When the Seneca Area Chamber of Commerce gathers for its annual Chamber banquet on Saturday, the group will have plenty of success to celebrate: 90 years worth, in fact.

This year’s banquet, with the theme, “90 years strong, and still growing,” will be a celebration of the Chamber’s growth, and will include a motivational talk, a catered, Mexican meal and individual awards.

“We’ve gotten some people involved, we have some committees that are working really hard and we’re working to bring more business into town,” said Seneca Chamber president Josh Dodson.
Dodson said the Chamber’s membership has grown recently and is now at approximately 75 members.

In addition, the Chamber has seen a few more businesses move into town.

“We are starting to see some growth,” Dodson said. “Right now we have another new antique store that will be opening this year. We’re really starting to get people to look into Seneca to bring their business here.”

In addition to the growth, Dodson said the Chamber also had some big accomplishments in 2012, including creating a newsletter and working to update the city’s map, a task that hadn’t been tackled in at least 30 years.

“We put all the businesses listed on the map,” Dodson said.
He said the maps are available to the public at the Chamber office, and will soon be available at the Seneca City Hall.

Headlining Saturday’s banquet will be Missouri Tigers quarterback James Franklin, who will begin his senior season this fall.

Franklin’s father, Willie, a former NFL player, served as the motivational speaker at the 2012 Seneca Chamber banquet.

Dodson said the younger Franklin will also have a motivational message to share, following a football season of obstacles, after switching from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference, battling injuries, and finishing 5-7 overall for the season.

“James has went through a lot of criticism and he’s had injuries he’s had to battle through,” Dodson said. “He’s just been through so much.”

Dodson said Franklin’s message will be along the lines of “No matter how small a community and business, we can overcome.”
Awards will also be presented that evening to the Chamber’s citizen of the year, business of the year, and the Chamber will also present the newly re-named service award, formerly the volunteer of the year award.

The night kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Seneca High School’s old gymnasium.

While the annual Chamber banquet is a night created for Chamber members, Dodson said the event is also open to the general public, so long as they RSVP in time.

He said the deadline to RSVP is Tuesday, and tickets are $10 per person.

For more information, please contact Jodean Willoughby at People’s Bank of Seneca, at 776-2111.