Harrison Avenue in historic downtown Harrison, Ohio.
(Harrison, Oh.) - A newly formed group wants to help existing businesses and attract new ones to Harrison.
The Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce is in the early stages of its formation, which began earlier this year when the organization registered its by-laws with the State of Ohio. Like most chambers of commerce, the Greater Harrison version will be a unified voice and advocate for local businesses, whether they are in the downtown historic district, located on the city’s hilltop, or in neighboring parts of Indiana.
Don Patterson, President and CEO of West Harrison-based Merchants Bank & Trust, chairs the chamber’s board of directors. He said one of the chamber’s objectives is to prepare the surrounding area for business expansion and new business he believes will occur in the next few years.
“We’re trying to put Harrison on the map,” said Patterson. “We have a lot of dynamic commercial businesses in this area and want to educate the community on who is here.”
Some of that growth has already occurred. Cincinnati Test Systems located to a new home on New Haven Road earlier this year. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has announced an expansion of Cincinnati West Airport, in addition to offering more classes at its Harrison location starting this fall. The city’s population boomed 32 percent to almost 10,000 residents between 2001 and 2011.
Harrison has had a chamber of commerce in the past, but it disbanded in the 1980s. Patterson credited City of Harrison Economic Development Director Jennifer Ekey for reviving the idea. She recruited many of the chamber's 11 board members.
The Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce is planning a membership drive to begin in September, Patterson said. The drive will be highlighted by some type of kick-off event in October or November, but no specific details have been announced.
Patterson said the chamber will welcome businesses and individuals from outside the City of Harrison, hence the use of “greater” in the organization’s name.
“This is still an infant, but we’re prepared to grow,” said Patterson
The chamber’s board of directors meets each Tuesday at the Harrison Community Center. Area residents wishing to get involved with the chamber are asked to contact Don Patterson at Merchants Bank & Trust.
The Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is made up of representatives from businesses big and small:
Chairman Don Patterson, Merchants Bank
Vice Chairman Jeff Wernke, Balance Fitness
Secretary J.W. Day, Hubert Company
Membership Co-Chair Doris Gibbons, Gibbons Insurance Agency
Joe Maas, JTM
John Frerick, Monk’s Kitchen
Ryan Grubbs, Caroline Hall Hennig Agency
Gerilyn Jobe, Coffee Peddlar
Nan Cahall, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Lori Enright, Eagle 99.3
Gary Ellerhorst, Crown Plastics