Athens Area Chamber reopens office after 2017 fire

Posted 4/25/19

Twenty-one months after a devastating fire, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has returned to their home on 13 North Jackson Street in Downtown Athens. The Chamber of Commerce had been operating out of the McMinn County Courthouse since the fire on July 1, 2017.

Now t the Chamber has been restored and is operating once again out of its former location, President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Preston commented on how it feels to be home. “It’s a great feeling to be back. We are the welcome center of Athens and we need a presence. Our new office is fresh and clean and very inviting.”

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Athens Area Chamber reopens office after 2017 fire

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Twenty-one months after a devastating fire, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has returned to their home at 13 North Jackson St. in Downtown Athens. It had been operating out of the McMinn County Courthouse since the fire on July 1, 2017.
Now the local Chamber of Commerce has been restored and is operating once again out of its former location, President and CEO Rob Preston commented on how it feels to be home. “It’s a great feeling to be back. We are the welcome center of Athens and we need a presence. Our new office is fresh and clean and very inviting.”

Along with being completely restored by East Tennessee Construction of Englewood, the Chamber has new furniture, electrical fixtures and a new conference room with audio visual capabilities.

Although the Chamber’s road back to their home was not immediate, Preston noted ultimately, the situation was a blessing.
“I think God works things out,” he said. “So much good has come from this and I give God all the credit and glory for that.”

Each summer the chamber holds an event to raise funds to benefit a “project” in the community. A lot of the proceeds from this summer’s event will go to toward the new office.
“People have been so kind and supportive,” Preston said. “We live in a wonderful community and state.” He noted several other cities had reached out after the fire.
With each event having a special guest, this year’s guest is the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.
“We’ve had some good ones over the years, like Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Nick Saban, Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson,” Preston said. “I’m really looking forward to meeting a former president and hearing his remarks.”

For more information about the chamber, you can call the office at 423-745-0334 or visit the website, www.athenschamber.org.


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