The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual membership drive, and highlights some of the benefits that the organization has provided during a very difficult time for businesses.
The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is currently holding its annual membership drive. The Chamber has been serving the local business and nonprofit community for over 100 years and is inviting businesses and organizations to learn more about the networking opportunities and support they provide.
Currently, the West Hartford Chamber is made up of over 550 member businesses and organizations. While most of these members are based in West Hartford, the Chamber attracts businesses and nonprofits from across the state.
“As one of the largest chambers in the region, we offer much in the way of networking opportunities and resources to our Members,” says Executive Director Christopher Conway. “Our vast programming and diverse committees offer something for everyone.”
Two such committees are the Chamber young professionals group called FLOW (Future Leaders of West Hartford) and the recently established Minority Business Network.
“The Minority Business Network is designed to promote and provide access for business owners and professionals of color,” says Christopher Clarke, chairman of the MBN. “Our goal is to make the West Hartford Chamber the network of choice for professionals in the Greater Hartford area while reflecting the diversity of our town.”
The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is offering some special incentives to join now. Some of these special items include 250 business cards with design courtesy of OtherDesigns and a banner with your business logo from FASTSIGNS of Avon. The full list of bonus incentives can be found here.
In spite of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber has grown its membership.
“All of our local businesses and nonprofits have been affected by the current situation. In response, The Chamber has shifted its programing and resources to meet the changing needs of our business and nonprofit community,” says Kate Kobs, Outreach & Development coordinator for the Chamber. “We moved our twice-per-month AM Connections networking meeting to Zoom and increased the frequency to every Friday from 7:30 to 9 a.m. to help our members stay connected. As a result, we have attracted many new members in the past several months.”
Virtual AM Connections is open to visitors and guests. Anyone interested in attending the online networking meeting via Zoom can register here: https://www.whchamber.com/events/calendar/
Additional programing includes a series of Virtual Small Business Forums, which are co-facilitated by the Chamber and the town’s Economic Development department. Designed to provide the business community with information vital to their industries, panelists for this series have included Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, DECD Commissioner David Lehman, members of the local state legislative delegation, and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor.
“The Chamber knows the needs of local businesses and will advocate on their behalf to our state and federal elected officials,” says Mayor Shari Cantor. “The Chamber is an invaluable asset for our thriving business community and membership brings a safety net of resources that you cannot find anywhere else,” she continued.
Amy Babich of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England serves as the current Chairperson of the Chamber.
“As a local Realtor, the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is an invaluable part of my business, and laid the foundation for my success. Real estate is a highly competitive field, and the Chamber sets me apart as a local expert on all things West Hartford,” says Babich. “Our Chamber’s trusted Member businesses provide an array of services for my buyers and sellers, from real estate services to home improvement. My membership in the Chamber keeps me up to date on town initiatives, new businesses, and local happenings through timely communications and regular events, including a wealth of virtual programming. In a time of economic uncertainty, membership in the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is a sure bet, and your business will reap the rewards for years to come.”
The membership base runs the gamut from entrepreneurs and sole proprietors to major manufacturing and everything in between. Most industries are represented in the Chamber including restaurants, retail, professional services, health & wellness, and trades.
Naima Craft who owns her own specialty baking company called The Craft, recently joined the Chamber. She has already seen the return on her investment.
“The decision to join The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce was one of the best strategic business moves that I made. The Chamber not only diligently promoted my business on different media platforms, which instantly turned into revenue, they also held my hand as I learned (and am still learning) how to become an entrepreneur,” says Craft. “The West Hartford Chamber family willingly and openly adopted me, supports my business and actively helps my business make successful, meaningful relationships that has elevated The Craft to another level. I haven’t and will never look back.”
The Chamber offers many ways for businesses to gain exposure including a print and online directory, eBlasts, and various social media outlets. The Chamber maintains an engaged audience on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. On Facebook, the Chamber manages their main page and a members-only private group. They are also the administrator for two very popular Facebook Groups – Take Out Time West Hartford and Curbside Commerce West Hartford.
“Social media is great way for us to engage with the local community and it gives us another way to highlight our Members,” says Member Services Coordinator Jessie Bouclier. “Members can amplify their message, share updates about their business and promote special offers across our social platforms.”
If you are a business owner or nonprofit administrator and are interested in learning more about how the West Hartford Chamber can serve you, please visit WHChamber.com, email [email protected] or call 860-810-5663.
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