On the move

Carroll Co. Chamber moving to Highland Ave.

Golf scramble nets enough money to pay rent,
utilities for new street level office

By Don Ward

CARROLLTON, Ky. (August 2004) – The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce is having growing pains, and one of the biggest challenges it faces is overcoming its location atop the Carroll County Courthouse.

Carroll County Chamber

Photo by Melissa Pelsor

The new Carroll County Chamber Office.

The chamber has been sharing an office and splitting the cost of a full-time secretary with the Carroll County Community Development Corp while enjoying free rent from Fiscal Court on the third floor of the courthouse. But it has been hard for people to find the office or even know that it exists, according to secretary Rhonda Crutcher.
And with several ambitious goals in the works to grow the chamber and meet the expanding needs of its 105 members, the chamber’s board of directors recently decided to move into a vacant storefront at 511 Highland Ave., which is near the county tourism office and visible to the city’s main thoroughfare. The office will have a restroom and lunch area. The basement could possibly be renovated later into a conference room, Crutcher said.
“The main complaint we get is that no one knows where we are, and there are no signs outside to tell them we’re up here (in the courthouse),” said Crutcher, who has been the secretary for 18 months. “The new office is the perfect place because it’s visible and next to the tourism office, which we work with all the time.”
Since April, the chamber has been paying the entire cost of $330 a month in rent plus utilities for the new office while renovations are being done. When finished, the CCCDC will move into the office with the chamber, since it shares the secretary and office supply expenses. The CCCDC board questioned the move, since its economic development office did not need visibility and because it did not want to pay rent when it already had free rent.
“Even though they may not have needed the visibility like the chamber wanted, I still think the move and visibility will help CCCDC,” said Crutcher, a Carrollton native who has worked for both the chamber and CCCDC for the past year.
She and her husband, Lonnie, have been volunteering their time to renovate the storefront, which previously housed Studio One Nail Salon. Some materials have been donated by Craig’s Do It Center and an anonymous donor. Building owner and CCCDC board member Dennis Raisor has supplied paint and supplies.
Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson, a past chamber president and current CCCDC board member, said he was not in favor of the move initially because of the free rent for the CCCDC. He agreed to the move once it was determined that CCCDC would not have to pay any rent. He also agreed that the visibility on Highland Avenue could only help the chamber grow.
“It’s a relatively small chamber, but they have big plans to grow, so it can only help to be down on street level,” he said. “I was just pointing out that it’s going to cost them.”
The CCCDC is without a director with the recent departure of Joey Graves, who in June left to take a similar position in Union, Missouri. Interviews are being held to replace him, said Tomlinson, who will help make the hiring decision of the next CCCDC director along with board president Ruth Baxter.
To help pay for the new rent bill without raising membership dues, the chamber board started a new golf scramble this summer. The inaugural First National Bank/Carroll County Chamber Classic was held June 9 at Gen. Butler State Report Park, netting $5,000 in profit, primarily from sponsorships, according to Crutcher. The event included a $1 million hole-in-one challenge, sponsored by North American Stainless and Kinman Chevrolet. Carrollton Federal Bank sponsored the luncheon.
The chamber’s Annual Dinner, scheduled for Aug. 10 and featuring speaker Tori Murden McClure, generates money through a silent auction of donated items. The money is used solely for scholarships. Last year, the silent auction raised enough money to award six $500 scholarships to Carroll County high school students. McClure, of Louisville, was the first American and first woman of any nationality to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
As a sign of growth, the chamber recently launched plans to start a Gift Certificate Program, whereby the public can buy gift certificates from the chamber to be used at participating merchants. The program is scheduled to begin this fall, once the move to the new office is complete.

Back to August 2004 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta