By Sally Voth
The 165-year-old Edinburg Mill can add one more history-making moment to its story. It played host to the inaugural meeting of the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
While it's been just six months since the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce voted to dissolve and change its name to the Shenandoah County Chamber, the move to marshal efforts countywide has been discussed as far back as the the 1970s, Executive Director Jenna French told the crowd gathered at the restored mill.
"It has been a very long time in the making," she said. "Forty years, and we've finally arrived here where we can all come together."
"This is not something that we just decided to do a year-and-a-half ago," he said. "It's something that has been in the works for decades. The reason it hasn't happened all these years is because it really is difficult."
During a meeting last summer at the mill to discuss the county body, there was a great deal of disagreement, Zirkle said.
"It was actually a pretty heated meeting," he said. "The reason it did happen is because everyone did show up and did voice some strong opinions. This is not the end of a process. This is the beginning. This is day one of the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce."
He noted that the more than a 100 applications to join the new chamber have been submitted.
While the chambers in Woodstock, Edinburg and Mt. Jackson have dissolved and flowed into the county group, New Market and Strasburg will keep their individual chambers open, Zirkle said after the meeting.
"As an organization, they have become a member of ours," he said. "They're continuing to exist, but they're also supporting our efforts as a county chamber."
The chamber's new board of directors was also approved to staggered terms:
• Bill Smith and Justin Wightman, representing Edinburg.
• Clay Arthur and Jackie Thompson, representing Strasburg.
• Mike Ashley and David Moore, representing Mt. Jackson.
• Katie Rudolf and Wade Zirkle, representing Woodstock.
• Dominque Armentrout and Cathy Wittig-Donald, representing New Market.
• Pastor Jonathan Boynton, Rich Church and Dawn Funkhouser, all at-large members.
The board will meet at 8 a.m. the third Tuesday each month at 103 S. Main St., Woodstock, French said. Also on the third Tuesday, various county businesses will hold business after-hours at 5:30 p.m.
According to French, dues are $50 for individuals, $75 for couples, $70 for nonprofits, and $75-$400 for businesses, depending on the number of employees.
For more information, visit www.shenandoahcountychamber.com.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or email@example.com