The Sapulpa Area Chamber of Commerce office is located at 101 E. Dewey in downtown Sapulpa. It is a welcome station for residents and tourists passing through, many traveling the famous Route 66. They pop in to visit, sign the guest book, use the restroom, and pick up any travel brochures they may need.
Visitors have been greeted by Sheri Waldrop, the Chamber’s Communication Coordinator and Director of Sapulpa Arts, for the past eight years. You may have also seen her at events taking pictures and making sure things stay on track.
The Chamber’s director is Suzanne Shirey. February of this year marks her 17th Anniversary. She is a people person and passionate about our town and helping it be the best it can be, “connecting commerce and community.”
The Chamber is also the district office of Senator James Leewright and Representative Mark Lawson. Suzanne said they are very happy to have the legislators and have a good working relationship with them.
Our Chamber has a long history since being created in 1930. However, the founders were following in the footsteps of the Sapulpa Commercial Club which was organized in 1902 or 1903 by about seventy members. Interestingly, in 1947, the Chamber had seventeen planning committees, everything from Aviation (Sapulpa used to have an airport), Public Health and Publicity.
The Chamber is 100% membership-based with 250 businesses as members from Sapulpa and the surrounding area. These business leaders attend board meetings, have networking opportunities, are listed on the Chamber website, Facebook, the Chamber of Commerce book and more. The Chamber is where economic development happens, as well as the transportation and tourism committees. The Chamber is usually the first point of contact when a new retail establishment is coming to town.
Within the Chamber is the Sapulpa Chamber Foundation, Inc. Under this foundation are non-profit organizations such as Sapulpa Arts, Pride in Sapulpa, and Vo-Ag Scholarship. For instance, projects completed by Pride in Sapulpa include the “Guardian of the Plains” buffalo sculpture on Route 66, the Frankoma monument, the bridge at Kelly Lane Park, and over 170 teardowns of dilapidated properties and more. These projects were funded by private donations.
Staying busy, a couple of Suzanne’s recent projects include working on “Wayfinding signs,” which are welcome signs for visitors listing some of the highlights of the town. The designs look sharp and will add a special touch to downtown. She also stays in communication with the Department of Commerce, making sure Sapulpa’s available properties are in their database.
The Chamber has fun, too. It’s not all business. They host the annual Sapulpa Christmas Parade and at the time of this writing preparing for their annual banquet on January 23rd which will include the graduation of the 10th class of Leadership Creek County, by celebrating twenty-three graduates.
Partnerships are important. It takes a community working together to make a town a better place. The Chamber partners with the city, county, schools, and Sapulpa Main Street to name a few. For instance, they recently partnered with Sapulpa High School and Central Tech in offering an “Adulting 101” class for high school seniors. They had a great turn out, with the kids asking good questions to help ready them for graduation.
Suzanne said, “The Chamber has had a long rich history with economic development and I’m excited for the opportunities we will have in this new decade.”
If you haven’t met the friendly faces at our Sapulpa Area Chamber or are interested in joining the Chamber, “Wayfind” yourself there.