‘Getting there’: Ribbon cut on new Chamber of Commerce building

Published 6:09 pm Thursday, January 24, 2019

VALLEY — Leaders of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce are used to hosting grand openings for area businesses, but on Thursday, they cut the ribbon to celebrate an achievement of their own.

Local officials, chamber members and business owners gathered to watch GVACC President Bill Gladden officially open the organization’s new location in the Chambers Square shopping center. Gladden and Marketing and Events Manager Carrie Royster stood at the lectern in the newly renovated conference room to open the ceremony.

“It’s been a traumatic start to the year so far, but we are getting there,” Gladden said, referencing the sudden termination of Executive Director Ashley Crane at the beginning of 2019. “I am amazed and grateful for all of you who have turned out today to help us get this building going and move the chamber forward.”

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Gladden told the crowd that the new building acted as a new beginning for the chamber, giving them the space and location they need to increase membership, widen their scope and continue serving the area community.

“We will still be doing all of the events that were already scheduled,” he said. “Nothing, basically, has changed as far as our public vision. We want to get in there and help small businesses, and we’ve got some new ideas for things like classes and training for [them].”

The mayors of each Greater Valley Area city were in attendance and Valley Mayor Leonard Riley addressed the crowd. He said he was proud that the chamber was now located in Valley.

“From I-85 down, we have been blessed,” Riley said. “Our business community is growing, our revenue is growing, our citizens are supporting our businesses, and we have more [of them] opening up. Things are happening in the city of Valley, and we hope they continue happening in the city.”

Riley said that he was glad the Chamber moved that it could be a part of the progress.

Once the ribbon was cut, Gladden spoke to the Valley Times News regarding the search for a new executive director. He said that it is a slow process, but that it is so to ensure proper deliberation is taken.

“We have had a lot of interest, a lot of resumes, but we are trying to find that right person,” he said. “We have been through three executive directors since I’ve been on the board, and we don’t want to make that mistake again.”

Gladden said that there was no timeline on when a decision would be made on an executive director and that it will be over “when the right person walks through the door.”

On the opening itself, Gladden said that the showing out of support that came with the large crowd made him excited for the future of the organization.

“Once we took care of the main issues, we got a lot of support after that,” he said. “With the steps we are taking now, we will be back to full support in short order. I’m ecstatic.”