Chamber seeks input, new members

by nathan oster

Representatives of the Greybull Area Chamber of Commerce have been pounding the pavement perhaps like never before, trying to solicit input about past, present and future chamber efforts and sell memberships for the new year.

It’s all part of an effort to “build a great new chamber,” said Sue Anderson, the chamber’s executive director and a member of its membership committee, along with Julie Bilbrey, Sherri Emmett, Selena Brown and Donette Prows.

In the last couple of weeks, the chamber has distributed comprehensive surveys to all 79 of its members, and Anderson said in an e-mail to chamber members that many of them have already been returned.

The input has been “uplifting,” she said. “It’s been great, as far as the new ideas that are coming through that process.”

The membership committee is also going to be making a better attempt this year to reach businesses who have left chamber or who have never been members of the chamber.

“We’re also letting folks know that there are many changes in the works within the chamber, and lately it has become an exciting idea factory (which almost all of us are giddy about, but also slightly overwhelmed),” said Bilbrey. “One change already implemented is that we have modified the bylaws to allow the membership to elect board members. We are inviting nominations to the board on the first page of the survey, so please write in few names that you believe would be positive additions to the board – and watch for a ballot headed your way around Dec. 1.”

Anderson said that with 79 active members, a little more than half of local business are chamber members.  When she started, there were just 42.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good support,” she said.

But even more is needed if the chamber is going to continue to evolve.  Anderson said membership fees make up more than half of the chamber’s annual revenue.  They range in price from a low of $40 per year, which is the fee for individuals and nonprofit organizations, to a high of $255, which is the going rate for a business with more than 16 employees.

For those interested in joining, a membership form can be found on the chamber’s website, www.greybull.com.

So what has the chamber been doing?  And how, specifically, has it been promoting the town?

According to the chamber, some of its more significant recent accomplishments include:

• Joined GoExplore Wyoming

• Co-sponsored the Greybull Community Assessment with the Greybull Economic Development Board

• Welcomed chamber volunteer Selena Brown

• Modified bylaws transferring election of board members to membership

• Teamed up with the town on the 2013 Holidazzle planning

• Developed the “Rally Round the Fire Pit” holiday shopping promotion

• Distributed 79 surveys to active chamber members

• Hosted a hospitality meeting for area lodging businesses

Among its “in progress” projects are distributing 41 surveys to inactive chamber members in the hopes of winning them back, distributing 200-plus surveys to potential chamber members, developing “welcome bags” for new utility customers, and implementing a comprehensive and long overdue “facelift” for all things chamber (while not changing things that are working well).

On the horizon are the release of the community assessment results and the chamber survey results, development of area activities and events and participation in the Main Street program.

 

Want to serve on board?

If you would like to serve on the chamber board, there will likely be two openings for 2014.

The seven-member board currently consists of Julie Owens, Barbara Anne Greene, Jade Smith, Ernie Smith, Bilbrey, Prows and Emmett.

Smith and Greene have announced that they will leave the board at the end of the year.