The Chamber of Commerce: A History and the Benefits of Membership

How much do you know about the chamber of commerce?

How much do you know about the chamber of commerce? If your answer to that question is “Not much,” you’re in luck! Submitted by the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce, this article outlines the history, purpose, and benefits of the chamber.


The first chamber of commerce ever created came about in 1599 in France.  Its sole purpose was to focus on unity, even among competitors, while bringing merchants, industrialists, traders, and craftsmen together. Their combined voice became a persuasive power among the community.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be 119 years old on April 22, 2021, and it still serves as a spearhead which focuses on protecting the interest of American businesses.

Local chambers tackle both issues and trends taking place in their community as well as offer resources and services to help local businesses succeed.

What does a chamber of commerce do?

Every chamber of commerce is unique and offers different benefits, resources, and opportunities. However, the ultimate goal is the same: to serve as an influential voice and power that stands for the wellbeing of the local business environment. Included in this main goal is the promotion of local businesses and the improvement of their growth.

The chamber of commerce offers regular networking and volunteer opportunities to promote and market your business while making valuable connections with fellow members of the community.  These connections, and meeting potential clients, help you gain exposure for your brand or business.

Credibility, networking, exposure, opportunities, influence, referrals, engagement, and access

How does the chamber of commerce work for you? Being a member of the chamber of commerce gives you credibility. The chamber organization has a reputation for standing up for local community and its economy. When your business is associated with the chamber of commerce, it gives the perception that you stand for these things, too. As a result, consumers trust you more. With more trust comes a more positive impression of your business and what you have to offer to the community.

The best way to spread the word about your business is by making connections. Whether you are a new business or a veteran looking to enhance your business’s contribution to the community, your reputation grows as you engage with other influential entities. The chamber of commerce provides numerous networking opportunities. From committees, ribbon cuttings, golf outings, annual membership meetings, etc., you will find various opportunities to connect with other businesses as well as people.

Gaining exposure for your business is hard, especially if you are a new business. By becoming a chamber of commerce member, you gain resources that will make exposure much easier. Members are listed in digital directories available to anyone interested.

The chamber of commerce does more than just serve as a marketing tool. The chamber also serves as a voice for the local business owners and industries. This voice is used to address issues such as taxes, regulations, fees, costs, and so on. As a member of the chamber, you become a part of that influence. Your role in the chamber of commerce is relevant, and your opinion becomes part of the many contributed voices that form the chamber’s views.

The chamber of commerce is a community within itself. The chamber brings its members together not only to benefit the community but also to benefit each other.

Part of the chamber’s job is linking companies and individuals to the resources they are seeking all while connecting you with new businesses that may pique your interest. This includes calls and emails, some of which may be looking for a solution that your product or service can offer. As a member of the chamber of commerce, you and your business become part of our organization’s resources. When a need arises that your business can help with, your chamber will refer you as a possible solution. Recommendations start with the chamber’s membership. This is how the chamber of commerce supports their members just as your membership supports the chamber’s daily operation.

Through our various events, chamber of commerce members are encouraged to attend, sponsor, or host to promote yourself or your business. Events such as the annual chamber membership banquet, annual industry appreciation golf tournament, etc. provide great opportunities for positive exposure for you and your business. The chamber encourages you to engage your community and make a difference while promoting your business at the same time.

Chambers are businesses just like you. Running a business is much more than a full-time job, but chambers work to make it easier.  Through newsletters and emails, chambers strive to keep its members in the loop with what’s happening within the community as well as spotlight information valuable to you and your business. Most chambers offer promotion and publicity packages to help your business grow.  Affordable access to ribbon cuttings, sponsorships, and advertising is a perk of being part of the chamber’s organization.


As a chamber, the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce’s focus is to develop and promote businesses and the community for economic growth. To accomplish this, the chamber needs adequate funding. This funding is primarily derived through its membership investments. In return for membership, the chamber stands strong in what it has to offer. A few examples of the internal membership benefits are listed below:

• Source of business information

• A liaison between local business people and elected officials

• Referral services

• Insurance discounts

• Directory listings

• Network events

• BIO (Business Improvement Opportunities) sessions

• Legislative report

• Georgia Chamber affiliation

• SBDC (Small Business Development Center) planning and services

• Web listing

• U.S. Chamber affiliation

• Industry roundtable meetings

• Strategic planning and business development

• Chamber newsletter

• Ribbon cuttings


Other community benefits include external programs the chamber is honored to support and participate in:

• Leadership Emanuel

• Pine Tree Festival

• Dixie Theater

• LYTTE 2.0

• Class South Tourism

• Georgia Grown Trail US1

• STAR Student-Teacher Program

• STC Foundation

• EGSC Foundation

• Fall Festival

• Christmas Parade and Downtown Events

• July Fourth Fireworks

• Emanuel County Brochures

• Community Calendar

• Snow on the Square

• Emanuel County Outlook Luncheon

• Bypass signage

• FFA Forestry Field Day

• Tourism marketing


As you can see, the local Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce works hard to promote and support the community. The local chamber believes in its membership and Emanuel County.

To become a member of the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce, please visit or contact Donna Haddock, Director of Membership, at 478-237-6426. The chamber’s membership year runs from October 1 through September 30. Join now for a pro-rated amount.