From the desk of the President of the Board of Directors
Hello Chamber Members and Friends:
Thank you for visiting the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, an independent membership organization serving businesses in Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, and Sunderland.
The Chamber of Commerce is a business, and the business of the Chamber is business. In a nutshell, our goal is to make it easier for our members to grow their businesses. To meet that goal, we offer three core services, things you just cannot get online:
- Providing opportunities for our members to meet face-to-face and create valuable business relationships;
- Showcasing our members' products and services to help them attract new customers and clients; and
- Advocating for our members' interests at the state and local level.
Valuable business relationships do not just appear. So at our regular After 5events, we bring our members together to learn more about one another's businesses. It's not about amassing business cards. It's about getting to know people properly; shaking hands, looking them in the eye, and establishing a rapport. That way, when you refer customers and clients to other Chamber members you can do so safe in the knowledge that the referral will enhance your reputation.
Showcasing means putting our members' goods and services on display in a way that lets potential customers and clients learn more, e.g. via lunch-time seminars and presentations. Just like building valuable business relationships, this involves actually meeting and conversing with other human beings in real time. Certainly, we know the value of social media, online marketing, and search engine optimization (which is why we are overhauling our website in March 2018) but our showcasing events provide something extra.
Advocacy involves staying in touch with area legislators and town officials to let them know how state and local government could help our members create more jobs. It's a two-way street; when local policymakers want to take the pulse of the business community, they know who to call. At the Chamber's annual Legislative Breakfast, our members meet and talk with their state representatives and senators, and sometimes with officials from the executive branch. Last year, for example, our guest was Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
So if you own or run a business in this part of the world, I have a simple suggestion that will help you improve your bottom line: Join the Chamber! Right now!
By the way, belonging to the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce is not just being part of an independent organization that provides three core services. Belonging to the Chamber means more than that. It is part of being part of the community.
Because when I describe the Chamber as "independent," here's what I mean: We are a membership organization, not a government agency. Our employees report to a board of directors, which is elected by (and accountable to) the members. We rely solely on the annual dues that our members pay, plus the funding we receive from the companies that sponsor our events. And we are not an affiliate of any regional or national body, e.g. the U.S. Chambers of Commerce. Like our members, we are 100% home-grown and locally-owned!
Once again, thank you for visiting.
Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
Serving Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury, and Sunderland