Welcome to the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce!
Building Our Businesses to Build Our Communities
The Chamber is a not-for-profit, Member-based organization with a Staff that reports to the Chamber President, who in turn, reports to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for governing the Chamber, for setting specific goals for the organization and to hold the organization, including its Board members, Committees and Staff, accountable for reaching those goals.
Our chamber works with Wyoming, Kentwood, and the surrounding area businesses by providing regular events for networking, advocacy, trainings, leadership programming, and numerous other activities which help the business community to thrive.
Among the benefits our members receive are deals and discounts from other chamber members, listing in a member online and/or paper directory, and a variety of other programs and services designed to promote business activity in a region.
We also play an important role in local municipalities in promoting business activity and representing chamber members. Our office is directly connected with the State and Federal Chamber of Commerce community. So, at the local level, our members often meet to discuss and attempt to shape policy that relates to the business and overall economic environment to make sure our businesses are receiving the same governmental opportunities.
The Chamber was incorporated as a not-for-profit business association under section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code on August 3, 1980. It was known as the Wyoming Chamber of Commerce and served to improve the image and identity of the City of Wyoming, Michigan and surrounding area. A Chamber Golf Outing in June of that year, dubbed the “Wyoming SWING” was held to rally business and other people to the cause, from which a number of the charter members of the Chamber joined the new organization.
Some of the first business and community leaders involved in creating the Chamber included Wyoming Mayor Harold Isenga, Rogers Department Store Owner, Hy Berkowitz, Loeks Theaters Founder and President, John Loeks and Marge’s Donut Den Owner, Marge Winters. One of the early projects the Chamber was involved in was the promotion of the Wyoming Rodeo, a long term annual community event that took place at Lamar Park.
In 1993, because of the popularity of the Chamber in attracting Members from outside the City of Wyoming and to reflect a slightly broader appeal, the name of the Chamber was changed to the Wyoming Area Chamber of Commerce.
In 2001, because about a fourth of the Membership consisted of businesses located in the City of Kentwood, MI, including the City itself, the Chamber exchanged documents with Kentwood and became known as the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce.
The first person to serve as the ‘Executive Director’ of the Chamber held the post in its organizing year. He was John Vos, who had been working for the Grand Rapids Chamber. In 1981, the Chamber hired its first permanent President & CEO, Cathy Ambrose. (A President is an Officer of the corporation and may sign binding agreements on behalf of the Chamber, while an Executive Director has no such authority and is not an Officer.) She held the position until 1991, when she and her family moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The second President was Paul Philpot, who served from 1991 until late 1994. Following Philpot was Bryant Goudelock, who had moved to the area from Oklahoma. Bryant served three and a half years until June 1997 when he left the Chamber profession to return to engineering software sales business. In August 1997, the Chamber hired John Crawford to serve as the Chamber’s chief executive.
In 2001, as the Chamber was expanding its primary service area into Kentwood, the Chamber undertook a year-long project to re-write its bylaws and changed its business model in order to more effectively grow the Chamber and serve its members. That model helps to empower the Board of Directors to better govern the Chamber and to help Board members be more engaged in Member-lead Committees to carry out much of the Chamber’s programming.