Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

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Whitley County Chamber of Commerce

100th Anniversary


ROSENCRANS TRUCK REPAIR 1290 S. Governors Dr., Columbia City

(260) 248-8053 • 1-800-986-9579 www.rosencranstruckrepairin.com


Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

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Happy 100th Chamber! Glad we are “Traveling” Together!


Be sure to call us for all your Real Estate Needs!

102 N. Main Street, Kendallville, IN 46755 (260) 347-0400

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Terry Housholder



Lindsay McBride Sally Ballard


Ann Saggars

Linda Maggert, CTA K&S Travel “We bring you the world” 260-229-5861

518 Garland Ave., Columbia City

linda4traveldreams@gmail.com www.linda4traveldreams.com


KSTravel_113975 1/8 V Whitley Chamber 100th 8/21 59 lindsay rv/ck 4-color


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Kanisha Bevins kbevins@kpcmedia.com

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary Commemorative Edition is a special supplement to IN Whitley County and The Churubusco News, which are publications of KPC Media Group Inc. ©2019 All rights reserved

Special Sections Graphic Designer

All photos featured in this publication were contributed.


CONGRATULATIONS ON 100 YEARS WHITLEY COUNTY CHAMBER! 516 E Van Buren St., Columbia City, IN 46725 Phone: (260) 244-6145 morschesbuildersmart.com

August 28, 2019

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Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary


The history of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center got its start in 1919 as The Commercial Development Club under the leadership of H. B. Clugston, its founder and first President. The organization continued under that name until July 1951 when the club reorganized and officially became The Columbia City Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of Paul Morsches. The newly organized Chamber of Commerce met quarterly, with their primary goal to attract tourism. In July 1953 the Chamber was instrumental in establishing Chain O’ Lakes State Park. To generate a better cash flow, they formed the “Eager Beavers Club” in which members were encouraged to pay their dues early in order to be considered an Eager Beaver. Membership soared to 165. By the end of the 1950s the Chamber was made up of eight committees: The Youth Committee, the Fish Fry Committee, the Eager Beaver Committee, the High School Building Committee, the Industrial Development Committee, the Recreation Committee, the Civic Affairs Committee and the county’s first economic development group. The Chamber started meeting monthly in 1958. In 1962, the Chamber and the Lions Club worked together to get the courthouse dome illuminated at night. At this point, the Chamber had 191 members and the Chamber name was officially changed to the Columbia City Area Chamber of Commerce. In 1976, the Community Facilities Committee raised money to build a medical building for four new doctors coming to town.

In 1980, Dick Haworth was hired as executive director. He was the first to suggest the idea to honor a Citizen of the Year and Outstanding Service to the Community Award for Columbia City. At this time, the Chamber office was located on the second floor of City Hall before it was remodeled. Glenn Frank was executive director from 1986 through 1995. The Chamber moved from a two-room office on Main Street to the much more spacious office suite on South Chauncey across from the courthouse. A part of Glenn’s job was to sell lots in the city’s new industrial park. He was very instrumental in getting one of the lots designated at that time as Indiana’s only wetland property within city limits — a space now enjoyed by visitors to the Peabody Library. When Glenn Frank retired in 1995, the Chamber hired Dan Trenary as the executive director and Pat Hatcher as the executive assistant. Following Dan’s departure, Pat Hatcher was then hired to be the executive director. The Chamber was, at that time, located in a historic home at 201 N. Line St. in Columbia City. In 2009, work began to investigate the prospect of becoming a county-wide chamber. The chamber board voted to pursue this direction and in March of 2010 the name was once again changed and became the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce. This reflected the merger of the Columbia City Area Chamber of Commerce and the South Whitley Chamber of Commerce. The chamber also made a move to 518 Garland Ave., Suite A, in Columbia City.

A new Columbia City sign was erected by the Columbia City Area Chamber of Commerce on U.S. 30 east of the city. It was a project of the Chamber, Whitley County REMC and service clubs in 1983.

Doug Brown was hired as the executive director. The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce reorganized with a new board of directors whose members were representative of the different communities. In 2016, Jennifer Romano became the executive director and soon the organization became the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors

Center. They moved the organization to a larger space on the north side of the courthouse square in downtown Columbia City at 128 W. Van Buren St. in Columbia City. The new space included the addition of a visitors center, expanded conference room space, co-working space and new programs aimed at highlighting and promoting members as well as the community.

