Around the time that businesses were closing because of the pandemic, so too did many organizations that are dependent upon in-person meetings. The Waynedale Business Chamber held its first meeting on June 10 after more than a year. Inconveniently, up to the time that COVID shutdowns were severely impacting local businesses, the Chamber was being led by Secretary Dawn Gilreath after President Dave Umber left the post earlier in 2020 after selling his business.

So, with no one at the helm and the 100+ business owner members scrambling to save their own business, all Chamber business and meetings were on hold. There were internal discussions among founding members about who may step up to lead it if the Chamber would resume, or if its fate is to be lost to COVID with so many other community organizations.

At the June 10th meeting, that question was answered by Jonathan Morales, a local insurance agent, who was elected President of the Chamber. Shortly after, he outlined his goals for the organization with a simple statement. “As so many businesses have had to re-evaluate and prioritize their business and how to operate through the pandemic, it is important that the chamber prioritize and re-evaluate its mission and path for the future.”

Morales hopes to reorganize the Chamber with four primary initiatives: Advocacy- To speak in favor of, recommend, in support of local businesses; Networking- goal is to provide opportunities to meet area businesses to form relationships; Information- present resources and calendar for important dates that may support Waynedale businesses; Education- by providing tips, lunch n learns, subject matter experts. He also hopes to add a website and social media presence as well as to organize seasonal events.

For those interested in joining the Waynedale Business Chamber more information about becoming a member is available at It is free to become a member and membership is open to all business owners or managers in the Waynedale area. The Chamber meets on the second Thursday of the month at 2pm at the Southwest Fire District Station 1 – Training Center (7001 Old Trail Rd).

The Waynedale Business Chamber was organized to address ideas for Waynedale business and overall community improvement. Members work together as a whole and in committees to accomplish the collective group’s short term and long-term goals. Each member present at the meetings have a voice in what the WBC works on and when and how each project is completed. By creating an entity, it gives the business leaders (and the ‘Waynedale business district’) a voice to petition the city for improvements; a general members meeting time and date to discuss problems in our area, and a way to meet and greet your business neighbors. The Chamber was founded in 2015 by Alex Cornwell with the support of over 60 other business leaders.

The Waynedale News Staff
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