Chamber still strong after 50 years

An impressive who’s who of the Waconia business community gathered for the Waconia Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday party at Terra Waconia on Monday, Dec. 17. While the party was reason enough for the event, the occasion also served to mark an important milestone for the chamber: its 50th anniversary.
During the festivities, Kellie Sites, the president of the chamber, honored Paul Melchert, the last surviving member of the chamber’s first board of directors, with a commemorative clock for his many years of service to the chamber.
“I am very happy to be the last surviving member of the original board of directors because the alternative blows me away,” quipped Melchert, drawing a hearty laugh from the crowd of 100 or so chamber members and guests who attended the event.
Melchert noted the somewhat ironic coincidence that Terra Waconia is located in the same building that used to house the Wa-Co Café, which is where the first meeting to discuss forming a new Waconia chamber was held in 1962.
Sites said the coincidence was nothing more than a happy fluke occurrence.
“We try to rotate events to different member restaurants,” Sites explained. “We had no idea it was the same building but that’s so cool!”
While some smaller towns are lucky to have a chamber of commerce, it’s safe to say that Waconia’s chamber is far more active — and successful — than many. Sites and Melchert took a few moments to take a trip down memory lane about the chamber.

To read the rest of the story, see the Dec. 20 Waconia Patriot.