During Sudbury's early years, many local small businesses believed that Sudbury was on the verge of great expansion and growth and wanted to encourage new businesses to come to the area. On March 30, 1895, a group of 34 small businesses got together to form an organization that would promote business opportunities in Sudbury, while helping existing businesses and residents to deal with issues concerning insurance, railway rates, roads, and other relevant issues. This organization was known as the Board of Trade of the Town of Sudbury and the Township of McKim. On October 3, 1895, the association was officially incorporated and became known as the Sudbury Board of Trade.
The Sudbury Board of Trade's first president was Frank Cochrane. He was the owner of the Cochrane Dunlop Hardware store, and went on to become one of the most successful politicians in the area. Despite a railway accident that claimed his right leg as a young man, Frank became a councillor and mayor, and eventually became the Minister of Railways for the federal government. Early on, Frank's hardware store burned down and he decided to rebuild on a much larger scale, believing that the town would expand enough to justify the size of the store.
For a fee of $3.00, any small business in the Sudbury community was welcome to join the Sudbury Board of Trade. The founding members consisted of butchers, merchants, insurance agents, jewelers, and even the bank manager. One of the 34 founders was James A. Orr, owner of the local newspaper office and one of nine directors on the Board of Trade. James was so devoted to the Sudbury community that he refused to publish anything negative about the community or its business ventures. He even helped to establish Sudbury as the "Nickel Capital of the World."
In fact, some of the founding businesses are still operating to this day. They include Baikie's Book Shop (now known as Muirheads Stationary), established in 1892, Brown's Concrete (est. 1908), and Sudbury Steam Laundry (est. 1901).