Future Sumter Chamber of Commerce means business

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2005

SUMTER COUNTY – When the president says you’re off to a good start, you’re off to a good start.

According to Ralph Stacy, president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, things are going well during the initial formation phase of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce.

“I think Sumter County has what it takes to make a Chamber successful,” Stacy said. “A lot of local leaders will emerge with a Chamber.”

Email newsletter signup

Stacy said the purpose of a Chamber is to “create and retain wealth” whether it be money, schools and education, or businesses.

“The Chamber of Commerce is the vehicle to make the decision as to what the wealth of the area is,” he said.

He said CCAA represents roughly 124 Alabama Chambers, which is the equivalent of about 60,000 business people.

“We have four other communities in the state going through the same process as Sumter County,” Stacy said. “But it will be up to the people of Sumter to make their Chamber successful.”

Although Sumter’s Chamber is mainly under the leadership of James Mock, director of the Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of West Alabama, Stacy said the CCAA is willing to aid in helping the business advocacy of Alabama’s industries.

“Business is truly the refinery of fuel for the government,” Stacy said. “We’re going to do everything we can do to make it succeed.”

Stacy said the Sumter County already has three major contributions that lead him to believe the Chamber will stand strong once it is formed.

“Number one, they have UWA pledging support. Number two, there are others groups ready to step in and help like we are,” he said. “And number three, they will have the support of businesses who may not have their main branches in Sumter, but are represented there.”

There have already been two meetings called to inform interested business owners about specifics of the potential Chamber. Stacy said there will be another in a few weeks to bring everyone together.

“Those meetings were just to peak curiosity and see what natural leaders emerge,” he said. “This is a long process and it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Although Stacy said the process is lengthy, he said the wheels are turning on the Sumter Chamber.

“We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again,” he said. “That’s why our motto is ‘building a better Alabama through strong Chambers of Commerce.'”