The excitement was palpable at Wednesday evening's inaugural meeting of the new Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce.
Members, drawn from Strasburg at the north end of the county to New Market, at the south end, as well as towns in between, packed the historic Edinburg Mill for a bit of schmoozing, noshing and business to launch the new organization that Chamber Executive Director Jenna French said had been 40 years in the making.
New Chamber President Wade Zirkle said pulling the group together has not been easy, and yes, there was some heated debate while putting the pieces together, but the chambers in Woodstock, Edinburg and Mt. Jackson came together to form one chamber to represent the entire county.
Zirkle said the new county chamber already has received more than 100 membership applications from all areas of the county.
While the chambers in Strasburg and New Market have decided to remain separate but supportive of the new chamber, it will be interesting to see how membership drives by the three organizations fare this year as the countywide chamber finds its footing.
From the turnout, positive energy and enthusiasm displayed at the new chamber's first meeting, and the fact that there is power in numbers, we can expect robust networking and business after hours events as well as the promotion of town events and support of commercial, industrial and agricultural growth in Shenandoah County from this new group.
To all involved, congratulations! Your growth will be a positive force within Shenandoah County.