On March 6, the Membership Committee, headed by Christine Coster, held a lively and informative gathering at Studio 509 on Valley Street in Maplewood. The event welcomed new members and those who are interested in learning more about Chamber membership.

The Chairs of our standing committees were on hand to offer insight into how our programs and activities promote and enrich members and their businesses. Among the many benefits explored were advocacy for local businesses, networking opportunities, educational events, and the Membership Advantage program, which offers exclusive member to member privileges.

Guests were invited to share their comments and responses to focus questions (see sampling below), which led to an impassioned discussion about what our local businesses need and want; what each individual feels they can offer the community and the Chamber; and how together we can continue to build a Chamber of Commerce that is responsive to the 21st century needs of a diverse and growing membership.

We eagerly look forward to another New Member Event in the near future.

Sampling of Focus Questions and Responses

As a business owner, what are your greatest challenges?

  • brainstorming alone
  • Creating local brand/product awareness
  • handling finances
  • growing clientele
  • handling the “unexpected”

What are your Hopes for our Town and the Community?

  • that our independent business community can feel confident that they can grow a thriving business in SOMA (and afford to live here)
  • get more businesses to join [the Chamber]
  • see more incentives that drive revenue
  • more networking and collaboration for a win/win

What do you think we could achieve as a town if our business community came together?

  • We can become an independently wealthy business community that can operate by the support of our community members. If the community continues to support our businesses, GREAT things can happen.
  • a political force leading the way. Like a new (Amazon) Maplewood
  • fill the gap that taxes don’t cover in our schools, towns, parks etc.

What can you bring to the table?

  • strategic consulting
  • mobile solutions
  • education on financial methods and choices
  • a beautiful lawn

Thank you to Holly Benge of Studio 509 for opening up her magnificent space to us.