Saturday, February 4, 2012

Anderson Chamber Connects Businesses

Photo by Joe McGarity

This week’s Fantom Penguin story is brought to you by Majestic Limousine.  Ride in Royal Style.

The Fantom Penguin recently stopped by the Anderson Chamber of Commerce for a conversation with Chamber Manager Debe Hopkins.  He asked her if it was safe to assume that people already know what a Chamber of Commerce is and what it does.

“Probably not.  I get a lot of phone calls that have nothing to do with what we do but that’s okay, but it just tells me that probably people don’t.  We’re pretty much a business advocate within a community.  We facilitate networking events and things of that nature so that people can promote their business rather inexpensively.  As you can see, we have cards and brochures of all the different members and it’s a good way for members to interact with other members and just for business people in the community to get to know other business people in the community and make others aware of what they do.”

One of the ways in which the Chamber accomplishes this is through its frequent ‘Greeters’ events.

“That’s what we do every Wednesday morning 8:00 am at a different business.  Again, that’s a networking type of event.  We go to a different business.  All the members or whatever members who attend greeters, they all come there.  They have coffee, you know, donuts -- whatever, some sort of beverage and refreshments and it gives that business a chance to showcase themselves, let everybody know what they do, see where they are and it increases business quite a bit.  A lot of people have increased their business just from the networking that’s available through the chamber.”

“We definitely encourage people to come as guests to see if it’s something they’d like to participate in, but basically it’s members of the chamber and it’s just a good way to network.”

What does it take to become a member of the chamber?

“Basically if you’re a business or an individual actually could join if they like and we have a yearly fee depending on the number of employees.  And that’s pretty much it.  The board has to approve the application, but so far we’ve turned no one down.”

The Fantom Penguin asked Hopkins her opinion of the business climate in Anderson.

“Actually, I think we’re doing pretty darn well considering the shape most cities are in.  There have been some small businesses who haven’t made it through, but I think percentage-wise we’re probably doing better than most of the surrounding cities.  So I think we’re doing alright and the people that are still in business, they’re thriving.  They’re doing well and things are picking up, so I think we’re doing very well here.”

What about the much larger City of Redding just to the north?

“Well, we like to think in terms of ‘We’re all part of the same community.’   We have many Redding members in our chamber and many businesses in Anderson belong to the Redding Chamber.  So, it’s kind of the same only bigger, really.  They have their greeters every Thursday morning.  They do events like we do events.  Whatever we do, they’re doing only bigger.   I definitely . . . and I know the city as well, we try to break down the whole barrier of ‘us and them’.  It’s just we’re all the Northstate.  We’re all one community.”

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