Who Does the Chamber Represent?
Common misperceptions about Chambers of Commerce exist. Is the Chamber an exclusive golf club and a bastion of good ole boys? Do we just hand out maps and cater to big business? I will answer in order but one sentence really says it all.
“This ain’t your granddad’s Chamber anymore.”
We do plan on hosting a golf tournament in June. It’s my only golf outing of the year. I provide comic relief and serve as an anchor to my team’s remote chances of winning.Others golf more than I do and I’m sure deals are made out on the links. However, I simply couldn’t afford the dredging permit from TRPA, once they witnessed my game.
Exclusive, hardly, the Chamber has a completely open nomination and election process. Each year, a third of the Board has to stand for election. The by-laws require that nominees be selected from the regular membership. This results in some new Board members and fresh ideas each year. And we open our arms to all residents and business owners at all of our meetings, seminars, forums and mixers.
Good old boys:
I don’ think so. There are dynamic, intelligent women currently on our Board of Directors. Our past president was a woman and so is our current Vice President.
Just hand out maps:
Visitors call & e-mail us for information. We handle visitors phone calls and provide referrals to lodging properties, restaurants and our other members. If we cannot take care of their requests then we refer our visitors to businesses that can assist them.
The hits to our state of the art web-site are growing exponentially. We do have maps on line that visitors can find to help them navigate our community. All these visitor visits result in TOT to the City, not to mention the sales taxes generated. It would cost the City a lot of additional money and staff to handle the same level of request for assistance, that is, if they could somehow match our ability to capture the visitor phone calls and traffic. Being a Chamber of Commerce (brand name for visitor info) is what causes the visits and phone calls. It’s a no-brainer, with a net benefit to the City.
Cater to Big business:
Your Chamber has become the champion of small business in this community. We make no excuses for defending and promoting all businesses in this community. The truth is, businesses are over taxed and over regulated and it is our charge to protect, inform them and encourage environmentally friendly economic development. The vast majority of our programs and government relations strategies are designed to benefit and defend small businesses. We offer the programs to small businesses that big businesses can afford to pay for themselves.
Your Chamber volunteer board members have individually provided counseling in business planning, marketing and financing. Our members need advice on tax law, street law, HR problems, employee transportation and housing, customer service and much more.
Our volunteer board members continually promote and refer business to all our members. Even though we take the heat for stands against bullying bureaucracies we take it for the right reasons on behalf of our small business owners who may not have the time or information they need to take on the government. All the above is why we can easily say, “this ain’t your granddad’s Chamber anymore.”
By Duane Wallace