In 1912, on the occasion of its 15th anniversary, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce – or the Vernon Board of Trade as it was then called – reflected on the organization’s role in the community.
At its heart the principle was simple: “The efforts made by a strong body will always have far-reaching influence, while the efforts made by a single individual too often amount to little or nothing,” reflected board members in a collective submission to the local paper.
Support from the community then, as now, was vital: “The board that has the support of the people in the community where it exists is a board that has strength and power in the land … Vernon’s star is now in the ascendant and whether it continues in its progressive course depends entirely upon the people.”
Today, the 550-member-strong Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce builds on this longstanding history with a mandate more diverse than ever. It recently participated in the city’s Activate Safety task force, for example, and will host an all-candidates forum before the coming municipal election.
At the same time, the community, and even members, may not realize the full scope of all the Chamber does … and all it offers.
1. Advocating for business: “I think the biggest thing we do that people aren’t aware of is advocacy – at the local, provincial and federal level,” says Chamber general manager Dione Chambers. From addressing local parking concerns to offering insight into federal policy, “it’s all about making it better for business,” Chambers says. “From our perspective, it’s key to what we do.”
2. Greater sphere of influence: Taking that three levels of influence a step farther, membership in the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce also provides membership in the B.C. and Canadian Chambers, which includes opportunities like extended health benefits. “You’re part of something bigger,” Chambers says.
3. Membership matters: When consumers consider who they’ll give their business to, reputation makes a difference, and part of that reputation comes from belonging to recognized quality organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Chambers says.
Business seems to agree. “We had 90 new members sign up last year and I think it’s indicative of where the community is growing.”
4. Not-so-secret savings: One of the great practical benefits of Chamber membership is the member-to-member deals, but many don’t realize they qualify. “If the company you work for is a Chamber member, then you’re a member too and can take advantage of great savings,” Chambers notes.
5. Forging connections: Beyond advocacy and member benefits, your Chamber of Commerce provides a platform to network and learn from each other. “There are all kinds of different ways to grow your business but at the end of the day, it’s all about building relationships,” Chambers reflects.
To learn more about the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, or inquire about membership, visit vernonchamber.ca