The Parkville Area Chamber of Commerce evolved from The Downtown Merchants Association which in the 1980’s and early 90’s, was the primary organization in the community responsible for promotions, festivals, and public relations. Membership consisted of local businesses and residents.
In 1993 more than two-thirds of the downtown became victim of a 100-year flood. The area was hit hard when a predicted 12 inches of water rose to eight feet. A new non-profit organization (Main Street Parkville Association) was formed to focus on flood recovery and historic preservation for the downtown. The Chamber joined with others to rebuild the heart of the city and support the downtown focus. A limited Chamber board continued to promote tourism, enhance public relations, and complete one major community project each year. This small, but dedicated, group of volunteers worked to keep the Chamber active until the community was ready for a city-wide focus.
During 2002 this group of volunteers realized the time was right to begin growing the Chamber again. The historic downtown was fully recovered and new businesses in Parkville and the surrounding area were eager to become part of the greater Parkville community. Business owners and local stakeholders agreed it was time for the Parkville Area Chamber of Commerce to begin conducting regularly organized events and to once again accept memberships. On May 16, 2002, an informal Business After Hours was held. Not surprisingly, over 75 people attended and expressed an interest in participating in Chamber activities. Monthly Business After Hours were scheduled for the remainder of 2002 and for $25 anyone could join the Parkville Chamber. The Chamber emailed a quarterly newsletter, interest grew, and plans were made for the future.
In 2003, the Parkville Area Chamber of Commerce established a tiered membership structure and continued to grow. Officers were elected and committees were formed. The Chamber once again had a presence at festivals, and special events. The Chamber office was established in 2004 in the lower level of the Platte Valley Bank, and a part-time administrative assistant was hired. The Chamber web site was developed in 2004. ParkvilleChamber.com quickly became the primary source of communication with members, a tremendous resource for the community, and served as a great marketing tool for our members.
The next few years the Chamber focused on community involvement, member education, and providing networking opportunities for the growing membership. Business After Hours, Business Over Breakfasts, Lunch and Learns, fundraisers, and legislative trips and forums, and community service projects were planned and well attended.
In 2005 the Parkville Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Parkville formed a partnership that allowed the Chamber office to relocate to the historic train depot in the downtown area. This prominent location across from Park University, near the English Landing Park and the “Spirit” Fountain, continues to provide an ideal location for the Cathy Kline Art Gallery. The Chamber office has recently relocated in the Parkville Commons at Hwy 9 and 45.
The Parkville Area Chamber of Commerce was recently named one of the Top 25 Chambers in Kansas City by the Kansas City Business Journal. We look forward to making a positive difference in our community, while providing our membership with a full range of benefits and both educational and volunteer opportunities.