New home for chamber

Tracy Clark, executive director of the Louisa County Chamber of Commerce, is eager to welcome the business community to its new location at 102 Church Avenue in the town of Louisa. An open house is planned for later in July.

The first rule of thumb in the world of business is location, location, location, and for the Louisa County Chamber of Commerce, their new spot at 102 Church Avenue fits the bill. 

“When we found this gem,” Tracy Hale Clark, the chamber’s executive director said, “It was pretty much perfect.”

The nonprofit business organization was previously situated in a second-story room of the Sargeant Museum on Fredericksburg Avenue. Last October, the chamber did not renew its longtime lease with the Louisa County Historical Society.

Since then, the organization’s leaders have kept an eye out for a place the chamber could call its own. They found it in a circa 1880 building owned by the Purcell family that features warm wooden floors, high ceilings and charming architectural details.

“My gratitude to David Purcell for making it happen,” Pat Hanley, who serves on the chamber’s board of directors, said. “He’s been very supportive of the chamber. It wouldn’t have happened without him.”

The former residential dwelling is zoned commercial and has housed several businesses over the years including a law firm and The Clothes Horse, a popular clothing store in its heyday that was owned by Purcell’s mother, Pat.

While the chamber is just now in the process of settling into the space, there is more that needs to be done. The chamber is seeking donations of furniture including desks, chairs, cabinets, bookshelves, small appliances and other items. 

Clark said the chamber will look to various business members of the nonprofit to offer services such as cleaning, lawn care and repair work. Cahill’s Cleaning Service has already stepped up to the plate to offer their services and the Louisa Police Department has provided a conference table and chairs.

In addition, Clark said volunteers are needed to help man the office by answering telephones, greeting guests, filing and a plethora of other activities.

Although there’s still much to do, the organization’s leaders plan to host a Business After Hours event at the new office on July 24 to welcome members to the new space.

Clark envisions the chamber’s headquarters eventually becoming a place that can be shared with the business community for meeting and workshop space and an area where members can stop in to get some work done.

Chamber President Marie Snyder said she is excited about the ability to assist businesses and bring them together. A central location for members to meet with  clients, get some work done and the chamber’s ability to host programs and events there for businesses draw people to town.

“We do have visions of it being a hot spot,” Snyder said. “We’ve always been good at finding ways to do what we want ... You never know what might be in our back pocket.”

Clark, who has worked remotely for the chamber since being hired, can’t wait to get everything settled and ready for business. She praised Purcell for going “above and beyond” to get everything ready for them.

“It’s come together nicely,” she said. “I see this as an asset for the entire business community and our membership.”