Almost exactly 82 years ago, a small band of forward-thinking, community-spirited business people sat down and decided to work together for the betterment of their businesses, and of their community.
It wasn't entirely a business proposition - but their plan was to use their businesses to promote their community.
What they envisaged was business owners and professionals joining with other local citizens to start an organization to educate their neighbours about the important role that commerce plays in a community, while building cooperative networks among local business people, helping new businesses get off the ground, and sustaining existing businesses during difficult economic times (82 years ago was 1931, the heart of the Great Depression, and one the most difficult economic times that Langley - and most of the world - had known.
Out of that meeting of minds, the Langley Board of Trade was formed. It was renamed the Langley Chamber of Commerce, and after merging with the Aldergrove Chamber and the Fort Langley and District Chamber, is now the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce - one of the largest, most active, and effective chambers in B.C.
Since receiving its charter in April 1931, the Langley chamber's activities have always gone far beyond friendly meetings and business promotions, and many of its initiatives have become foundational to the community.
For instance, one of its very first initiatives was to encourage establishment of a local newspaper to enhance Langley's stature inside and beyond the immediate community.
Three months later, the first Langley Advance edition rolled off the presses - and we now claim the honour of being the chamber's longest-standing member.
This week is Chamber of Commerce Week in B.C., a week to raise awareness of the chambers that enhance daily life in communities throughout the province - like the chamber that started right here in Langley 82 years ago.
@ Copyright 2013