Chamber of Commerce adds 63 new members

July 7, 2009

By Michael Bayless Rowe

In just one month, the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce has grown by 63 new members. The goal had been 40.A membership drive from June 1 to July 3 brought in the new members, according to Matt Bott, the chamber’s chief executive officer, and Jan Bodine, membership chair.

It is the first time in 10 years the chamber has undertaken a membership drive.

Increasing membership for the chamber is important, especially now, Bott said.

“We wanted to reach out to our local businesses. The more businesses we have in our organization, the more exposure we can bring and the better we can help them stay in business,” Bott said. “Bringing in new members to our organization gives us new faces with new ideas. It’s a breath of fresh air.”

Membership benefits includes access to health insurance plans through the chamber, business services, like credit card processing equipment; communications discounts for toll-free services; shipping discounts; travel discounts; member-to-member discounts and networking; advertising; seminar opportunities; lobbying for business at government entities; and membership to a premier online shopping mall.

Those benefits, and exposure through the chamber’s members and resources, are especially important in this economy, Bodine said.

“They realize they have to get their name out there, get out in our community and network, not just sit in the office,” she said. “Businesses that stay involved in the community while there is an economic downturn are the ones that spring back the fastest.”

The last membership drive added more than 120 businesses to the membership, but the chamber paid a professional consultant to run the drive, Bodine said. This drive was unique in that chamber members took the drive on themselves.

“It is an investment in our business community,” Bott said. “It is a simple way to help grow business here. If we can help businesses keep an employee, versus laying them off, or keep the business taxes here in Issaquah, or simply keep businesses here, instead of moving to Bellevue or Seattle, that is good for everyone.”

Active chamber members formed five teams to recruit new businesses. They even created team names and challenged each other to outperform one another.

Tony and Lynn Rehn’s team, of Evergreen Ford, is called Rehn’s Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner. The Rehns plan to cook a chicken dinner for the members of their team should they win.

As of July 5, the Rehn team and the Kahuna Crushers, headed by Dick Gabel, of Meadow Creek Professional Center, were in the lead.

The winning team will be announced at a reception for the new members at 4:30 p.m., July 9 at University House.

On the Web

For a complete list of new chamber members, go to www.issaquahpress.com.

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