History of MLCC

  • 1879 - Charles Hackley and other lumber industry leaders see the need for urban revitalization and economic development. They organized what they called the Muskegon Board of Trade. Members of the Board included: Hackley, Thomas Hume, John Moon, Charles Hills, & Alexander Mann.
  • 1892 - The Muskegon Board of Trade along with other local business leaders met at the Century Club to discuss the region's future. The result of this meeting is the proposal for a new Chamber of Commerce that will lead local efforts related to economic development and urban revitalization. The chamber members will represent all sectors of business, not just the lumber industry. Hackley develops a private fund to attract new businesses and jobs to Muskegon. This successful plan is known as the "Bonus Plan". Business lured here include: Julius Loeshcner Tannery, Continental Motors and Brunswick-Balke-Collender. The program is considered responsible for transitioning Muskegon into the new economy.
  • 1907 - Chamber Board Members meet at Century Club to make plans for a new leisure Country Club in Muskegon. Board members form a group separate from the chamber to work on this project, but the club remains close to the chamber for many years.
  • 1925 - The Greater Muskegon Industrial Fund is established under the greater Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce following Hackley's program to assist in the location of sound and established industries for the area. The fund works effectively to attract new businesses for many years.
  • 1927- The Chamber launches a successful campaign to establish a public airport in Muskegon County.
    • Chamber organizes fundraiser for a public park system in the City of Muskegon, including beautiful Lake Michigan Pere Marquette Park.
  • 1931 - The Muskegon Area Industrial Development Corporation is developed to work together with the Chamber in matters of economic development
  • 1936 - The Greater Muskegon Junior Chamber of Commerce is formed
  • 1941 - The Chamber advocates for and celebrates the inaugural sailing of the Milwaukee Clipper to provide daily ferry service from Muskegon to Milwaukee. As a result of Chamber lobbying, Muskegon is given preference in the granting of government contracts. This Federal designation assists area businesses with expansions and leads them to reach record production at businesses such as: A. Harold Frauenthal's Kay-Don Engineering Corporation; Campbell, Wyant & Cannon Foundry, and Continental Motors.
  • 1948 - Chamber lobbying efforts influence Consumers Energy to open a new 180,000KW plant along Muskegon Lake.
  • 1950 - The Chamber raises funds to construct a new sports arena in the Muskegon Area. In 1952. Chamber Board member, L.C. Walker, owner of Shaw Walker Company, takes over the project to be completed in 1957. The new facility is named in his honor.
  • 1951 - The Women's Division of the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce is proposed to create civic consciousness through unity and coordinated activities.
  • 1957- The Chamber wins national recognition, including recognition by the United States Chamber of Commerce for having one of the best safety programs in the nation.
  • 1953 - The Chamber receives national recognition for its "Freedom Week" program to promote patriotism and faith in the American way of life during the Cold-War era.
  • 1954 - The Chamber establishes the United Fund with great success. This Fund ultimately becomes the United Way of Muskegon County.
  • Late 50's - The Chamber pushes heavily for construction of the US 16 interstate highway that would connect Muskegon to Detroit, including what is presently Seaway Drive.
  • 1961 - The Muskegon Area Economic Planning and Development Association (MAEDPA) is founded to create and build a unified program for community businesses and industrial development.
  • 1964 - The Muskegon Area Development Council (MADC) is formed as a combination of the Greater Muskegon Chamber of Commerce and the MAEPDA. The goal is to focus on both the research and action phases of community development.
  • 1970 - The MADC changes name to the Muskegon Area Development Council-Chamber of Commerce (MADC-CC).
  • 1975 - MADC disbands and the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce is reorganized. The Chamber launches a renewed focus on promoting tourism and the quality of life in the Muskegon Area. One of the efforts eventually becomes what was known as Pride Week which lasted well into the 80's.
  • 1977 – Muskegon Area Labor Management Committee is formed to enhance local labor- management relations. Chamber offers support by housing them in their office space.
  • Late 70's - The Chamber begins looking at ways to revitalize the downtown and waterfront regions of Muskegon. This leads to the establishment of the Long Range Planning Commission.
  • 1979 - The Chamber of Commerce, together with the County Planning Commission begins talks about the creation of a tourist bureau and eventually forms the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
  • 1982 - The Chamber establishes the Ambassador Club which sought to act as the goodwill and public relations arm of the Chamber by serving as a direct communication between the Chamber and its members.
