Celebrating 126 years !


The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) officially concluded the business of its 2014-2015 fiscal year as it held its 126th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, October 7th.

Monica Dale, who is serving as the agency’s President for the current year led the order of business for the event. She notes that “while there is a certain formality that is required to conduct AGM business, the AGM is also seen as a celebration and recognition of the hard work and successes that went into the previous twelve months.”

As AGM business moved forward, current Chamber Second Vice President Jason Naccarato reviewed some of the highlights of the 2014-2015 year, which he referred to as a period of transition for the organization both physically, referring the Agency’s recent move to its new office location at 369 Queen Street, and in terms of direction.

“2014 – 2015 produced no shortage of issues that captured the attention of our members and of the business community, locally and at the provincial and federal levels,” suggested Naccarato during his presentation. The proposed municipal signage by-law, municipal development charges, the proposed Ontario retirement pension plan, budgets from all levels of government and the municipal election all found their way into the Chamber’s agenda last year.

The 2015 SSMCOC AGM included a guest presentation by Anshumali Dwivedi, CEO of The Port of Algoma. Long recognized as a potential game-changer for the local economy, it is expected that the local port will open significant new shipping opportunities for Sault businesses and cement the city as a significant transportation hub along the Great Lakes and the major road and rail transportation systems that converge here.

The AGM was not without at least one significant surprise, however… The event was the first opportunity for Chamber General Manager, Shelley Barich, to officially announce to the organization’s membership that she plans to retire from the position at the end of February 2016. Barich who has been with the Chamber since 1987, has served in several capacities in her career with the organization including Membership Services Officer and Assistant Manager. She has held the GM role since 2005.

“Shelley’s departure is going to leave the Chamber with some very large shoes to fill,” notes Dale. “Shelley has devoted many years to the Chamber and has been instrumental in so much of the Chamber’s development over the last 10 years. The local Chamber is very proud of the direction of the organization under her guidance and everyone is going to miss her.”