By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
When I meet new people and tell them where I work, I often see the question forming in their minds: "What's a Chamber of Commerce and what does it do?" But usually, they are too embarrassed to ask.
To put it simply, a Chamber of Commerce is a network of businesses and organizations that join together with the goal of furthering the business interests of those members. In a broader spectrum, these entities work together to improve the economic well-being of the entire community.
The first Chamber is said to have formed in 1599 in France. The oldest Chamber in the U.S. started in 1768 in Jersey, followed by the New York City Chamber later that same year.
The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce got its start as the Commercial Club of Alexandria in March 1907.
The Chamber is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit funded by membership dues and fundraising events and governed by a board of directors representing the many different business sectors in the community.
So that's what a Chamber is, now let's talk about what it does.
We help our members build relationships with others in the community. The networking opportunities we offer get you face-to-face with people who are potential clients, collaborators, volunteers, etc. We do the work to give you the opportunities. Nothing sells your business better than being in front of people.
We help market and provide visibility to our members. We encourage member-to-member business, we refer our members to potential clients who walk through our doors, call us or email us. We share information on our members via our social media platforms, newsletter and website.
We provide educational opportunities and a variety of events, all designed to help our members succeed.
We also work hard to connect our local business with the community. We collaborate with local entities such as economic development, the downtown association, city, county and others to find ways to connect needs to resources, to find solutions to problems, and to do a variety of other things to ensure the community remains vibrant and strong.
Again, to put it simply, the Chamber promotes the Alexandria Lakes Area as the ultimate destination to live, work, play and prosper.
We'd love to hear from you! Give us a call at (320) 763-3161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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