Powerpoint Video by the ACCTC Digital Media Class contains more photos and information below…
1932 – A small group of businessmen gathered together to start a Clinton Businessmen’s Association and called it the Clinton Chamber. Records show that the name was registered with the state the next year.
The first president was R. C. “Dudley” Hoskins, owner of Hoskins Drug Stores. In addition to Hoskins, charter members of the board of directors were Thomas L. Seeber, Hubert F. Rutherford, D. R. Bonner, Carl S. Kincaid, J. M. Burkhart, Dr. James S. Hall, W. B. Carden and Archie D. Crenshaw. Rutherford was appointed treasurer and Carden was appointed secretary.
R. C. Hoskins, Left
1934 – Thomas L. Seeber, Peak & Seeber Automobile Dealership, became the second president of the Chamber and continued in the role until 1936. Issues facing the Chamber:
- Securing funds and supporting the construction of the new school for the Colored (African-Americans)
- Recruiting a laundry.
- Prohibiting outdoor toilets in town.
- Determining the feasibility of establishing a local hospital (Oak Ridge did not exist)
- Developing plans for an airport.
1953 – On April 25, 1953 the order of business was proposed road signs at the Clinton City Limits. The membership at this time was around 54.
1956 – Clinton was one of the first communities in the south to see its high school go through the process of desegregation. The Chamber took a strong position in support of the integration issue in the face of demonstrations, acts of vandalism and threats against business owners who were Chamber members.
1967 – In January 1967, the Chamber had 105 members.
1970- Ms. Hazel Carden became the first female president of the Chamber, and in 1971 she proposed to amend the name to the “Greater Clinton Chamber of Commerce.”
1979 – The first coffee was held on September 18th at the Clinton Community Center and was described this way, “The social is an experiment designed to bring people of the community together informally, and there will be no program for the hour, or whatever time those attending wish to stay.” Coffees were held on the third Thursday of the month.
1982 – membership was at 159 members.
1984 – The name Anderson County Chamber of Commerce was adopted to reflect countywide service after President Frank Carmichael of Clinton Home Center suggested it.
1986 – The Chamber and MHRIDA moved into a joint suite in the First American Bank Building at 245 N. Main Street, Suite 200.
1987 – Bernadette Highfill (Renfro) appointed executive director and was the first full time employee of the Chamber.
1989 – Greta Stoutt was selected as the new President. The new Leadership Anderson County program was announced.
1991 – April 1991 saw the beginning of the Junior Leadership program which initially had 60 sixth grade students. Kathleen DeLozier was named Chamber President.
1992- The second year for Anderson County and Clinton to receive the Governor’s A+ Award for Community Commitment to Excellence in Education.
1993- The Annual Teacher Appreciation Banquet was initiated.
1994 – Brian Jenkins appointed Chamber President
1995 – Chamber Diplomats established. April 30, 1995, Ada Misek was honored with a Lifetime Membership.
1996 – Chamber created a website.
1998- 235 members
1999 – Jackie Nichols was named as Chamber President. The chamber had 360 members this year.
2001 – The first Clinch River Fall Antiques Festival was held.
2002 – In April of 2002, Hayden Evans, dedicated supporter to the progression of the Clinton Chamber was named a lifetime member of the Chamber in recognition of his 30 years of contribution and public service to the Chamber. This was the first year that the Chamber participated in the Governor’s Three Star program.
2003 – ACES (Anderson County Exemplary Students) was formed by the Education Committee of the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce and the Anderson County School system to award scholarships to exemplary students.
2004 – First Annual “Let’s Do Business” Expo. Helped secure funding for Green McAdoo Cultural Center.
2005 – Youth Leadership Anderson County began. Co-Hosted a Job Fair. Leadership Alumni program was started. Co-hosted a Job Fair. The Chamber newsletter was distributed through the Courier News for the first time. First Ladies Holiday Expo was hosted.
2006 – Produced the 75th Anniversary Guidebook and Directory. The 75th Annual Dinner recognized past chairs of the board at the National Guard Armory.
2007 – The Chamber and ACEDA hosted an Industry Appreciation Luncheon at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.
2009 – Chamber Community Partners program was introduced. Hosted a Reception with B & W Y-12 to honor Junior Achievement. Hosted a “Resource Exchange Expo.” Began a Housing Committee.
2010- Hosted First Today’s Woman Expo featuring HGTV’s “If Houses had Warning Signs” Brian Copeland, “Joy of Cooking” author Ethan Becker, and “The Bachelor’s” Ella Nolan. Began the Buy Local Stay Local program, complete with a “shoppers card” to present at participating businesses.
2011 – Tennessee Small Business Growth Conference held at the Hollingsworth Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Aka Junior Achievement.
2012- Hosted a Plant Manager’s luncheon. Hosted a Newly Elected Officials Reception. Began Buy Local Cash Mobs. Hired a full-time Membership Director. Began the County Retail Development Initiative.
2013 – Began Membership Orientation classes to better educate members about the Chamber and how to get the most from their membership. Hired a Retail Coordinator.
2014 – “Meet and Greet” scheduled to host Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell. Hosted a Roundtable with Con. Chuck Fleishmann. Hosted the first semi-annual Job Fair at Roane State’s Clinton Higher Education Facility. Developed Retail website. Created a new Chamber logo. Leadership Anderson County celebrated its 25th year.
2015 – Hosted Sen. Bob Corker for a luncheon. Started and completed the Co-Starters class with Knoxville Entrepreneurial Center. Rick Meredith was hired as President. Hosted industry tours for teachers, counselors and students. Updated computer systems and initiated a new membership database, “ChamberMaster.” Hosted two Job Fairs, one at CNS and one at ACHS. Produced first “RoundHere” map for Clinton showing local restaurants to distribute at festival and local hotels.
2016- TN Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, Randy Boyd spoke at the annual luncheon. Began the Dream It, Do It East Tennessee. Sen. Lamar Alexander spoke at the Tribute to Business Dinner. Bob Kesling, “Voice of the Vols” spoke at a luncheon. Governor Bill Haslam spoke at a luncheon. Began Young Professionals of Anderson County. Hosted TN Team Trail fishing tournament. Hosted two Job Fairs, one at CNS and one at ACHS. Hosted TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. Were active in promoting TIF (tax incremented financing) for Retail development and passed by Anderson County Commission and Clinton City Council. Produced “RoundHere” restaurant maps for Oliver Springs and Rocky Top.
Worked with ACEDA to bring TCAT-Knoxville to Anderson County. $5.7 million grant announced for new school in I-75 Industrial Park on property donated by SL Tennessee. The temporary facility will be in the old Hensley IGA building. Membership reached 510 members.
2017 – Hosted First Annual Black-Tie Gala to coincide with the 85th Anniversary of the Chamber. Began the Chamber Birthday Party Celebration. Sent three LAC graduates to East Tennessee Regional Leadership. We held a Quarterly Luncheon with then UT Athletic Director John Currie as our speaker. The First Annual Chamber Casino night was a lot of fun and a big hit. Held 26 Ribbon Cuttings for new businesses in Anderson County. Chamber reached a membership of 550.