Dayton Chamber of Commerce celebrates 63 years

The 63rd Annual Dayton Chamber of Commerce Banquet. (Photo by Dean Wilson)

Chamber Banquet draws 265 in attendance; Linda Blevins elected as new Chamber President

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce held their 63rd Annual Banquet Monday evening at Bryan College with more than 265 members and guest in attendance.

Dayton Chamber President Jennifer Shoffner welcomed everyone to the event and opened the evening with the introduction of Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College, for the invocation.

During the Chamber President’s report, Mrs. Jennifer Shoffner acknowledged area historians saying that history is all around us. “We need to honor and respect history, but most of all we need to learn from it.”, said Shoffner.

This past year the Chamber of Commerce, RETC, and Main Street Dayton teamed up and held town hall meetings to gain ideas for the direction of where we need to go next. With the help of Bryan College Enactus, team seminars were held to help small businesses in social marketing.

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce publishes a monthly newsletter called “The Connection”. Shoffner expressed her thanks to all those who have submitted information for the newsletter. She encourages all to keep sending in their ideas and submissions to help “The Connection” to continue to grow.

Another great achievement this year was the launch of the Rhea County Mobile App. We hope all members continue to use this app to promote their businesses and events of interest.

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce operates yearly on membership dues as well as proceeds from the Tennessee Strawberry Festival. Our thanks to all those who make the strawberry festival a great success.

“The festival has grown 24% in just the last few years and we look forward to its continued growth. God has given us a beautiful place to live and share with others. It has been my honor to serve as your chamber president for the last two years and I look forward to continued service on the chamber board,” says Shoffner.


Anna Johnson received the “Gil & Anna Kyle Volunteer of the Year”

Bob Tumlin received the “Chamber Ambassador of the Year”

Cindy Horton received the “Chamber Businesswoman of the Year”

Alan & Kirby Garrison received the “Chamber Businessmen of the Year”


Board Recognition

Dayton Chamber of Commerce Board members Sarah Jane Locke (serving since 2008), Joy Shaw (serving since 2014), and Ron Harris (serving since 2012) were recognized for their service to the chamber as they step down from their board positions.

Diane Emens of The Herald News, Andy Kelly owner of Andy Kelly State Farm Insurance, and Alan Garrison owner of Monkey Town Brewery were nominated and voted in to replace the three out going chamber board members.

Introduction of New Chamber President

Linda Blevins Chamber of Commerce President Elect.
(Photo by Dean Wilson)

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Shoffner described her replacement, Linda

Blevins, as an energetic multi-tasking lady. She is a wife, mother, and a grandmother. A Master Gardner with the UT Extension, active in her church, retired 30+ years as a nurse, and has been a Chamber Board Member for 17 years.

Linda Blevins expressed her thanks for the honor to serve as the next Chamber President. She states that she has learned many things from the Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Shoffner during her two years of outstanding service.

Introduction of Guest Speaker

Randy Moore, a professor from the University of Minnesota and author of two Dayton related books, ” The Scopes Monkey Trial” and “A Field Guide to the Scopes Trial”, was the guest speaker for this years Chamber of Commerce banquet.

During the past twenty years, Randy Moore has made many trips to the Dayton area researching the events that lead up to the Scopes Trial, as well as the aftermath of the event that put Dayton on the map. He has traveled extensively across the country in his research. Obtaining documents, photographs, and personal interviews with people associated with the trail participants.

During his presentation to the banquet, Mr. Moore focused his presentation on the life of John Thomas Scopes after the trial. The presentation contained many personal photographs and interviews from Scopes’ family members.

Cynthia Rodriquez, the Chamber’s Administrative Assistant, stated “Mr. Moore is very knowledgeable about the trial, it’s participants, and the events related to the trial. We were honored to have him here as our speaker. We have learned some never before known facts as a result of his research.”

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