  • 1984 - A private economic development group is formed called New Muskegon to help diversify the Muskegon economy.
  • 1989 - New Muskegon dissolves, becoming part of the newly formed organization called the Muskegon Economic Growth Alliance (MEGA). This organization includes the former Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitor's Bureau, New Muskegon, the Muskegon County Economic Development Corp. and the Greater Muskegon Industrial Fund. MEGA looks to increase diversification of the area economy while looking to further develop the tourism industry. This effort is seen as a catalyst for a new era of government cooperation in Muskegon County. Also, a community-wide planning document is created called Muskegon 2000.
  • Late 90's- MEGA dissolves, spawning the creation of the new Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce in 1999. Chamber works with local government leaders to create Muskegon Area First as the county economic development agency to work as a partner with the chamber on expansion and retention of businesses.
  • 1999 - The Chamber helps to create the White Pine Partnership to plant trees, celebrate our diverse heritage and teach community sustainability to young people.
  • 2002- The Chamber lobbies the state of Michigan to designate a SmartZone at Edison Landing. This helps to establish the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center and position Muskegon as one of the state's technology leaders
    • The Chamber establishes a partnership with the Urban League of Greater Muskegon to encourage the development of racially diverse business in the Muskegon area and is the first known partnership of its kind in the country.
    • The Chamber partners with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the Paul C. Johnson Foundation and the city to create the Downtown Muskegon Development Corporation (DMDC), a non-profit organization to acquire and develop the site downtown formerly home to the Muskegon Mall.
  • 2004- The Chamber partners with education leaders to successfully lobby for a millage to build the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center at Muskegon Community College.
    • After much lobbying by the Chamber and other community stakeholders the Lake Express High Speed Ferry service connecting Muskegon to Milwaukee begins.
    • Chamber supports effort to establish county-wide land use plan called Muskegon Area-wide Plan.
    • The Chamber is one of the founding members of an initiative to revitalize the downtown. They lobby successfully with other downtown stakeholders to establish Muskegon as a Michigan Main Street Community designation.
  • 2005 - Chamber is founding member of the West Michigan Chamber Coalition and works to organize a regional voice for business.
  • 2006- Chamber receives international attention for being one of the first organizations in the country to host "podcasts" for members on the worldwide web.
    • The Chamber is awarded by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals (MACP), the 2006 MACP Outstanding Chamber of Commerce Award- large size category. The award is based on quality, innovation, and effectiveness in programming in the areas of leadership, governance, finance, advocacy, and member development.
  • 2007- The Chamber is the first new business to break ground for new building construction, leading the way for more revitalization of Muskegon's downtown.
  • 2010- The Chamber is awarded the 2010 MACP Outstanding Chamber of Commerce Award, in the large size category, by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals (MACP). This is the second time the Chamber won this award.
    • The Chamber founds the Annual Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, celebrating and recognizing young entrepreneurs from the Muskegon County through the Muskegon Career Tech Center.
    • The Chamber supports the official formation of a comprehensive resource network and advisory council for entrepreneurs called e-merge supported by paid staff.
    • The Community Service Improvement Plan is put into action by the Chamber, coordinating a public/private sector sponsored study on government collaboration.
    • Governments Encouraging Entrepreneurs Award (GEE! Award) is created to recognize governments for business friendly practices.
    • Assists the Muskegon Political Action Committee with a reception to host Governor elect Rick Snyder at the Shoreline Inn and Suites.
  • 2011 - The Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors changes the name of the organization to the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.
  • 2012 - Annual Report
    • The Chamber launches the first community-wide smartphone app for iPhone and Andriod.  The GOMuskegon! app is the only app of it's kind in the state of Michigan.
    • The Muskegon Chamber is awarded the Outstanding Chamber Award, in the large size category, by the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals (MACP). This is the third time the Chamber won this award in six years.
  • 2013 - Annual Report
    • The Chamber took over management of Muskegon Art in the Park and created the first Lakeshore Art Festival
    • A a new awards program, The Future 15, was created by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber recognizing fifteen up and coming local young professionals
    • The Chamber took over management and marketing for Silent Observer, creating a new website, and adding online and text tip capabilities
    • A campaign to build a new downtown farmers market was spearheaded by the Chamber to raise $3.8 million and move the market downtown

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