Necessity is the mother of many things, and perhaps caused the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce to get started.
In the mid 1960’s a group of businessmen in this area were concerned about a number of changes:
- The advent of I-94, which resulted in half of an interchange on Red Arrow Highway. This affected the traffic along Red Arrow Highway and consequently the businesses located there.
- Erosion along the lake shore threatening Red Arrow Highway, the railroad, and properties along the lake.
- The creation of the Lakeshore School District, which attracted population and area development.
- Lack of an organized group to speak for these concerns. At that time, little interest was shown for this particular area south of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.
Some of the early pioneers of the Chamber were:
- Thomas McGrath, restaurant owner along Red Arrow Highway
- Clifford Emlong, Emlong Nurseries
- James Small, Village of Stevensville
- Bud Kerlikowski, Bud Kerly Sales and the Village of Stevensville
- Charles Yob, President of Industrial Belting & Supply
- Bernice Tretheway, Berrien County Register
The Chamber was organized in 1966 with this in mind:
“The Lakeshore Area Chamber of Commerce organized for the purpose of uniting as a group for the promotion of the Lakeshore Area and to tell the ‘Lakeshore Story’ for the advancement of commercial, industrial, civic, cultural, and general interests of Lakeshore, and its trade area.”
The Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce exists to promote the interests of Stevensville, Baroda, and its surrounding areas for the growth and advancement of businesses and communities.
The Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven organization which seeks to be…
- A valuable resource to the business community
- A conduit for business attraction and retention
- A highly effective asset for our communities
- A leader in creating meaningful partnerships
- An advocate for businesses
- Promotion of public water and sewer
- Support of tax incentives for local industry
- Support for Stevensville and Baroda pageants, community events, and projects
- Promotional brochures
- Newsletter to members
- Forums for political candidates
- Training programs
- Cooperation and meetings with other area Chambers
- Maintain a website with member listings, calendar of events, member announcements, and member to member discounts
- Quarterly membership meetings with program designed to provide networking opportunities, information on local events, marketing, advertising, development proposals, ballot issues, and safety
- Provide tourist and area information via phone line, website, and email.
- Award an annual scholarship to a Lakeshore resident with plans to attend Lake Michigan College
- Annual Business of the Year Award