SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham Chamber of Commerce is busy introducing a new plan of work for itself while also unveiling a new, tiered system that permits members to select benefits they think will best serve their business.
Chamber CEO Andy Cripps said, “They may want just the basic membership — just want to be listed as a chamber member with a sticker on the door, or they want to get some of the marketing benefits, whether it’s online or whether it’s cooperative advertising with the chamber.”
Cripps stressed that members at the basic level won’t lose any benefits under the new system.
“From the chamber’s standpoint, we’re going to continue to try to build value for members,” he said.
Cripps said the chamber will try to be more involved with business-to-consumer connections and added, “Chambers are always good at business to business because we’re talking amongst ourselves but there’s a lot of businesses that don’t necessarily benefit from that.
“Coming out of the TSPLOST effort (in November), there’s a value in bringing the cities and county together. We communicate and eventually collaborate — that may be a role we can play in facilitating that.
Cripps thinks that’s especially important since many of the governmental managers are fairly new in their roles.
The chamber is trying to identify ways to assist businesses in local holiday promotions and looks forward to getting back to hosting in-person events like holiday bazaars. COVID-19 caused them to be interrupted..
Cripps explained the benefits of chamber membership.
“The biggest thing is being connected to the community, being connected to other business people and being aware of what’s happening with legislation, and what’s happening with business trends.”
Connections determine whether a business is successful or not, Cripps said.
Cripps is grateful for the newest businesses that have moved into Effingham County and have joined the chamber. These include Chik-fil-A and Beals Outlet in Rincon.
“That goes back to business to consumer — can we help them in the way that is most meaningful to them?,” Cripps said.
Cripps said the chamber is also working on boosting workforce development efforts.
He said, “We’re going to be reaching out to some of our bigger employers, getting a better feel for what their needs are and carrying that information over to Savannah Tech and the College and Career Academy so that they can address those needs.”
Current Chamber Board Chair Ryan Thompson said they are working hard to keep information flowing to chamber members
“We want the members and the rest of the community to know we’re still here and we’re working hard to address things like TSPLOST and look at other items that come up,” Thompson said.
Cripps said it’s important that chamber be viewed as a good source of information about the community.