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Sunday Sitdown

LIZA CLARK

GREATER CROCKETT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

The Messenger has expanded our Sunday Sitdown reports to include not only our local pastors but educators, local businesspeople, students, interesting people of all walks of life in Houston County. To see the full interview, check out the video online or on our social media page linked below. The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=683219070167489

What exactly does the Chamber of Commerce do?

“We are a 501.C.6 organization – not a non-profit organization like Kalin’s Center or Family Crisis Center of East Texas. We work to further businesses’ interests and work on the economic well-being of the Crockett area. There is a misconception that we are a government entity – we’re not. We work closely with the City of Crockett and Houston County but we receive no funds other than some hotel tax funds. And that is a very small amount that we use for tourism.”

Other than ‘Christmas in Crockett’, what are some of the other events the Chamber does?

“I really like to promote our networking. I feel that is where some of our small businesses or newer businesses can flourish – by creating relationships with other businesses. We host ‘Mid-morning Coffee’, we have ‘Business After Hours’ once a quarter, we also work to provide educational training to our members. We’ve got some quality ‘Lunch and Learns’ coming every quarter. We work to bring in speakers – we want to have the government or our city council or otherr government officials come in and talk about the state of Crockett, the state of Houston County so more people can get an idea of exactly where we are. We do ribbon cuttings, of course, but there’s just so much more. We represent the business community in the state legislature and city legislature. I did that when there were the issues with trying to bring in events during COVID. It’s very important that we stand up. And we speak with the business community, whether they’re Chamber members or not, and represent them. So their voices are heard.”

What does the Chamber need? How can people help? 

“Involvement! I think that’s the number one thing: involvement. When you become involved, when you invest your time and energy and effort back into your community –  back into the chamber. Volunteering for committees, for example. Committees that oversee legislative issues – that oversee policy. We’re always looking for people to become involved because the more you know about your community, the more involved you become, the better your business will grow – just exponentially.”

There has been so much growth recently in our area. How does that feel? 

“I love it. It’s incredible what’s going on – the the big explosion down around Camp Street. And five years ago, it was empty buildings and closed buildings. And now we had 30 ribbon cuttings last year in Houston County! Which for our community is incredible. And I would say a majority of them are right there on Camp Street, which is such a beautiful area. You’ve got people actually investing their effort, their energy and their time back into the community. And these same people also invest in their membership with the chamber. And it’s not just investing money, but again – time, involvement and giving back to the community. So it’s an exciting time. There’s more and more going on in town. I don’t want to be seen as just the ‘event chamber.’ We are really known for Christmas in Crockett and that’s huge. But we do so much more behind the scenes to help our businesses because as the old saying goes, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ It is just an exciting time.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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