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May 09th, 2021

hooker chamber of commerce logoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

The chamber of commerce in Hooker, Okla., was established in June 1921. Its founding members formed the organization to promote business growth and enhance life in the Panhandle town.

Current Chamber President Mary Beth Puyear said the modern Hooker Chamber of Commerce holds true to that original charter.

“The chamber has always supported local businesses,” she said. 

Networking, addressing current issues, supporting business growth and promoting the Hooker community are the goals of the modern chamber.

This is accomplished through regular membership meetings, events and communication.

“They had some programs they would do downtown in the community,” Puyear said. “Over the years, it’s been the same as far as promoting the town, promoting the businesses here. Nowadays, we take care of the fireworks on the Fourth of July, and we do the Christmas decorations. We started doing a golf tournament.”

The number of Chamber members has stayed steady in recent years.

“Right now, I believe we’ve got 56 members this year,” she said. “Last year, we had a few more. We’re still finishing up our drive. People do support it well.”

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Puyear said Chamber officials believe in Hooker and are working to help the community prosper. Membership in the Chamber of Commerce also provides funds for events that encourage people to visit Hooker and shop in town.

“We do a chamber banquet,” Puyear said. “We do the community Easter egg hunt. We do the Fourth of July celebration and the fireworks. We do the Halloween parade. We do the Christmas parade and Christmas Cookie Crawl. We also have a scholarship program we started. We used to do the Miss Hooker pageant, and now, we started this year with just a general scholarship. We’re involved in almost every event that happens in Hooker.”

In addition, the Hooker Chamber of Commerce likewise participates in other local events like the Hooker Car Show and the Bulldog Network.

Puyear said having a Chamber of Commerce is vital to the economy of a small town like Hooker.

“We need all the support we can get to keep our town out there, make people aware of it, and our businesses help to promote that,” she said. “It’s very important, and the chamber does good things for the community.”

As for what it takes to run the Hooker Chamber of Commerce, Puyear said this relies  on much in the way of volunteerism.

“Nobody gets paid for any of our help,” she said. “We have community members who are willing to take their time to make this all work. It’s very time consuming, but it works, and it’s a worthwhile.”

The Chamber of Commerce also has a gift store, selling shirts and other kinds of memorabilia.

The Chamber’s 100th anniversary will be celebrated throughout June, with a special celebration June 26 running from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We’re going to have a junk fest, swap meet or a flea market during the day,” Puyear said. “In the evening, we’re going to have our chamber banquet, which will be downtown on Main Street this year. We’ll have the Alma Folklorica dancers from Goodwell. We’ll have a couple of singers. Ashley Jimenez is going to sing, and she’ll do Spanish and English, probably more country.”

Following the local talent and the banquet, Casi Joy, a former contestant on “The Voice,” will take the stage for the night’s main concert.

“It’ll be a full day,” Puyear said. “We’re going to have vendors at our junk fest. We’ve gotten quite a few already. They’ll be selling jewelry. We’ll have some food vendors.”

Puyear again praised the work of those who help keep the Hooker Chamber of Commerce running.

“We have some very good volunteers who help us in our town,” he said. “People in our town are helpful and supportive, no matter what we’re doing.”

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