterly breakfasts, and golf tournaments. They are always present at Chamber-sponsored events to assist in any way they can. Ambassadors are easily recognized by their nametags.
An early location of the Chamber was in the Citizens National Bank Building on the corner of East Washington and South Green Streets. The first stand-alone location of the Chamber of Commerce office was a small building that was located next to the Spotswood Hotel on the west side of the public square. Later, the office moved to a storefront on the south side of West Main Street near Liberty Street. From there, the Chamber leased a building from the Board of the Mary Wood Weldon Public Library on the corner of Liberty and West Main Streets. In 1996, the Chamber took advantage of an opportunity to occupy the New Farmers National Bank building in downtown Glasgow at 118 East Public Square. The Chamber office took occupancy of the upstairs while the first floor was being renovated for use by the Chamber. Upon completion of the renovation, the Chamber office moved to the first floor in February 2000.
Over the years, those hired to manage the office and operations of the Chamber of Commerce include Les Moran, Ted Winbigler, Ted Simmons, Bernard Williams, Stephen Biggers, H. B. (Bill) Dearman, Jr. and Ernest L. Myers, III.
The Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce is a fast-moving fluid operation that affects all aspects of the community as its mission states, “Working Together, Building A Better Community.”