Cindy Poindexter, the president and CEO of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, looks back on a “roller coaster” year in this week’s Chatham Chat as the organization prepares to launch a new strategic plan.
The Chatham Chamber provides membership services to increase the visibility of its members among county residents, businesses, elected officials and awareness at a state, county and local level through business advocacy.
Let’s start with an update about things in general with the Chatham Chamber of Commerce. The last year has been a roller-coaster for most of us — what’s changed, what’s new, and what’s ahead at the Chamber?
As with most, our events have shifted to virtual events. We did have the largest golf tournament in 2020 that we have ever had before. We hope to move back to some in-person events as more restrictions are released. Folks are missing the networking aspect of events and seeing people in general.
The Chamber is currently working on a new Strategic Plan and hope to have it complete soon. We are consulting with Executive Service Corps on the plan.
As restrictions ease, we’re hearing and reading that more and more business owners have confidence about their prospects as we put some of the hardships of COVID-19 in the rear view mirror. What are you hearing from your members?
Many are wondering when and if there will be a “normal” again and feel that the hardships will linger on for quite some time. Some of our businesses have been doing well, depending on their type of business, while restaurants and others have struggled.
Some indicators point to unemployment numbers returning to near pre-COVID benchmarks. How would you assess the employment picture in Chatham County?
Hiring in general has been a problem for many of our businesses. Business owners are finding it difficult to find and hire people who want to work. Several have mentioned that people are choosing to draw unemployment. There are also some who are hesitant of taking on a new job because they’re still fearful that they will come in close contact with COVID-19, although vaccinations have helped in this scenario.
The Chamber continues to add new members. For businesses NOT affiliated with the Chamber, can you outline the benefits of being a part of the organization?
The Chamber’s mission is to focus on the economic vitality of Chatham County and the increased visibility and advocacy of our member businesses.
There are some businesses which join the Chamber simply to show community support, while others join for networking opportunities and to be involved with a broad group of businesses — strength in numbers.
The Chamber advocates for pro-business, serves as a business partner, a referral source and an informational resource. Members are listed on the Chamber website and in certain publications like the ChathamLife magazine, which is a publication of the News + Record. There are free educational events that member businesses are invited and encouraged to attend. There are other events offered that do have a small cost involved. Members receive discounts on these events over a non-member business. A Leadership Chatham program is also offered through the Chamber.
The Chamber also offers cost saving programs to our members through partnerships that have been formed. There are numerous reasons to be involved in your local Chamber. Per the results of a past survey, many businesses are considered more favorable if they are a member of their local Chamber of Commerce.
This week kicks off a new feature in the News + Record. What can you share with Chatham County about the “Chamber Talk” series you’ll be putting together?
Chamber Talk will cover chamber news and happenings along with member spotlights.
The Chatham Chamber is located at 531 East 3rd Street in Siler City. For more information, call 919-742-3333 or go to https://www.ccucc.net.
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