POINT PLEASANT— When seeking business information about any given town, many begin with the local chamber of commerce.
While most towns have their own chambers of commerce, the knowledge of the actual function of this organization may not be as common as the name. According to Hilda Austin, executive director of the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s goal is to promote business and commerce. Merriam-webster.com defines “commerce” as the “interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments” or “the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place.” Austin also reported that the chamber of commerce deals with tourism and getting people to visit Mason County.
“Some people don’t know what this area has to offer,”Austin said. “We try to use member businesses to help the community. We want to promote the historical entities of this county, and interest people to make return visits.”
Austin reported that two of the biggest events with the chamber of commerce were the Annual Chamber dinner and the Annual Chamber Golf Tournament. Both events are big fundraisers, and are a favorite among members. It was reported that there wasn’t a set date for the Chamber dinner yet, but it will most likely take place sometime in April. Austin also noted that the golf tournament is scheduled for Jun. 14, at the Riverside Golf Club in Mason.
The chamber of commerce also holds luncheons on a monthly basis. Each luncheon features a different speaker, and is open to both members and non-members. The first luncheon of the New Year will be at noon on Jan. 24, at Pleasant Valley Hospital (PVH), and the featured speaker will be Beverly Hauder, project administrator and S.H.I.P. counselor for the Mason County Action Group (MCAG). Hauder will discuss the various in-home services that the MCAG offers. These services are also supervised by a licensed social worker and specially trained staff. The lunch will be catered by PVH and will cost $8 for members and $10 for non-members. Those interested can RSVP by calling 304-675-1050.
In addition to luncheons and other events, the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce also sponsors a scholarship fund and publishes a monthly newsletter. The Chamber Scholarship Fund was first created in 2007. Since that year, this fund annually awards a $500 scholarship to a student at each one of the high schools in Mason County. The monthly newsletter is intended to inform chamber members and the public of events going on in Mason County. Also included in the newsletter is the “Business of the Month.” According to Austin, a business is selected at random every month order to highlight that local business and the services they offer.
In addition to Austin, the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce board members include Missi Scarberry, president, Eddie Lanham, vice-president, Anna Barnitz, secretary, and Tanya Handley, treasurer. Other members include Bill Barker, Lynne Fruth, Sharon Stapleton, Ellen Potter, Brad Sang, Steve Cavender, Terry Pyles, and Homer Preece.
For more information about the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.masoncountychamber.org.