In the beginning …
In 1942 Fred and Herbert Griffith, early Chamber founders, were serving in the Home Guard, being too old to have been conscripted. Things seemed to be going badly for the Allies, so they decided to volunteer for the RAF, serving until 1946; Fred in Malaya, and Herbert in Blackpool. After demob, the men from Chepstow returned to the town to find that most of the societies and organisations that existed before the war had fallen into disrepair, due to lack of people free to join them. A lot of organisations, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Chepstow Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, were formed or reformed about that time. The Chamber was one of them and has been going ever since. Funded and governed by its Members, the Chamber has evolved over the past 70 years into a modern, vibrant and proactive organisation, continuing to support local businesses of all kinds through many changes and challenges.
The Chamber today …
Nowadays, the high street and other types of businesses, including the services sector, face fierce competition from the Web and large shopping centres. Retailers are increasingly under pressure to find new ways of encouraging people to shop locally and a whole range of businesses in the town are affected by the current climate of uncertainty; with Brexit on the agenda. The Chamber takes a proactive and innovative role in helping businesses to deal with these challenges by working with each other and representing Members’ views at Town and County Council level.
Chepstow High Street 1950 Photo credit Mark Hobbs Chepstow High Street 2017