Chamber of Commerce – What’s the big deal?

By Fran Blackney
Communications Director

Often we are asked, “Why should I join the Chamber? What will I get out of it?” Although the quick and correct answer is, “Because it’s the smart thing to do for your business”, we know we have to go into a lot more detail to describe all the benefits. Once we’re done, we usually have a new member.

So, why should you join the chamber and what do we do?

Simply read the Clovis Chamber Mission Statement for the answer: “The Mission of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce is to advocate and support a healthy business environment which improves the quality of life in Clovis.”

Everything we do is to enhance the local economy by working in the background so our members can succeed in the foreground. We do this by supporting business, advocating against onerous legislation, promoting the city and taking part in community activities.

Chambers of commerce maintain a solid reputation among the public. A recent study done by the research firm The Shapiro Group upheld the chambers’ standing. It found that 63% of consumers were more likely to purchase goods from a company that belonged to the local chamber of commerce. Chamber members reap the benefit of the public’s positive opinions that members sell better quality merchandise, are more trustworthy, care about their customers and are worthy of return visits. All that goodwill comes from simply displaying your membership plaque in your store or the chamber logo on your website.

The work of the Clovis Chamber can be categorized into four areas – membership, advocacy, promotion and community.

Our number one top priority and most valuable assets are our members, business owners who support the Chamber’s mission by investing in the Chamber programs that include networking events, Leads Clubs, the Women Business Owners Roundtable, Speed Networking and Lunch Connect. Our monthly mixers attract well over 130 people and our Annual Dinner and Salute to Business honors our members.

Clovis Chamber members are included on our website with exciting opportunities to enhance their listings. They can advertise in our new Lifestyle and Resource Guide that showcases our businesses and area attractions. Our newsletter, the Chamber Insider that is distributed to over 30,000 residents offers more advertising opportunities as well as exposure in our Good News articles.

With our new and improved social media platforms, we are able to post announcements from our members on FaceBook and Twitter.

The relationship with our members is very important so we show our appreciation by only referring people to our Chamber businesses. This is a valuable benefit because we receive many weekly phone calls.

One of the most advantageous benefits of our membership program is the ability to work with Diana Hunnicutt our Membership Director. In the year she has been with the Chamber, she has added new members and created a new excitement about belonging to our organization.

The second area of support comes from our advocacy program. Over the years we have successfully opposed a major sales tax increase, held workshops and fought back against expensive propositions on the ballot including a 1% tax hike for preschools and SB2, mandated health care. Chamber members serve on various boards and committees with the city of Clovis. We receive no government funding, so we are able to do pure advocacy on behalf of our members. We also endorse and support pro-business candidates through our political action committee.

Promotion is our third area of influence. This comes from presenting two of the largest events in the Central Valley – BIG Hat Days and ClovisFest. These promote not only the Chamber and its members but also the city of Clovis since most of the 400 vendors post the event on their websites. It also brings in over $9 million to city businesses according to the economic development department.

The events are usually the largest weekends for Old Town merchants, Chamber members receive discounts on booth space and the Chamber re-invests the profits into its programs.

Working with the community is our very important fourth area of support.

The Chamber has great respect for Clovis Unified and works effortlessly to support its programs and values. We have actively campaigned for every school bond that has enhanced every school building in the district. Our members serve on school committees and we also interact with the students at CART, mentoring several on how to interview for jobs.

The most impactful relationship with CUSD has been through our Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA!. From day one, the district has supported the program and helped recruit students by sending e-mails to district parents and allowing the Chamber to go on campus to speak to prospective new YEA! participants.

The Chamber website serves as a community information site as organizations can list their events on our detailed calendar. Residents also are downloading our smartphone app that sends out notifications of our events.

Even the building that houses the Chamber has deep community roots. Built as a Carnegie Library in 1915, it has served us well as we celebrate its centennial this year.

Now that you know why you should join the Clovis Chamber, how do you do that? It’s simple. You can call Diana Hunnicutt at 299-7363 or email her at Diana clovischamber.com. If you’re anxious to become a member, visit our web site at www.clovischamber and complete the application online. No matter how you do it, you’re making a very smart decision for your business.

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