Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce changes name

Group now Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center

Alongside Executive Director Claudia Starr, Board President Matt Gowin announces the new name of the chamber of commerce Tuesday at the Art House during Business After Hours. Effective immediately, the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce is now known as the Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.

Alongside Executive Director Claudia Starr, Board President Matt Gowin announces the new name of the chamber of commerce Tuesday at the Art House during Business After Hours. Effective immediately, the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce is now known as the Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center. Photo by Dean Asher.

Effective immediately, the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce has a new name.

At Tuesday’s Business After Hours event, sponsored by Our House: Caring for Callaway’s Homeless and held in the Art House, Chamber Board President Matt Gowin announced that the group he represents is now known as the Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.

The name change returns to one that was used by the chamber until 1975, when the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce moniker was adopted.

Chamber Executive Director Claudia Starr said that the name change was the result of a long-term Strategic Planning Committee session to re-evaluate the chamber’s goals and online strengths.

“The primary reason (for the name change) is it’s more easily found through GPS, social media or the internet,” Starr said. “It’s the tourism center of Fulton, which is the county seat, but we still cover the whole county, and all county businesses are included in our services.”

Gowin reiterated that the decision was based largely on search engine visibility and did not reflect a change in the chamber’s scope or services.

“‘The Kingdom of Callaway’ wasn’t coming up (in searches) as frequently as we’d like for tourists, for customers of your businesses and customers of businesses we want to attract,” Gowin told a crowd during a speech at Business After Hours. “I know (the name change) might be a shock for some of you, we’ve been the Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce for some time … but we still remain to be a Callaway County organization and look forward to reaching out to all parts of the county.”

Starr said that not only would current services remain the same under the new name, but an increase in services to businesses, customers and visitors is coming with the new name.

The chamber’s physical office at 409 Court St. has been changed up, as well. Starr’s office has moved upstairs to utilize more room in the entrance for visitor information, and she has plans adjoining office space upstairs to be used as a business resource center, which Starr described as a “one-stop-shop” for prospective business owners to learn about utility and business services, pick up license applications and better understand what is available in Callaway County.

The chamber has also adopted a new slogan, “Connecting Callaway’s Commerce and Community.”

The Chamber of Commerce was formed in March 1924.

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