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DeKalb Chamber of Commerce celebrates 75 years
by Sarah Anne Voyles
September 17, 2013 04:49 PM | 2683 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye / DeKalb Chamber of Commerce President Leonardo McClarty preps for the upcoming anniversary.
Staff / Katherine Frye / DeKalb Chamber of Commerce President Leonardo McClarty preps for the upcoming anniversary.
In 1938, business and agriculture came together in DeKalb County to form the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. “Agriculture” has since been dropped but the chamber remembers the roots of its foundation 75 years ago.

During the months of September and October, the chamber has planned three events to honor this anniversary.

“The chamber has changed as the county has changed,” Leonardo McClarty, chamber president said. “When it started, much of the economy came from agriculture, but the original idea is still the same — to be an advocate for businesses as well as to encourage business growth in DeKalb County.”

The first event is a business forum Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This forum will be at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center Hotel and its cost ranges from $40 to $400. Arnie Silverman, chamber chairman of the board, said the forum is to help provide a dialogue between business leaders and the community.

“This can no longer be just about the chairmen,” Silverman said. “It’s time to give some of the members the spotlight.”

McClarty said the Sept. 27 Day of Service is meant to provide businesses a way to care for the community and to demonstrate business is not solely bottom-line driven. The service day is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will benefit the Salvation Army Peachcrest Boys and Girls Club at 3500 Sherrydale Lane in Decatur.

The final event is a gala at the Stone Mountain Park Marriott Evergreen Resort Oct. 5. Ticket prices range from $150 to $1,250 and can be purchased until Oct. 4. This black-tie affair will feature awards to local community members.

McClarty said this event is a “coming together, and looking back” throughout the years to see the challenges the chamber has overcome – business, government and citizens cannot do it alone. He said as a whole, it has been the county, the chamber and businesses working together that allowed the chamber to make it 75 years.

“It is not about the form of government, it’s about people,” McClarty said. “People make bad things happen and make good things happen. We have to focus on what we have control of, the recruitment and retention of business.”

To better understand the needs of the county for another 75 years, the chamber recently made changes to the board by adding representatives from both the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and each municipality in the county.

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