As with any organization, there is sometimes a mystery about them. Even though Chambers of Commerce have been around for centuries, there are still misconceptions about what they are and what they do.
One of the sayings in the Chamber world is that if you’ve seen one chamber, you’ve seen one chamber. Meaning that each one offers programs and events catered to its community and its member investors. As defined by Wikipedia, “a chamber of commerce (or board of trade) is a form of business network, for example, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a president, CEO or executive director, plus staffing appropriate to size, to run the organization.”
The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce is governed by a 14-member board and managed by me, the executive director, and greatly assisted by Liz MacDonald, administrator, and several dedicated volunteers called Ambassadors. Our mission is to promote a positive business environment and to enhance the quality of life in Newberry County by supporting the state and county economic development efforts while meeting the needs of our communities and members. Our vision is to create a community where every citizen, individual and corporate, can reach their full potential and become a positive contributor to Newberry’s economic well-being and quality of life.
A few ways in which we help businesses is by providing opportunities to network and build relationships; by referring clients for services, supports and products; and by providing resources and information related to current business needs and trials. Stop in or call to see how we can work with you!
Now on to dispel a few of the common myths:
Myth: The Chamber of Commerce is a part of government.
Fact: While the Chamber works with the county and its municipalities to promote the many great attributes of Newberry County, the Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6 non-profit entity whose funds primarily come from member investors. Those member investors, in turn, receive the benefits that come with Chamber membership.
Myth: The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce only supports the businesses in the City of Newberry.
Fact: While our office happens to be located in the heart of downtown Newberry, we represent the entire county and promote the activities and recreation opportunities available throughout the county. While we reserve our business support for our member investors, we actively promote any community activity of which we are made aware, for we also house the county’s official Visitors Center.
Myth: You have to meet certain criteria to become a member of the Chamber.
Fact: Anyone who is interested in bettering their business and/or their community can become a member of the Chamber of Commerce. We have large industries, small businesses, and even couples and individuals who are members. For a business with one to five employees, your monetary investment is less than $11 per month.
We welcome you to visit us on the first floor of Community Hall in downtown Newberry, located at 1209 Caldwell Street. You may also contact us at 803-276-4274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle Long is executive director of the Newberry Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at email@example.com.