Leaders say chamber financially sound

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 08:33 PM

Two High Point Chamber of Commerce leaders said Friday that the organization is on sound financial footing and is able to make payments on a $2 million loan that funded renovations and improvements to its building.

The chamber board and many of its past chairmen met Friday afternoon to discuss the future of one of the city’s leading business groups that serves 1,150 member companies and employers. The meeting took place against the backdrop of the retirement announcement late last month of Tom Dayvault, who has served as chamber president and chief executive officer for the past 12 years. Dayvault, 64, announced Feb. 27 that he plans to retire at the end of the year.
In an interview with The High Point Enterprise following the board meeting, Dayvault and chamber board Chairman Kelly Sain acknowledged that the recession has challenged the chamber and its finances. Sain also acknowledged that one of the steps taken at the board meeting Friday afternoon was collecting funds for the chamber’s benefit.
The chamber has the expense of a $2 million loan with a local bank that was used to do extensive interior work to the chamber building on N. Main Street — a building that was donated to the organization last decade by High Point businessman Zaki Khalifa.
When asked by the Enterprise if the chamber has been late or defaulted on any payment for the loan, Sain replied that the chamber has “the funds to make the payments.”
Dayvault said the chamber’s membership of 1,150 has stayed relatively steady since before the onset of the Great Recession and through the nation and area’s economic tough times of the past several years.  
Sain said Dayvault’s retirement wasn’t a forced departure. At its meeting, the board discussed “succession planning” and forming a task force to find a replacement for Dayvault.
Sain said Dayvault will stay on with the chamber either as planned through the end of the year, or possibly depart earlier if a successor is hired and in place in a quicker time frame.
Sain said the chamber board is mulling whether to look for a new president locally or from within North Carolina or from another part of the Southeast or country.
pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528