Skip to content

Chamber history lesson

September 25, 2023

We’ve all, if not most, have heard of chambers of commerce. Many years ago, I studied a little to get a better understanding of the concept and progression of an industry I was entering. I hope you enjoy.

Chambers of commerce have a long history that dates back several centuries. The concept of chambers of commerce originated during the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in maritime trading cities. These early chambers served as associations of merchants and traders who came together to protect and promote their common interests.

The first recorded chamber of commerce was established in Marseille, France, in 1599. It was called the “Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Marseille.” The primary purpose of this chamber was to regulate trade and protect the interests of local merchants.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, chambers of commerce began to emerge in various European cities, including Amsterdam, London and Hamburg. These chambers played a vital role in facilitating trade, resolving disputes and promoting economic development.

In the 19th century, chambers of commerce started to expand beyond Europe and became more prevalent in other parts of the world, such as North America. In the United States, the first chamber of commerce was established in 1768 in New York City. These early American chambers focused primarily on promoting trade and economic growth at the local and regional levels.

In the 20th century, chambers of commerce continued to evolve and adapt to changing economic and social conditions. They played a significant role in supporting businesses during times of war and economic crises. Chambers became more involved in community development, tourism promotion, and fostering international trade relations.

Today, chambers of commerce exist in almost every country around the world. They vary in size, structure and scope of activities. Many chambers are organized at the local, regional, and national levels, while some operate internationally. They continue to serve as advocates for businesses, provide networking opportunities, offer business support services, and contribute to economic development in their respective areas.

Overall, chambers of commerce have a rich history and have played a crucial role in supporting businesses, fostering economic growth and representing the interests of the business community throughout the centuries. The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is right here…strategically evolving to the betterment of our members and community overall to be the indispensable partner for the business community of Charlotte County.

Chamber Activities

Business Card Exchange: There will be no Business Card Exchange in September due to our 98th Annual Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Ribbon Cuttings

Right at Home (grand reopening): 5–6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 26 (ribbon-cutting at 5:30 p.m.), 4315 S. Access Rd., Englewood. Light snacks, refreshments, tours and raffles provided. Dual ribbon-cutting with our friends from the Englewood Chamber. Registration is requested to make proper arrangements.

Special Announcement

98th Annual Awards Luncheon: 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 28, Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center. Invitations to be sent our soon to our membership. We will recognize our Businesses of the Year (Large, Medium, Small, and Nonprofit), honor our Pacesetter Award recipient, induct our incoming Board of Directors, hear the vision for the coming year from our new Board President, Nicholas Worden, Charlotte State Bank Trust. RSVP is required. To reserve your seat/table visit:

45th Annual Charlotte County Chamber Christmas Parade: noon to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec, 9. Parade theme: Tropical Christmas. We welcome the entire community to come on out and bring the kids, grandkids, and the entire family to enjoy one of the best community events of the year! The parade kicks off at noon at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center and then goes south on Taylor St. to the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center. We will have a special visitor all the way from the North Pole. Thousands of folks line the sidewalk of the parade route. Make sure come out early to get a great view of the parade! To participate in the parade, visit to complete your registration form. Entry fee: $50 for profit and $35 for nonprofit.

Bob White is executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.