July 7, 2009
Businesses appreciate work of the chamber
Congratulations to the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce on its 63 new members last month, about a 14 percent gain, edging the total membership toward the 500 mark.Yes, it’s a big deal.
As a community, Issaquah needs a chamber that is strong in members and leadership. Strong enough that city, county and state officials listen when chamber officials speak on behalf of businesses. Strong enough to bring lobbies for lower business taxes, road improvements and regulations that enhance an economically sound community. Strong enough to tap the skills of its members to benefit local education and charitable causes. And strong enough to bring its members together to support each other in business, in friendships, in shared resources.
Together, Issaquah businesses have a greater opportunity to survive and thrive. That’s good for all citizens who live, work or play here.
It’s a bit sad that there are still at least 500 or more local businesses that have not joined the chamber. Certainly, there are those who truly can’t squeak out the $200-$400 membership fee, but most just don’t see what’s in it for them.
The chamber has a slew of benefits — including access to health care plans for individuals or small businesses — and a host of networking and marketing opportunities. And it’s the chamber that manages the Visitor Information Center and stages the Salmon Days Festival and last weekend’s Downhome Fourth of July.
But ultimately, a chamber membership is the right thing to do. It says the business owners care about being here, about being part of something greater than themselves.
The membership drive was a huge success, but it won’t stop there. New leadership and new direction, fueled by an economy that can’t wait for action, has reinvigorated the chamber. The timing couldn’t be better.