The Plaistow Area Commerce Exchange was the result of a belief that a close working relationship and communication with the business community was essential. Rapid changes and accelerated growth within the towns was a serious issue and no means existed to address these concerns. A Plaistow resident and business owner, Davena Szmyt, contacted a few other business owners in September of 1985 to ask their opinion about the need for an organization. Its purpose would be to bring business and professional people together to address issues of common concern, to get to know each other better, and work toward a more structured direction for the future growth and prosperity within the community.
The response was overwhelmingly favorable! An informal meeting was scheduled and approximately eight individuals were invited. There were pre-requisites: that the organization would be non-profit, that contribution, cooperation and communication would be its foundation and that dues would be minimal, in order that no one would be excluded for monetary reasons. Members would contribute their skills, knowledge and materials to make the organization meaningful as well as a success.
Twenty four men and women attended the first meeting at Sawyers Restaurant on October 29th, 1985 at 7:30 am for coffee and a brainstorming sessions. The agenda was carefully organized and covered Purpose, Structure, Liability, Locations, Names, Dues and Issues. The pros and cons were carefully discussed and the enthusiasm was contagious!
A name was chosen, a nominating committee and a membership committee was organized from volunteers, and bylaws, hotline, newsletter, program and public relations committees were formed. Following the second meeting, the membership outgrew the restaurant and P.A.C.E. moved to Sawyers Banquet Hall. From the first person, to the next 8 who were called, to the 24 that attended, there were 87 members on the first anniversary. That figure has grown to 117 total members!
P.A.C.E. has flourished, brought many new friendships together, and is well respected as a contributor to the five towns it serves. It represents a unified and knowledgeable organization as a voice for the business sector and addresses current and future issues. Its monthly programs are diversified and informative, ranging from the New Hampshire State Attorney General, the Mayor of Haverhill, the Transportation and Banking Commissioners from New Hampshire, Advertising versus Public Relations, to the inventor of the better mousetrap!
P.A.C.E. sponsored a Toys for Tots Program, and a Candidates Night and will continue to offer programs of community interest. A Hotline serves as a warning and notification media to alert all members immediately of important activity which may affect their business.
The History of P.A.C.E. is carefully documented by the Historian and a monthly newsletter contains up to date information on activities, functions, and business news items. The membership is extremely loyal in supporting and promoting local businesses. With continued support, hard work and a meaningful program P.A.C.E. will prosper within its respective communities.” 1988 P.A.C.E. Community Information Booklet.
Currently, P.A.C.E. communicates to its members through e-mail and the newsletter is issued bi-monthly.
In 2007, we voted to include two more towns to round out our service area for a total of seven: Atkinson, Danville, Hampstead, Kingston, Newton, Plaistow and Sandown. We continue with the original mission and purpose under the Motto “Prosperity and Strength Through Unity.”