In 1938, with an initial membership of 16 businesses and individuals, the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce was formed "...in order that all who are genuinely interested in advancing the best interests of the community may have this desirable means of working towards a solution of important problems that affect our city."
Early efforts of the Chamber included:
- Helping attract more visitors.
- Providing better ways of caring for them.
- Improvement and development of highways and other transportation facilities.
- Developing more mercantile trade from surrounding areas, thus creating more local payroll.
- Supporting and enhancing cultural assets.
By year-end, membership had grown to 73.
Organized an advisory committee that was the catalyst for the development of the Williamsburg Community Hospital.
The James City County organization merged with the Williamsburg Chamber to form the Williamsburg-James City County Chamber of Commerce.
In the late '60s, the Chamber's General Development Committee was instrumental in bringing together Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to create today's development of the Kingsmill property.
More than 50 years of organizing and executing Williamsburg's Christmas Parade.
In an effort to create more interaction among the membership, the Chamber launched the annual Oktoberfest event... still a favorite today.
Despite the efforts of major cities such as Denver, Minneapolis and others, to attract the new home of the National Center for States Courts; Chamber leadership was instrumental in attracting the Center to Williamsburg.
In 1976, the Chamber expanded once again bringing in York County partners to its membership. With that came a new name -- The Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce.
For the past 37 years, the Chamber has hosted the still popular Business After Hours monthly receptions, as well as a variety of other networking events.
Pioneered Health Insurance opportunities for local business employees.
In the 1980s, local governments, recognizing the benefits of Chamber's tourism promotions, began to support those efforts through direct contributions to the Chamber's advertising efforts.
The Chamber sponsored it first Job Fair in 1984. Over the past 29 years, these fairs have introduced over 25,000 residents to potential local employers.
Initiated and organized Leadership Historic Triangle (now LEAD Historic Triangle) whose efforts are to encourage, develop and support future community leaders.
Introduced the "Welcome To Williamsburg" programs offering hospitality training to members of tourism related businesses throughout the Historic Triangle.
Spearheaded efforts to establish the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee (WADMC) and secure legislation to fund its promotional efforts.
Developed and continues to successfully promote shoulder season efforts with television and online campaigns for Christmas In Williamsburg, Williamsburg Arts Month, and Gardens in Williamsburg. Through support of SCORE, the Alliance has nurtured the growth and development of new and existing business ventures throughout the Historic Triangle.
Developed and promotes Sports Williamsburg, a program bringing major sporting events to the area.
Coming full circle from those 1938 goals to work for "...improvement and development of highways..." the Chamber organized local efforts that resulted in the 2013 passage of major transportation funding in our area and throughout the Commonwealth.
THE GREATER WILLIAMSBURG CHAMBER AND TOURISM ALLIANCE -- YOUR ACTIVE VOICE FOR BUSINESS AND A BETTER COMMUNITY.