As soon as the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on Oct. 9, 1946, it began functioning as the governing body for Ridgecrest, a role the Chamber performed as the community experienced years of rapid growth to keep pace with growth of the Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake.
During those early years, the Chamber created and disseminated information about the Indian Wells Valley, studied living costs in the community, established the Desert Empire Fair, established a relationship with the China Lake Community Council, and helped bring such amenities as natural gas and street lights to the community. With Chamber assistance, the Desert Empire Fair became a separate entity in 1965.
With the First Annual Congress for Community Progress in 1966, the Chamber began a tradition of hosting events that gave community members an opportunity to learn about community progress and share ideas for the future. The tradition continued with the annual Economic Outlook Conference and Business Expo, which celebrates its 26th anniversary in 2013.
During the 67 years of its existence, the Chamber has initiated and maintained numerous business promotions and community events, such as ribbon-cuttings, after-hours mixers, Wine Walk events, the very popular Ridgecrest Star Follies, the Small Business Expo, and many other enjoyable events designed to foster the strength of our business community through enhanced communication.
The Chamber has also arranged and sponsored numerous workshops to educate the business community on such topics as labor law, marketing, and customer service.
The founding of the Ridgecrest Nexus Foundation by the Chamber in 1991 supports the development of cultural and educational projects in the community.
The Chamber has also taken a proactive role in efforts to grow the community’s economy through the founding of the Local Economic Development Corporation in 1981. The LEDC was later used as structure for IWV 2000 in 1994, then the IWV EDC in 2011. Relocation and visitors information plus demographics are provided to individuals and businesses interested in relocating to the Indian Wells Valley.
Today the Chamber is strong with almost 300 members and represents businesses from all industries and of all sizes.