Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Southlake Chamber of Commerce Commemorates 35th Anniversary with Mortgage Burning Ceremony

The February Business Exchange for the Southlake Chamber of Commerce was not just another event. Although it had all the staples of a regular Business Exchange (held monthly) – food, beverages and networking – the February 8 after-work reception also included special guest speakers, valet parking and a Champagne toast! More than 100 people turned out for the special Business Exchange, which was catered by Scratch Kitchen in Southlake.

According to Southlake Chamber CEO and President Mark Guilbert, he and his team pulled out all the stops to commemorate two special occasions: the Chamber’s 35th anniversary and paying off the mortgage for its building at 1501 Corporate Circle, which was the site of the event.

“We wanted to gather current and past members, as well as community leaders, to celebrate these milestones in the Chamber’s history, along with all of the people who got us here,” Guilbert stated at the event, taking the opportunity to recognize several past chairman of the board who were in attendance.

Representing the City of Southlake, which is a longtime partner of the Chamber, were Council Members Shawn McCaskill and Chris Archer.

“I want to congratulate the Southlake Chamber and recognize the great work they do in our community. We value our partnership with the Chamber for Oktoberfest, Leadership Southlake and other programs – all of these things make a big difference,” said McCaskill.

Archer reiterated the Chamber’s contributions in his comments. “The quality of people and businesses here are remarkable and make a difference in our community.”

Sandra Baber-Sandefur, who began working at the Chamber in 1991 and served as its president from 1994-2001, took the podium and told the crowd about the Chamber’s history and achievements during the past 35 years:

  • 1983: Southlake attorney Brad Bradley founded the Southlake Chamber of Commerce.
  • 1985: Chamber hosted first awards banquet.
  • 1986: Chamber hired first paid part-time staff member.
  • 1987: Chamber hosted first golf tournament.
  • 1989: Chamber hired first paid full-time president.
  • 1989: Chamber hosted first Southlake Stake-Out casino night fundraiser.
  • 1990: Chamber hosted first Leadership Southlake class.
  • 1998: Chamber surpassed 500 members.
  • 2000: Chamber broke ground on building.
  • 2001: Chamber hosted first Southlake Oktoberfest.
  • 2013: Chamber hired its fifth president, Mark Guilbert.
  • 2015: Southlake Oktoberfest exceeded 100,000 attendees.
  • 2016: Chamber began awarding annual $2500 scholarship to SKIL youth program.
  • 2016: Chamber hosted inaugural Women’s Empowered event.
  • 2018: Chamber paid off building mortgage.

To conclude the event, Sean Shope of First Financial Bank (which has held the bank note), led the official “burning of the mortgage” ceremony, along with Guilbert, Sandefur and former board chairman Ian McLean.

“As a longtime member of the Chamber, our histories are aligned, along with a desire to build a great community together,” said Shope.

The mission of the Southlake Chamber is to serve the needs of local businesses. For additional information, go to their website or call 817-481-8200.

Photos of the event were taken by Thaddeus Harden.