Our Mission: The Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana promotes an environment in which individuals, businesses, and communities can thrive in a global economy.


Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

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Meet our Staff Board of Directors

Jennifer Romano — Executive Director

Jennifer Romano is the Executive Director for the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. A Columbia City native and resident, Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. Prior to serving as the Chamber’s Executive Director and Marketing Director, Jennifer is a past two-term president of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, serving through the transition of the organization from the Columbia City Chamber to become the county-wide Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. With more than 20 years experience, Jennifer has a strong background in marketing, journalism, public relations, graphic design, photography and social media. Jennifer is a committed community volunteer, serving in roles on several area non-profit boards and advocating for causes important to her locally and beyond. She is the founder of the Whitley County Lighted Christmas Parade and caretaker for Santa’s House in downtown Columbia City. A representative of the Southwest District

est. 2005 Wishes our Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Happy 100th Anniversary 227 W. Van Buren St., Columbia City, IN 46725 (260) 248-1216

No Order Too Large or Small

on Columbia City Common Council, Jennifer serves on the city’s ordinance and brownfields committees, and oversees judging of the annual Christmas Decorating Contest. She is the owner of a small, Chamber member business. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities, photography, writing, painting and spending time with her family. Contact: 260-248-8131 or jennifer@ whitleychamber.com

Erika Wolfe — Creative Coordinator

Erika Wolfe brings an artistic touch to everything she does as the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center’s Creative Coordinator. Erika moved to Columbia City from Fort Wayne in 2007 and quickly fell in love with this community. She is excited to work with local business owners and entrepreneurs to maximize their membership in the Chamber and promote their businesses in helpful ways. She is enthusiastic about the growth in the community in recent months. Erika will be leading the Chamber’s Ambassador program. In addition to her role at the Chamber, Erika is the owner of a small Chamber member business. She is a certified yoga instructor. Widely known for her commercial design work, Erika designed the interiors of several Fort Wayne area restaurants. Married to local auctioneer Phil Wolfe, Erika also enjoys auctions and seeking out great vintage finds. In her free time, she likes painting and repurposing furniture and finding eclectic items to accessorize with. She loves gardening and picking apples and pears in her orchard. Contact: 260-248-8131 or office@ whitleychamber.com

Mike DeFreeuw — Northeastern REMC — Board President

Brandon Ferrell — JoAnn Bird — Running Minear Real Estate — Board Around Screen Printing — Vice President Board Secretary

Lauren South — Choices and Changes

Dawn Boyd — Dawn Boyd Attorney At Law

Jeff Slater — Fort Wayne Metals

Raquel Perez — Assistant

Raquel is a fantastic addition to our staff, sharing great organizational skills and enthusiasm for the community. Raquel is bilingual and we are grateful for her ability to assist in sharing information with our Spanish-speaking residents and visitors. Raised in Ohio and a resident of Whitley County for the past 28 years, Raquel is the mother of three adult sons, Luis, Jose and Javier. In addition to her work at the Chamber, Raquel works with local law enforcement as an interpreter. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, gardening and spending time with friends.

Emily Button — Intern Emily is our intern for the Fall 2019 semester. We’re excited to have her on board.

Vicki Builta — South Gary Parrett — Big G’s Whitley Community Public Library Sports Cafe

Nick Brewer — Star Financial Bank

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Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

100 years of Board Presidents Columbia City Commercial Development Club 1919-1949 1919: H.B. Clugston 1920: Sam Trembley 1921: Sam Trembley 1922: H.F. Romey 1923: H.F. Romey 1924: David Walter, Sr. 1925: H. M. Miller 1926: H. M. Miller 1927: H. M. Miller 1928: H. M. Miller 1929: H. M. Miller 1930: Milton Lorber 1931: Jim Adams 1932: Jim Adams 1933: Glenn Mosher 1934: Glen Mosher 1935: Tom Hood 1936: Tom Hood 1937: Edgar Strouse 1938: Edgar Strouse 1939: Edgar Strouse 1940: Edgar Strouse 1941: Russell Pence 1942: Russell Pence 1943: Royal Clapp 1944: John Whiteleather

1945: Nile Schrader 1946: Nile Schrader 1947: Lawrence Mason 1948: Leland Williams 1949: L.L. Stevens

