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  • About the Little Falls Chamber and Tourism

    The Chamber of Commerce was organized on May 15, 1888, with the filing of the Articles of Incorporation, constitution, and bylaws for the stated purpose of “advancing the commercial, mercantile, and manufacturing interests of Little Falls and the surrounding country.” Listed on the initial membership roster were 42 businesses.

    The Chamber has been instrumental in the development and expansion of business in Morrison County. The foresightedness of the founding fathers of the area laid the foundation for the Chamber as we know it today.

    There is little recorded history of the Chamber from the years 1888 to 1954. The Chamber’s first paid staff came in the form of administrative support by Mrs. W. J. Bellefeuille from 1954-1960. G. Harmon Klemme was the first paid administrator serving from 1960 to 1962. Following Klemme was W. J. Vondrashek from 1963 to 1967. The Glen Kraywinkle tenure was from 1967 to 1984; Dave Hochhalter from 1984 to 1995; Elaine Westerdahl-Delaney from 1996 to 2003. and Debora K. Boelz from 2004 to 2022. Starting in 2022, Purva Watten is the current President/CEO for the organization.

    The chamber’s role in the community has evolved with the changing times. The first industrial park in Little Falls was developed on land purchased by the chamber. The West Side Industrial Park was the first venture into economic development. Out of this action grew Community Development of Morrison County which, today, is its own nonprofit corporation.

    In 1972, the Chamber took over the planning and implementation of the Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair. This event has grown to include hundreds of vendors from numerous states - 25 of them in 2006! It annually attracts crowds of shoppers numbering over 130,000. Proceeds from the Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair enables the chamber to keep its membership dues at a very reasonable rate.

    In 1984, the Chamber of Commerce changed its name to the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce to demonstrate the importance of developing an area-wide approach to attract new commercial and industrial businesses. In 2006, the name was changed again to simply the Chamber of Commerce with the tagline “proudly serving Morrison County since 1888.”

    In 1991, the Chamber moved into its current offices located in the historic Cass Gilbert Depot. The results of a community-wide effort saved the historic train depot from demolition. Today, this proud structure is not only home to the chamber, but contains a community room that is enjoyed by many people on an annual basis.

    In 2007, the chamber’s website was redesigned and expanded to better serve the needs of the membership. Utilizing software specifically designed for chambers, this user-friendly programming enhances the value of membership and encourages regular visits as the site has become the ‘go-to’ place for up-to-date information on the chamber.

    The 35th anniversary of the Little Falls Arts & Crafts Fair was celebrated in 2007 with a fair that attracted 140,000 shoppers and just over 650 vendors. Over the years, this event has brought untold dollars to the local economy.

    On November 30, 2023, The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Little Falls officially merged to form the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. The new mission of the organization is ". . . to serve our members and promote our community as a dynamic place to visit, work and live."

    In our ever-changing world, the chamber has been and will continue to be a valuable resource for the community, supporting, not only chamber members but the greater community, through leadership development and financial support.