By Terry Rogers
The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milford will celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2015 and plans to kick-off the year with a Celebration Event at IG Burton in Milford on Tuesday, January 20 at 5pm. The event is open to the public and will feature local food and beverage vendors. In addition, Angie Hicks of the Milford Chronicle who won the Chamber’s logo contest will be introduced and the new logo will be unveiled.
“We are very excited to kick off our 25th year with this event, especially at IG Burton,” said Jo Schmeiser, Executive Director. “David Burton was the first official president of the Chamber and his son, Charlie Burton, was the first president to serve two terms, so it is only fitting that we would kick off the event there.” Ms. Schmeiser said that everything throughout the year would be coordinated around the new logo and that the Annual “10 of the Best” Awards Ceremony and 25th Anniversary Celebration would be an event that chamber members will not want to miss.
Mr. David Burton said that the chamber has actually been around for more than 25 years, but it was made up of a good group of businessmen who got together every now and then to discuss how they could make business in Milford better. He said it was low-key and very loosely organized.
“Back then, Milford was much smaller than it is today,” Mr. Burton said. “My dad was part of the original chamber. Around 25 years ago, a group of us young guys who thought we had the world by the tail, decided we would organize the chamber professionally. We raised dues significantly and really had to work to keep members with us after that. Once the dues were settled, we hired a professional manager. As soon as we did that, we finally began getting somewhere because we had somebody who could do something and someone to rely on consistently.”
Ms. Schmeiser said that Milford was recently named the fastest growing city in the state by the News Journal, and Mr. Burton agrees that things are much different in Milford now than they were then, but some of the core businesses that were there then are still here now, including Dentsply Caulk.
“The Grier family were leaders here in this town,” Mr. Burton said. “The company has since changed hands, but it is an important part of Milford. The town is different, but it is a good different. At a recent board meeting, I looked around and was excited to see so many young faces. There was a time when I knew everyone in Milford, but I didn’t know most of the people there, and I think that is a good thing.”
Mr. Burton says he sees Milford growing rapidly in the future, but cautions the city to be sure to take care of what is already there when they look at expansion. He said that there are several large businesses in Milford that could expand with the right focus, such as Caulk, Baltimore Air Coil and the artistic areas of downtown Milford.
“It is easy to look at what you don’t have and forget what you do,” Mr. Burton said.
Ms. Schmeiser says that they are trying to locate as many past presidents of the chamber as they can so they can be invited to the 25th Anniversary kick-off celebration later in the month. For more information about the chamber or the anniversary celebration, individuals and businesses are encouraged to contact the Chamber office at 422-3344.