Columbia City Chamber of Commerce 1950-1961 1950: Benton Bloom 1951: Paul Morsches, Sr. 1952: David Spence 1953: Jack Hancock 1954: Edwin Heupel 1955: David Walter, Jr. 1956: Carl Anderson 1957: Milton Schubert, Jr. 1958: William Thomson, Jr. 1959: Charles Argerbright 1960: Jach Stine – Ben Gates 1961: Dr. Warren Niccum

Columbia City Area Chamber of Commerce 1962-2009 1962: Harry Bennett 1963: Donald Alberty 1964: John Gastel 1965: Paul Martin 1966: Herschel Aumsbaugh 1967: Tom Hardaway

1968: James Long 1969: Samuel Reynolds 1970: Kenneth Wright 1971: Jack Karch 1972: Joe Lumm 1973: James Teghmeyer 1974: Otto Behrens 1975: Robert DeMoney 1976: Michael Rush 1977: Keith Dowell 1978: John Mulholland 1979: Richard Berglund 1980: Richard Houser 1981: Carl Sederlund 1982: Carl Sederlund 1983: Bill Emmert 1984: Don Heiden 1985: Don Heiden/Gary Mitchell 1986: Gerald Hazelet 1987: Greg Fahl 1988: John Hatcher 1989: Valynnda Slack 1990: Tim Sutton 1991: Gail Hively 1992: Larry Graham 1993: Kay Fleck 1994: Earl Rogers 1995: Don Sexton

1996: Don Sexton 1997: Dick Buchanan 1998: Greg Hockemeyer 1999: Jill Winebrenner 2000: Mike DeFreeuw 2001: Steve Moore 2002: Linda Hyndman 2003: David Smith 2004: Carrie Gates 2005: Matt Rentschler 2006: Doug Brown 2007: June Keiser 2008: Jack Moore 2009: John Meister

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center 2010– present 2010: Mike DeFreeuw 2011: Mike DeFreeuw 2012: Jennifer Zartman Romano 2013: Jennifer Zartman Romano 2014: Scott Gabriel 2015: Scott Gabriel 2016: Dawn Boyd 2017: Dawn Boyd 2018: Mike DeFreeuw 2019: Mike DeFreeuw

Mission Statement: “To enhance the quality of life for those who are willing to enrich their education.”


Register online: www.freedomacademy.net

(260) 244-3640

www.walkersurveying.net mail@walkersurveying.net


Congratulations to the Chamber on 100 years of developing and growing Whitley County! The Warner Electric family appreciates you and looks forward to many more years of service!

Congratulations to the Chamber on 100 years of service! We appreciate you doing all you can to help promote our town to home buyers! - Your friends at Minear Real Estate 260-244-0009 MinearRealEstate.com



Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

Accident Damage


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Building A Future Together

August 28, 2019

100 years of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce

Don’t let collision damage keep you from taking pride in your ride.

Complete Car & Truck Collision Repairs and Refinishing

2525 East Business 30 Columbia City, IN 46725

Mike DeFreeuw, current president of the Chamber board.

Brian Emerick, president of Micropulse Inc., shows off some of his “newest” equipment.


(260) 244-6105 Fax: (260) 244-6005 www.buchananautobodyshop.com


Lines extended into the parking lot at 7:30 a.m. on the opening day of the new Scott’s Foods super store in the Towne and Country Center. Pictured at the ribbon cutting were, from left: Pat Hatcher, Joe Zickgraf, Pat Zickgraf and William Reitz.

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Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

Steel Tank & Fabricating Corp. Personal Service. Plain and Simple…since 1952


P.O. Box 210 • 365 S. James St. Columbia City, IN 46725-0210 steeltankandfabricating.com CAGE CODE # 4FHWS

800-852-9102 260-248-8971 mpate@stafco.net DUNS # 005080684

Congratulations, Whitley County! Fort Wayne Metals is proud to be part of Whitley County’s success story. And we’re always looking for people to become part of ours. Learn more at fwmetals.com/people.

We appreciate our Whitley County Chamber. Congratulations on 100 Years!

(260) 543-4171


Your Local Agent

BUILDING TRUST SINCE 1920 Hall & Marose Silveus is a member of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce

Scott Allison

scott.allison@hmsins.net Cell: (260) 229-6364



Whitley County Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary

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August 28, 2019

Proud member of Whitley Co Chamber of Commerce Thanks to all of our dedicated employees

2601 S. 700 E.

Columbia City, IN 46725