The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce was organized Feb. 13, 1930, with H.C. Saunders as president and meetings slated for February of each year. Members made efforts to recover from The Great Depression and bolster the local economy by creating the Liberty County Car Credit Corporation Unit, the Liberty County Truck Growers Association and the Liberty County Livestock Association.
Another chamber president, D.S. Owens, led the 1939 effort to lobby Sen. D.I. Dawson and Rep. C.J. Smiley to pass legislation to support schools in the state and make permanent a seven-month term. Unlike many Georgia counties, no local public schools closed at that time.
The chamber went into decline during World War II, but was revived in 1945.
In 1976, when the chamber was located in the old jail, then-President George Holtzman reported a membership of 84. Louise Stewart served as executive secretary. During that year, the chamber started the “Progress Through People” meals, which continue today.
The chamber office was in the old Mills House on Oglethorpe Highway before moving to its current location in the Liberty County Development Authority building.
Today, the chamber’s mission is to support new and existing business, trade and industry within Liberty County while increasing the cultural, civic, educational and overall quality of life for citizens.
Chamber/Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Leah Poole said chamber membership has doubled to 500 members since January 2011.
“The increase is a reflection of efforts by chamber leaders, staff, members and our relationships with government and Fort Stewart-Hunter officials,” she said.
The current staff includes a CEO, executive assistant, membership director and operations director.
“We’ve worked with Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter to help in marketing and public awareness, lobbied legislators and created a membership M2M discount card and insurance program,” Poole said. “We’re the cornerstone of the community.”