Midfield Chamber of Commerce
In 1960 Bill Harris, owner of Bill’s Florist, went to Williams Hardware around the corner and approached B.Y.Williams Sr. about starting a Chamber of Commerce. Other businesses were contacted and an organizational meeting was called. A nominations committee was formed and officers were selected. B.Y. Williams Sr. became the first president of the Midfield Chamber of Commerce, and would serve for the first three years.
The primary purpose of the Chamber was to promote business in Midfield, and that they did. With the help of Joe Rumore at WVOK, and the Benns’, who were the station owners, promotions were organized to draw people to Midfield. These events included a Thanksgiving promotion where live turkeys were dropped from the roof of Bailey’s Drug Store, there were sky-divers descending on the shopping center, a sky drop of pong-pong balls to be redeemed for prizes from participating stores, and a big egg hunt in the field of WVOK. Directories of Midfield businesses were published every few years and there was an annual banquet featuring top political dignitaries for speakers.
During this hay-day the Chamber soon began to focus on its civic responsibility as it spearheaded efforts to raise funds for the Larry Thomas memorial ball field and support and dedicate Benns field. The Chamber also worked hard to facilitate the annexation of the Wilkes area, then Rutledge, and then Fairfield Highlands.
The Chamber raised money to help rebuild the burned down Jones Valley High School through a committee headed by Principal Driggers.
Over a period of years with the rise of the chain stores and the decline of the mom-and-pop businesses, interest in the Chamber dropped, as did meeting attendance. Finally the Midfield Chamber of Commerce disbanded.
James Martin was elected in 1992 and one of his campaign promises was to resurrect the Chamber of Commerce and create an Industrial Development Board. With interest in the Chamber rekindled, B.Y Williams Sr., who was co-founder of the first Chamber of Commerce, contacted Sue Harrison of SouthTrust Bank and together they called business leaders together for a new charter. In 1994 the new Midfield Area Chamber of Commerce was created with Bobby Humphries as its first president.
The new Chamber by name covers all of the Midfield shopping areas. Without Joe Rumore and the 50,000-watt WVOK, the big promotion extravaganzas are a thing of the past, but there are still business and civic directories, city maps, annual banquets, this web site, annual Christmas parades, and holiday decorations on the utility poles in the business areas.
Civic contributions include donations to the schools and youth programs. The Chamber recently bought the police department an evidence camera. The Chamber can always be counted on to help with sponsorship of community events like the City’s 50 year Jubilee celebration in November of 2003, which included the sponsorship and publication of “A Brief History of Midfield, Alabama” by Buck Williams, base of this history information.