Deer Creek has no mayor. It has no city council, no court, no post office. It's a school district in a fast-growing residential area.
But it does have a nearly 100-member chamber of commerce.
Not to be confused with the small town in Grant County, Deer Creek Schools is a 72-square-mile district founded in 1921 that includes portions of Oklahoma, Logan and Canadian counties, and parts of Oklahoma City and Edmond.
“The reason we started the chamber was we figured why not create a virtual city to do things a municipality could do without being one,” said Rob Talbot, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
Most of the member businesses are not situated in the district, but the business owners and employees live there.
When organized as a chamber of commerce, Talbot said, residents can work with schools, county commissioners, Edmond and Oklahoma City to influence development.
The chamber was established in 2009, and membership has steadily increased to 97 businesses.
Chamber President Mike Ellenberg said he would like the chamber to become a place where people can go to voice their grievances.
“We want to be able to have a presence to be able to rally people together,” he said. “If you don't want certain housing or businesses coming in, where do you go and who do you go to?”
Ellenberg said the chamber hasn't had the opportunity to become heavily involved in development but is getting increasingly involved in community affairs.
In addition to holding fundraisers for the fire department and Special Olympics, the chamber sponsored a school board candidate debate before the February election.
The chamber has a website at deercreeknews.com, which Talbot runs.
Aside from activism, the chamber is primarily concerned with commerce.
Pattie Wilton, who owns Sweet Peace, a retail store in Edmond, said being a member has presented her business with good opportunities to advertise and build relationships.
And because there isn't a downtown area or many places to gather in Deer Creek, those relationships can be difficult to start.
Talbot said that is the most basic reason the chamber exists; to create a community with a school district rather than just being a school district.
As the community continues to grow, Ellenberg said, he wants the chamber to be a part of it.
“You can't stop the growth,” he said, “and we embrace it because we want the right kind of growth.”
At a glance
Deer Creek School District Chamber of Commerce
Dues are $100 a year for business with 10 or more employees, $60 for companies with two to nine employees and $25 for individuals. Individuals can join regardless of whether they own a business. Send dues to P.O. Box 31231, Edmond, OK 73003. For more information, call 471-7526 or email