South Charleston: Idea would boost business network

When Karl Loveless became president of the South Charleston Community Club, he took it upon himself to read meeting minutes from the club’s early days in the 1930s.

He found out the club operated as a luncheon and dinner club and as a busi-nessmen’s social and philanthropy club.

“Basically, it acted as a modern chamber of commerce does,” said Loveless. “I want to get that commerce component back.”

In recent years, the Community Club has concentrated on philanthropic efforts and organizing events like Christmas in South Charleston. Thanks to a recent agreement with two area chambers of commerce, the club has the potential to also positively impact businesses in and around the village.

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield-Clark County Chamber of Commerce have agreed to grant a collective membership to South Charleston area business owners. Loveless and members of the Community Club hope to generate interest in the idea.

“We have a lot of mom-and-pop busi-nesses who can’t afford to buy individual memberships,” Loveless explained.

If enough of those businesses, as well as larger ones, chip in together, the cost of membership in two chambers of commerce could be as little as $20 per participant. Loveless said the total cost for the collective membership would be about $530 per year.

While participants would miss out on some of the benefits of full individual membership—such as individual listings in the chambers’ directories and insurance deals—they would be on the mailing list for notifications of chamber activities and economic development in the area.

“They would be in the loop on what’s happening and who’s out there making positive business waves. They’d know about possible networking events,” Loveless said.

A tight-knit business and civic com-munity that talks to one another—by phone, e-mail or in person—is the goal.

“South Charleston has grown into a bedroom community over the last couple of decades, so we’re not as tight as we were a couple of generations ago,” Loveless said.

Better communication among busi-nesses and organizations will raise aware-ness of the services each has to offer, as well as the challenges and successes each is experiencing.

Loveless hopes to see involvement in the chamber membership from not only busi-nesses in South Charleston, but also people who live in the village and do businesss elsewhere, non-profit organizations, and anyone who can benefit from economic development networking opportunities.

For more information, plan to attend the next South Charleston Community Club meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 11 at Locust Hills Golf Course. Contact Karl Loveless at 937-462-8191 or for dinner reservations or more details.

Petunia Festival

The South Charleston Community Club is in search of individuals or groups interested in resurrecting the Petunia Festival or something like it. Interested parties should contact Karl Loveless at 937-462-8191.

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