The Summit Chamber of Commerce has enacted an initiative to create five chapters to represent the individual communities within Summit County. Each chapter will provide its local community with individualized support and service with the goal of improving cooperation and communication between local businesses.
"You've got five very distinct towns here. They all have their own vested interest, and always will have," said Mark Nunn, Summit Chamber board chairman. "At the same time, there's a lot to be said about putting forth countywide initiatives that everyone can get behind."
The initiative to create the local chapters came from research of other towns and counties around the nation with similarities in geography and make-up. The chamber has been working out the details for more than a year and has now finally formed the chapters, which are Frisco, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Copper Mountain and Dillon/Keystone. Each chapter will be represented by two members on the board of directors.
The biggest issues in completing the initiative were funding and organization. The chamber reached out to local business organizations to facilitate the process. Though currently there are five chapters, that number is not fixed and new chapters may be added as volunteers and representatives step forward.
The Chamber of Commerce will now be acting as an umbrella organization for the various chapters, which includes helping with funding.
"The issue always becomes at some point money," Nunn said. "If you want to do a mixer or fundraiser or event, you've got to have money behind it. As part of this new initiative, we are funding each chapter with chamber money based on the number of members from that location. So this makes the money available to them, so they know they're able to pay for the expenses leading up to these events."
The goals behind creating the new chapters focus on enhanced communication and coordination. The new set-up will ensure that each town will not only receive the correct information, but be better able to communicate its needs to the chamber as a whole.
"Now that we have [the chapters] broken up by community, it's going to be better focused," said Dick Humphrey, new board member for the Silverthorne chapter, and owner of local business Franchise BIZ Experts. "It's going to allow the chamber to grow by having more active members and ... we can help the community even more."
Tony Pestello, who runs both more SPACE place and ifurnish in Frisco, feels that the new initiative will help businesses on both the local and community level.
"It will simplify [the chamber] and give us more resources to better help the businesses not only in Frisco, but in the whole county," Pestello said. "Frisco can't stand on its own, Dillon can't stand on its own ... We all need each other to stand in this county together."
The overall feeling is a positive one.
"We're real excited about this," Nunn said. "We think it is the biggest change of direction the Summit Chamber has had in a long time, and we think this has the most potential for growing the county, for helping the current businesses, for bringing people in to visit and trying to make sure Summit County is going to continue to grow and succeed."