New direction for Chamber of Commerce

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The Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce has new leadership, and they are looking at taking the Chamber in a new progressive direction. The new focus of the Chamber is to market Merrickville-Wolford as a destination, and show that the municipality has something for everyone. Using photos taken by local artists and townspeople, they have already started an aggressive social media campaign which celebrates the natural, historic and cultural nature of the Village. “We’re trying to emphasize strong emotions and feeling surrounding a visit to Merrickville-Wolford,” says Chamber President, Yves Grandmaitre, adding that they are going to make sure to include the promotion of the significant visitor assets available across the full Municipality.

Yves says the Chamber will be focusing on using Facebook and Instagram for a lot of their marketing, as it gives them metrics to track reach and engagement. Their Facebook campaign is being led by board member, Carlos Card, co-owner of Chaiya Décor, who has significant experience in promotion and social media. “All our [Board] members have diversified skills and expertise,” says Chamber Secretary, Joan Spencer.

The new board is currently comprised of a four-person Executive with one Director. This includes President Yves Grandmaitre, Vice President Anne Barr, Secretary Joan Spencer and Treasurer Mark Scullino. Carlos Card is the only Director on the Board and the Executive is accepting applications for two more board members until March 20, to fill the empty spots.

Yves and Joan say that the current goal for the Chamber is to create a cohesive, well informed and organized board, so they can serve Chamber members the best they can. “Having a well-organized board plays an important role in achieving this and makes our time spent on Chamber projects much more effective,” Yves says.

Along with promoting the Village and attracting visitors, the newly-managed Chamber will also be focused on being open and transparent with their members. “We want to show value for their membership,” Yves says. This includes having monthly meetings with a question period for members and opportunities to give feedback to the board. The agenda and minutes of the meetings will also be posted in a timely fashion on the website and a regular newsletter will be going out to all the members to make sure they know what is going on, even if they are unable to physically attend the meetings. Member surveys will also be sent out for feedback on important issues. “We are working on lots of policy updates,” Yves says. “We want to bring clarity to everything we do.”

The Chamber will also be hosting regular networking events to bring the business community together. To launch this year’s events, the Chamber has partnered with the Municipality to present the Mayor’s Business Networking Breakfast. Mayor Doug Struthers is inviting local business people, including reaching out to neighboring municipalities, to a buffet-style breakfast at the Mainstreet Restaurant on March 18, from 7:30 am-9 am. The breakfast will include a presentation by guest speaker Michael Crockatt, the CEO of Ottawa Tourism, who will talk about the partnerships of the Rideau Canal neighbours. The cost of the breakfast is $10, (Merrickville and District Chamber members get a 50% discount), and anyone interested in tourism and the local business community is welcome to attend. For details and to sign up visit www.realmerrickville.ca/events or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/realmerrickville.

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