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Farragut WK Chamber marks 25 years


Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, spotlighted with a silent auction and dinner, this year themed “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

“We are celebrating our 25th year anchored in Farragut and serving the entire community,” said Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Bettye Sisco.

“Our annual auction is coming up in April, and it’s called ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz,’ and it will be a 25th anniversary celebration with all the glitz and glamour we can give it,” she added.

The Farragut Chamber was founded in 1987 by the town of Farragut.


“We do have a wonderful relationship with the town of Farragut and their support has been there since the beginning and continues to be there 25 years later,” Sisco said.

The Chamber’s first part-time director was Jan Johnson, who resigned in 1989 and was replaced by Beth Strange. Betsy Morrow took over in 1992 and served until 2001, when Sisco joined the Chamber.

“Annual budgets for the Chamber have increased from $4,280 in 1988 to a budget of $126,200 in 1998. And now our budget is $280,579. That’s pretty darn good,” Sisco said.

The Chamber’s 139 charter members have since expanded to about 675 today.

“The name was changed sometime around 2000 to Farragut West Knox Chamber to be more inclusive of the growing community around Farragut, and those who shop and work and live here,” Sisco said.

The Chamber once shared office space with Farragut staff, then moved to Horne Properties’ headquarters, the Century 21 plaza and finally to its current office space.

Farragut West Knox Chamber is well known for its unique take on networkings, which are held weekly.

“Those are fabulous. It’s a time members can be face-to-face with members, and visitors can come to see what the Chamber is like. We have 40 to 70 attendees on average.

“And they’re not just a time to chat; it’s not just a fun time. It’s an actual networking when people are actually doing business and learning about each other,” Sisco said.

“One of the most positive aspects of having that many networkings is that members shop with members. Everybody knows everybody, so if you need a handyman or a window cleaner or a realtor or whatever, people talk back and forth and know each other,” she added.

Each year, the Chamber also hosts an annual 5K Fun Run and Walk, held in fall, and a series of speaker breakfasts. This year, the lineup for the breakfasts so far includes County law director Joe Jarret and author and Body Farm founder Dr. Bill Bass.

The Chamber also provides continuing education grants to members, education through its Brown Bag Lunch series and, new this year, is working to arrange education lunches with Tennessee Small Business Development Center staff.

Sisco said future plans for the Chamber could include someday upgrading to a larger facility with a larger staff.

“Other plans including hoping to increase the continuing education grants in some way. We want to really enhance that program because education is so important,” Sisco said.

“Our mission is to strengthen and support our community by promoting business growth and economic development,” she added.

For more information on the Chamber, 11826 Kingston Pike, call 865-675-7057 or visit www.farragutchamber.com/

 

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