HISTORY OF THE CHAMBER
With a history spanning more than 150 years, the Knoxville Chamber is the premier voice of business in East Tennessee and respected nationally as the 2011 Chamber of the Year.
In the 1850’s, Knoxville’s business community enjoyed a newfound ability to deliver wholesale products to market thanks to railway expansion. The connection put Knoxville’s business community on the map. If you drive the streets of Knoxville today, you will see the city has come a long way from those days of depending upon railway transit to be relevant in the business world.As the city grew, businesses needed a common voice to ensure they could meet the demands of a growing community. So, in 1869 a group of Knoxville businessmen organized a group to speak on behalf of the business community. They called it the Board of Trade. The businesses hoped to promote prosperity in Knoxville. Among their first goals was the creation of a customhouse and efforts to lower rail transportation rates in East Tennessee. That Board of Trade later became known as the Board of Commerce, and in 1887 it adopted the name Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. Nearly a century later, the organization became known as the Greater Knoxville Chamber then became the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership in 1998, before rebranding as the Knoxville Chamber in 2010.
But while we have had a bunch of different names, the mission has remained the same: “Driving Regional Economic Prosperity”. It means advocating for the things that are in the best interest of our business community as a whole. Armed with a 5-year strategic plan to become America’s Best Business Address, cutting edge tools
to help businesses grow, and a membership of more than 2,000 businesses, we are proud to a nationally recognized voice for business in East Tennessee.The Knoxville Chamber Partnership serves as a one-stop shop for businesses in East Tennessee. Our team consists of several organizations that offer expert advice for existing businesses, start-ups, small businesses, large businesses, professionals, and companies that are considering an expansion or relocation to the Knoxville area. The Knoxville Chamber serves as the administrative lead of the Partnership, managing facilities and providing administrative support.
In 2010, we launched a 5-year strategic plan, with measurable goals and objectives. The plan serves as a roadmap to make Knoxville America’s Best Business Address®. Under that plan, we launched programs for Knoxville businesses such as Chamber Member MD and Chamber Member RX. These programs give the business community innovative and unique resources to foster economic success. Also, with the launch of iKnowKnoxville.com, the Chamber offers resources to connect East Tennessee businesses to consumers through an online interactive business directory.
17 Market Square, #201
Knoxville, TN 37902-1405
Phone (865) 637-4550
Fax (865) 523-2071