From Homesteads to High-rise: A History of Progress
The Draper Area Chamber of Commerce has a long history dating back to efforts during the mid-1990s by leaders of the original town’s incorporation. The genesis of the Chamber was sometime in 1994 when the business owners like Alan Summerhays and Darrell Smith set out specifically to grow and develop the business community in the growing city of Draper Utah. There was originally a frontier fort that was named Fort Draper on the site of what is now Draper City. Settlers arrived in 1847 and bought and homesteaded property in the South end of what is now the Wasatch Front or the “Salt Lake Valley”. Stores were built and opened and this formed the first real commerce for the area. A very small US Post Office came later and the village was called Draper, after William Draper, one of the first settlers.
A new decade brings Commercial Group and Chamber of Commerce
The exact date of the change from Commercial Group to the Chamber of Commerce is unclear because there are no real minutes from the earlier period. We know from state Department of Commerce records that the Draper Area Chamber of Commerce was officially chartered in 1995. The Draper Area Chamber was one of many such organizations formed in the state. When the new city hall was established in the Old Park School, space was allocated for the Chamber office in that building. The Chamber operated mainly at that location until the mid 2000s. The current Chamber President was involved in a restoration project of the former Fitzgerald House that is now the offices of the Draper Area Chamber of Commerce
In 1998 the Draper Chamber Board of Directors commissioned a design of a Draper Chamber Logo that represented Draper’s three peaks that can be seen from anywhere in the city. This has been the Draper Area Chamber’s brand and standard now for 16 years. The first president and CEO, Kim Phelps, was hired in late 2001 and spent about a year in that position. She then relocated to Colorado with her family following her husband’s job transfer. The second CEO was hired in 2002 after a long and exhaustive search was completed and final candidates carefully interviewed. The offer to lead the Draper Area Chamber of Commerce as President and CEO was made to William E. Rappleye, having ended a one year stint with the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee as a telecom Manager and business experience that included over 20 years as a Manager and Executive in the Cable Television and Telecom industry. Board meetings were hosted then at the Draper Zion’s Bank. The Draper Chamber had 68 members then and was ranked about 26th in the State for Chambers of Commerce in Utah. Today the Draper Chamber Ranks 11th in the state of Utah with close to 500 members.
What’s next for the Draper Area Chamber of Commerce?
If the last fourteen years is any indication, the future for the Draper Area Chamber of Commerce is bright. Draper City has become a desired location in the state to locate new and expanding businesses because of its strategic central location. With the massive investment in transportation systems and forward looking zoning, the expectation is for sustained economic growth, including a multitude of quality high paying employers choosing Draper City as the place to be. The Draper Chamber is continually reviewing and improving its processes and services, thus adding value to its membership. As with any member centric organization it is the Members and their commitment involvement that that brings the real value to our Chamber of Commerce in Draper City. We welcome and encourage you to be part of and to help create our bold future and lasting legacy is Draper City.
The Draper Area Chamber of Commerce,
Your Local Business Champions!