Before the formation of the Chamber of Commerce, a Businessmen Association initially represented Stephenville’s business community. However, the Businessmen Association was limited in that their membership was restricted to business alone. Realizing the increasing need for broader representation in the area, Stephenville residents set forth to form a local chapter of the Chamber of Commerce.
The BSGCC would operate differently from that of Business Associations and would encourage membership from a broader spectrum of citizens in the area. Associates, corporations, societies, firms, or individual citizens concerned about the overall social and economic welfare of the Bay St. George Region were considered eligible for membership.
In 1955, Mr. Leo Bruce, using the services of a field worker from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as well as a number of Stephenville residents, formed the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce – the first chartered Chamber of Commerce in Newfoundland.
The popularity of the Chamber of Commerce quickly grew and spread across the province, which led the Businessmen’s Association to eventually change over to the Chamber of Commerce.
The history of the BSGCC is rich in the spirit of true enterprise. The focus has always been to encourage and promote the economic growth and prosperity of the region.