A Leader In Community & Economic Development
The Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce, known as The Wooster Board of Trade in early years, has been a leader in Community and Economic Development efforts in the Wooster area for more than 125 years. The current Board of Directors and Staff of the Wooster Chamber are honored to be part of an organization that continues to be a leader in advancing the Community well into the 21st Century.
The Early Years
1892 - The Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station moved from the University at Columbus, to Wooster, Ohio, led by proactive lobbying efforts of the Wooster Board of Trade.
1908 - The Wooster Board of Trade is officially founded as an organization on December 14th.
1913 - The Good Roads Committee was successful in securing paved routes through Wooster; now known as The Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30) and State Route 3.
1917 - Board of Trade committed to raising one million dollars for the University of Wooster, which would support the expansion of its campus in Wooster.
1918 - Contracts are closed by the New Industry Committee with the Akron Brass Co. and the Wooster Rubber Co. (Rubbermaid).
1921 - The Board purchases property in the Christmas Run Valley, and retains an architect to design what is now "Christmas Run Park."
1928 - 127 acres, on the northeast end of town is purchased by the Board at a cost of $11,500, for the purpose of establishing a County airport.
1941 - To alleviate the pressing need for parking spaces in downtown, the Board purchased two lots for business owners to park during business hours.
1947 - The Board of Trade established a new railroad sighting that attracted Silver Brothers, the Wooster Rubber Co., Gerstenslagers, Wooster Brass, International Paper and Bauer Manufacturing.
1952 - The Chamber was approved by the State of Ohio as one of the first organizations with a recognized Safety Council, formed to support industrial members.
1965 - Serious ramification facing the city, due to a lack of income, led to the formation of a Chamber resolution that a city income tax was essential. Voter approval of this issue was due in large measure to the Chamber’s efforts.
1966 - The board purchased a 45 acre parcel of land on Old Mansfield Road. The land was successfully sold to Frito Lay, Bell and Howell and Akron Brass.
1968 - Plans are formulated to establish the old County airport property as an industrial park.
1970 to Today
1974 - Wooster Chamber plays in intricate role in securing the All-American City Award for the City of Wooster, by sending a delegation to San Diego, California.
1977 - The Chamber strongly opposed the city’s flood way zoning ordinance, citing that legislation could cause the loss of vital industrial and commercial investments.
1978 - The newly created Wayne County Community Foundation was housed in the Chamber office until it could become self sustaining.
1982 - The Wooster Chamber changed its name to the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce to better identify the increased involvement and range of projects being undertaken.
1983 - Realizing the economic impact of the tourism industry, the Chamber played a major role in the creation of the Wayne County Visitor & Conventions Bureau to provide ongoing promotion of Wayne County as a tourist destination.
1984 - Chamber’s Directors named a Downtown Revitalization Committee to address downtown concerns.
1985 - The Chamber Downtown Revitalization Committee became the first board members of what is non known as Main Street Wooster, Inc., an organization that has been in operation for more than 30 years.
1986 - The Chamber actively worked with City Officials in extending utilities to Venture Blvd, which assisted the relocation of Seaman Corporation from Millersburg to Wooster.
1988 - Assistance was granted to Scot Industries of Lone Star, Texas in the construction of a 105,000 sq. ft. facility just west of the Wooster corporation limits.
1991 - Chamber led leadership recognized the importance of continual and concentrated Economic Development efforts, by founding the Wayne Economic Development Council, a county wide ED agency for Wayne County.
1992 - Developer Jerry Baker’s northend development (now Wooster’s large retail area) receives strong public support from the Chamber Board and Membership.
1994 - Efforts to secure public support for the new Wooster High School is successful, as the door to the new facility open to students and public a like.
2004 - Expanded efforts in Community and Economic Development are a top priority for the Chamber and City Officials, as the creation of the Community Reinvestment Tax Incentive District in downtown is created.
2008 - The demolition and subsequent redevelopment of the Freedlander site is realized through strong public support efforts.
2014 - Chamber hosts CEO Joe Kanfer of GOJO Industries at the Chamber’s Wayne Economic Forum, such efforts and connections lead to further exploration into the company expanding at the former Rubbermaid® Facility.
2016 - Chamber delegation travel to Germany to meet with Schaeffler Board and Ownership to discuss their long time growth plans for Wooster. The trip secures a significant expansion and develops a closer relation with Wayne County’s largest employer.