By Genine Hopkins
Harrison’s business community gathered for a meeting to discuss the situation of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is struggling with revenue and a lack of available volunteers for its events and committees, and when word reached Mayor Stacy Stocking, he knew the city had to take action.
The over two hour long meeting was held on Monday, September 16, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., at City Hall, and it was standing room only. Everyone remained very civil, but despite the potential for venting, it seemed that everyone was on board to work together to save the Chamber.
At the heart of the matter was how important the Harrison Chamber is to local businesses. With Harrison remaining a solid tourist town, it seemed a consensus that the Harrison Chamber was not only necessary but needed very badly.
According to Stocking, several items were discussed from increasing business participation as volunteers at events such as the Frost Bite Winterfest, to potentially asking members to come together and donate a bit more than the yearly $200 membership fee to help keep the Chamber financially solvent.
“As a tourist town, the Chamber performs vital functions for visitors, directing them to local businesses, as well as host events such as the Frost Bite,” he said, “Whether to keep the Chamber or not isn’t really an option, we just need to figure out how to keep above water to continue to serve both businesses and our guests.”
Because so many small businesses in Harrison are operated by the owners, who often work side by side with their employees, finding the time to volunteer for functions that bring additional business to the community is often at odds with proper staffing and management. But most of the owners and managers were willing to open up their schedules to find time to help out if needed, to keep the Chamber going.
Another meeting will be held next week, with the network of city officials and local business owners hoping to work out a viable plan to save their beloved Chamber.