Roy noted chambers of commerce provide opportunities for networking and “word of mouth’ promotion, as well as bottom-line savings through various programs like group insurance, merchant services, courier and petroleum discounts, among others. More importantly, they are advocates to government on behalf of the business community.
Roy said due to the closure of the local chamber, the business community has not had the opportunity to be heard on important provincial issues like the recent increase to WorkSafe NB premiums or the proposed new holiday in February, which would be yet another cost to business.
In another example, she described a call to action that was given by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to local chambers from coast-to-coast-to-coast, urging them to write to their members of parliament to protest a planned tax on employer-provided health plans. The call to action was successful and the federal government changed its plans. She noted however, with the chamber closed, there was no participation from the Sackville-Dorchester-Port Elgin area.
Business leaders attending the meeting agreed the chamber had value and should be re-established as soon as possible. Participants decided to form a task force to seek out five or six additional volunteers from the business community to get involved. Interested parties should contact Gwen Zwicker by June 9 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A second meeting with the task force will be held in mid-June to discuss activities needed to successfully re-launch the local chamber.
About the The Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce
Established in 1991, the Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce grew out of the economic development corporation (SEDCO). Representing the downtown merchant community, it recognized that a more broad based organisation was needed if Sackville and the surrounding area was to progress. While very active through the 1990s and early part of the millennium, the chamber has struggled recently due to a shrinking business base, difficulty attracting and retaining members and lack of volunteer time.