By Terry Rogers
Jo Schmeiser, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, says that there are many exciting things planned for 2017. A new Executive Board of Directors and an almost complete Calendar of Events is shaping 2017 up to be the best ever for the Chamber.
“This year is going to be extremely busy with the Chamber hosting over 50 events, seven of them major,” Ms. Schmeiser said. “We continue to sign up new members, run the daily operations of the Chamber, serve on committees and attend meetings, quite a lot to accomplish for a staff of two. We rely on the support of our wonderful members and volunteers to make it all happen.”
In 2016, CCGM membership added more than 40 new members and the organization donated more than $14,000 to local non-profit members, not an easy task for the chamber, which is itself a non-profit agency. The Chamber has served the Milford area for more than 26 years and has a 91 percent retention rate among members.
This year, Cheryl Doucette will act as President of the Chamber with Darel LaPrade acting as Vice-President. Christine Rust and Alicia Hollis will continue to serve as Treasurer and Secretary. Mike Baker, Cory Fetterman, Brad Fielder, Andrea Holecek, Luanne Holland, Bruce Johnston, Jennifer Jurczak, Derrick Mangum, James Sharp, Donna Stalvey and Craig Warrington will all serve on the Board of Directors.
“In 2017, we are offering a new, exciting opportunity for members,” Ms. Schmeiser said. “The 2017 Marvelous Member Sponsorship is new this year. As the Greater Milford area grows, we know how important it is to our members to gain more exposure, so we are offering a ton of extra exposure for a minimal annual investment of $5000. Of course, we will still be offering individual event sponsorships as well, however, the Marvelous Member Sponsorship makes it easier for you to plan at once, and provides you with added value exposure for your organization. The added sponsorship from members allows the chamber the opportunity to move to another location next year and afford the upgrades we’ll need to serve our members, and the communities in the Greater Milford area.” The Marvelous Member Sponsorship includes benefits such as tickets to the annual awards dinner, a foursome in the golf classic, vendor booth at the Riverwalk and more. In addition, sponsors receive advertising at all events included in the sponsorship.
Ms. Schmeiser said that CCGM has made changes to their Ribbon Cutting protocol as well. Ribbon cuttings sponsored by the chamber are for new members, significant business name changes, major expansions, relocations or second locations. Only two ribbon cuttings will be held each week and must be scheduled on Tuesday or Thursday between 11 AM and 1 PM or 3 PM to 4 PM. CCGM has a fact sheet with tips for holding a successful ribbon cutting as well as an idea of what happens at a CCGM-sponsored ribbon cutting.
“In the past, we scheduled ribbon cuttings as needed and random,” Ms. Schmeiser explained. “They were very casual and quick. However, we feel with the new guidelines, ribbon cuttings will be eaiser to organize and we expect more attendance at them.”
CCGM is asking current members to become 110% Chamber Supporters by voluntarily contributing an extra 10 percent over their annual investment amount. Members who do so will be recognized in the CCGM Clips Quarterly Newsletter. Ms. Schmeiser said that the program has been used by Chambers throughout the country and that all who implemented the program were able to grow.
The Sunrise Seminars will continue, hosted by Milford Place, formerly Heritage of Milford, and held the last Tuesday of each month. At the Sunrise Seminars, member guest speakers provide information to those in attendance that can help them grow their business. PRO Meetings will be chaired by Frank Payton and held in the Chamber Conference Room on the second Wednesday of each month with Sam’s Club providing continental breakfast.
The Annual Legislative Luncheon will be held Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at the Rookery North. Panelists will include Senator Gary Simpson, Representatives Harvey Kenton and Charles Postles, Todd Lawson, Sussex County Administrator, Eric Buckson, Kent County Levy Court and Mayor Bryan Shupe.
“We will continue moving forward with the Economic Development Commission with Andy Stevens serving as Chairperson,” Ms. Schmeiser said. “The committee will work on marketing the City and will host a Workforce Development Forum on February 21 at Grotto’s.”
Anyone who is interested in helping with CCGM events, becoming a member or learning more about committees should contact Ms. Schmeiser or her assistant, Laurie Judd, at 302-422-3344.
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