Shop Local campaign originated by the Chamber

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, May 5, 2019

Dawn Burleigh, Editor

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader




Shop Local.

Shop Orange County First.

Residents have been encouraged to shop locally by the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce for area’s benefit of more sales tax revenue for local entities to provide services to the citizens.

“We are here to support and be advocates for businesses,” Chamber President Ida Schossaw said. “We are here to help business and work with helping them.”

The Chamber has served the area for 132 years and traces it’s history to the year 1887 when a citizens committee resulted in the formation of the city’s Board of Trade in 1899.

In 1902, The Progressive League of Orange was formed; it was composed of representatives from leading manufacturing institutions and businesses, as well as professionals and individuals who were concerned with the growth and development of the city. The League’s projects included road improvements and the development of a deep-water canal and an opera house. The Progressive League of Orange also implemented a campaign to attract investors to Orange.

Between 1918 and 1922, the Orange Chamber of Commerce was organized from a consolidation of its predecessors, and since that time the Chamber has successfully stimulated business opportunities throughout the region. In 1947, The Chamber formed an Industrial Committee to attract new business, particularly, chemical plants into the area.

Following up on Orange’s proud heritage of shipbuilding for the United States military, the Chamber saw the future of petrochemicals and brought much-needed jobs to the area just as it’s veterans were returning home from World War II.

Today, the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce is recognized as an important element in the town’s commercial heritage. In addition to the City of Orange, the Chamber represents and advocates for the communities of Pinehurst, West Orange, Mauriceville and Orangefield. A dedicated and highly talented Board of Directors – as well as committees on Operations, Government, Economic Development, Special Projects, Education and Membership-,  work hard to promote the community’s vision of small-town charm and world-class culture.

In August 2018, Orange County Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce joined forces to help local companies and industries with the 2018 Industrial Exchange.

According to Schossaw, it is more than seminars and networking.

“We have had businesses come in and say, ‘We have a bad image. What can we do?’ If they don’t know what is wrong, they can’t make it better,” Schossaw said. “We will arrange for a Secret Shopper. If we ask people to shop local, we have to deliver on service.”

While the chamber has partnered with the EDC and works with Lamar State College-Orange to provide a trained workforce for incoming companies as well as supporting the city to continue improving the City of Orange Boat Ramp facilities, it also promotes education by honoring students of the month for West Orange-Stark, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Community Christian, Orangefield and Deweyville.

The students are honored as well during an annual Honor Student Luncheon in May.

The chamber is also part of an anti-littering campaign for third graders.

The chamber is constantly searching for new and better ways to serve its members.

“We are often the first call when a business is considering Orange,” Schossaw said. “We get the call for information and refer to the City of Orange EDC or Orange County EDC or both if needed.”

Schossaw added the two entities work closely together.

In the coming year, the chamber is planning quarterly events, such as the Industrial Exchange to help bring Industry and businesses together.

“We had a seminar on the Buy Board to help bring industry together with suppliers and contractors,” Schossaw said. “It was to help local businesses learn how to obtain industry contracts.”

The chamber is here to support and help businesses that are here as well as new ones locating in the Greater Orange area.

“We are trying to make this the best community possible,” Schossaw said.