Why Join the Chamber?

When new businesses come to town my job is to welcome them to the community and invite them to join the Chamber.  Before I can finish my first sentence I am almost always interrupted with the question, “Why should my business join the Chamber?” or “What does my business get out of this membership?”  While these are great questions and my automated shortened response is to talk about the referrals, the ribbon cutting and the publicity, the truth is that the Chamber is so much more than just advertising for businesses.  In fact, if that is what you think the Chamber should be spending all of its time on, we’d rather you not join.

 

The truth is that the Chamber does not spend all of its resources advertising solely for your business.  The Chamber spends its resources on keeping Frederick alive and thriving so your business will ultimately have a place and reason for existence.

 

Every day the Chamber is busy working on bringing new businesses into town, improving our quality of life by making positive changes like beautifying the downtown, hosting a fun event, or inviting visitors to come see why they should visit or move to our town.  We keep close ties to the political realm around us, especially on a state level.  We are constantly thinking up new ideas to challenge the potential of the city.

 

We’re the dreamers, but we’re also the doers.  We’re the hub of the community where ideas, actions and problems get discussed.  Our committees are the hands and feet of progressive change in Frederick.

 

While it is true, yes we have funds to appropriate towards planting trees downtown, recruiting new businesses and encouraging the discussion of rural happenings on a state level, we are also a non-profit.  This simply means that our financial means depend on you, yes, you and your business.  The annual small business rate is $125.  So where does this $125 each year go?  For a new business you receive a ribbon cutting and enough publicity to make up the difference in your first week.

 

For established members the breakdown is slightly different.  You may not receive $125 worth of advertising, even though you are referred much more often than you realize.  More realistically, your $125 gets split into a million different positive projects around town.  $25 might go towards helping us buy a new computer so we have the means of communicating with both folks around town and also potential business owners and visitors in Frederick.  Another $25 my go towards purchasing table cloths for the Annual Teacher’s Luncheon so we can add a little extra special to show the teachers that they ARE appreciated.  $15 of your donation might pay for cookies at a legislative reception when the Lt. Governor unexpectedly pops into town.  $10 may go towards printer paper so the Chamber can mail out letters to the business who might eventually occupy the old ALCO building.  Another $20 might pay for the fuel and equipment it takes to shoot a video about helping the hospital.

 

The truth is, you may not ever have any idea where your $125 went.  But each newsletter, news column, Twitter or Facebook update that the Chamber reports could potentially be an effect of your donation.  When we all celebrate the success of Oyster Fry, you can smile because a small part of your donation helped pay for the crackers to bread the oysters.  Again, your membership isn’t about making your business better.  It’s about giving your business a better community to thrive in.  After all, who would go to your business if they didn’t first come to your community?

 

 

New Year, New Goals

 

I absolutely love this time of the year.  January is a time for planning, creating goals, dreaming dreams and going after them.  I like to make a list of goals, rather than resolutions—especially where business is involved.  While I write down my own personal goals for the Chamber, I’m not the only one involved with the execution.  It takes the whole town working together to make each vision a reality.

 

My challenge to Frederick in 2016 is to come up with a vision—a goal—in which we can work towards together.  What do we want to accomplish as a community?  Where do we see ourselves by this time next year?  What should our focus be?

 

These are all important questions to consider as we take ourselves into a new year with new challenges and opportunities.  Personally, I’d like to see us work together more in our organizations, clubs and events.  This is a real opportunity to optimize our resources.  I’d also like to see us come up with a 5-10 year goal for our town.  I have wrote about this in previous columns.  Do we want to focus on tourism, retirement, youth, industry, small businesses or something entirely different?  Maybe the vision is an artist infusion for downtown Frederick.

 

Whatever your idea is, please shout it out to us in email.  frederickcc@pldi.net  We’d love to hear your ideas.   All of this change, excitement and visioning will begin with our Annual Chamber Banquet next Thursday at the Great Plains Technology Center.  Leslie Blair will be giving an excellent speech to inspire and encourage us and our new Chamber President, Travis Stroud will be voted in to office.

 

Please join us next Thursday as we christen a new year for Frederick, Oklahoma.

CRAFT VENDORS NEEDED

The 2016 Oyster Fry is now looking for Craft Vendors to participate in the Oyster Fry Craft Show to be held on Saturday, February 20 from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. at the Middle School Gymnasium, 211 S. 13th, in Frederick OK.

 

Booth spaces are 10×10 feet. Cost is $40 for chamber members, $60 for non-chamber members. If you wish to have electricity, an additional $25 must be submitted with your request.  Booth spaces will be reserved on a first-come first-serve basis, guaranteed only with payment and form submitted to the Chamber.

 

Vendors will be responsible for tables, chairs, extension cords, or other items necessary to operate your booth. The Craft Show will be open from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  Set-up of the booths may begin at 9:00 a.m. Vendor spaces should be emptied by 7:00 p.m.

 

There is a high demand for spaces.  In order to reserve your spot now, please fill out form and payment online at www.frederickokchamber.org/oyster_fry.html  or contact the Frederick Chamber office for a paper form.

You may contact the Frederick Chamber office with questions at 580-335-2126 or frederickcc@pldi.net. Please keep this letter for your information.

 

2015 CHAMBER HIGHLIGHTS

Can you believe it?  Another year has come and gone at the Frederick Chamber.  2015 was a year of growth and improvement for Frederick.  From January to December we broke boundaries and pushed through to a better future.  Here are a few of my favorites from 2015:

 

  1. Oyster Fry this year was as big as always. We had beautiful, sunny skies and nearly a thousand attendees.  Something new we tried this year was the addition of Food Vendors at the Craft Show.  This was a very successful venture because it gave those who (gasp) don’t eat oysters an alternative food source.
  2. In May we had the honor of attending the Governor’s Tourism Conference. This conference inspired lots of ideas to grow Frederick’s tourism industry. One of those ideas came into fruition around July of 2015.
  3. That idea led to the introduction of the first ever tourism website for Frederick, Oklahoma. Visitfrederick.com is a place where visitors can go to find out more about where to stay, play and shop in Frederick.  This website was complimented by a Visit Frederick Twitter account and newsletter.
  4. Also this summer, Freewheel returned to Frederick for the first time since 2012 this year. As always, we rolled out the red carpet and put on an amazing bike parade, a great welcoming team and a unique Native American performance that was organized by the Historical Society.  It may just be me, but I think we should be considered their favorite stop!
  5. In August we had our annual Teacher’s Luncheon. Dawn Mefford and Jill Biggs worked so hard that we gave away more Chamber Bucks than ever before!  We do love our teachers!
  6. In October we hosted a huge tour group of 48 leaders, all of whom will potentially bring back other tour groups to Frederick. The leaders were extremely impressed with Frederick and all had a wonderful time.
  7. November boasts the most successful Cotton Festival yet. With fourteen chili teams and a $750 Grand Prize (that went to Chad and Anna Woffard) the attendance and fun went through the roof!
  8. This excellent event was followed by a very successful Christmas Parade that resulted in eleven Chamber Buck winners and three float prize winners.
  9. Overall we added seven new business members to the Chamber, all of which are excellent members we are excited about!
  10. We are already busy planning and organizing for a great 2016!

 

Thank you to all the board members, committee members, volunteers, sponsors and businesses who made 2015 special and amazing.  We will continue to propel ourselves straight into 2016.  See you next year!