MARCH 3, 2020
Onwards to the next 25 years was the positive message from Ken Shurtliffe, owner of CanDo Information Technology and the newly elected president of the Napanee & District Chamber of Commerce (NDCC).
It was standing room only for the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Drain-All Ltd. Napanee facility. Shurtliffe's message was received with loud applause by the approximate 40 members in attendance. Joining Shurtliffe on the 2020-21 Board are vice president Frank Collins, treasurer Ron Yeomans, secretary Alison Clark and directors Cindy Kennelly, Lisa Harrison, Phuong MacNeil, Rick Frasso, Shaune Lucas, Kevin Haggerty and Adam Brown. The newly elected board's first act was to rescind a motion from the previous board dictating that the NDCC operations be suspended. A new motion was put forward to move forward with operations, which was approved.
"It was too important to me, and to a lot of us running local businesses, not to have a Chamber of Commerce here," Shurtliffe said. "Things may have been slow for the past few years but our membership has continued to be stable. We will look at re-instating some committees and see what we can do moving into the future to make the membership even stronger."
Prior to the election of the board, Peter Veltheer, owner of Mainstay Natural Foods and Buy The Grapevine, gave a short history of the NDCC. He was the founding organizer in1994, personally approaching 100 local business owners who supported the formation of a local Chamber of Commerce.
"It was a little rough in those early days for the 10 of us on the organizing committee. We would not have gotten started without the financial support from Goodyear and others joining right away," Veltheer said. "We had a small building, a part-time manager, and a vision for growth."
That vision became a reality with the Chamber becoming officially incorporated in 1995 and shortly after, selling the building and moving into an office in the Napanee Business Centre at 47 Dundas Street E., where the office is still located. Megan Sands is currently the full-time business manager. Anyone looking for more information about the Chamber can visit napaneechamber.ca or call Sands at 613-354-6601.
"We have had some great people serving on the board and we've been able to bring in speakers that would have interesting messages for our members. We've also been able to have a number of activities and programs that have kept the Chamber going," Veltheer said. "Now we have a new board who are eager to get to work, which is great. I am so happy that our original vision for this has been kept alive."
At the end of the meeting Shurtliffe thanked Veltheer and others who have served on the board for their work. He noted that with the new board, comprised of both new and seasoned business owners there is a determination to make the Chamber even more successful as it heads into its next quarter century.