Chamber kicks off membership drive |

Chamber kicks off membership drive

JIM MORGANsummit daily news
Special to the Daily/Bob BlochKen Deshaies, co-chairman of the Summit County Chamber of Commerce's 2005 membership challenge. addresses team members at the kickoff breakfast Wednesday morning in Frisco. The Chamber is hoping to add more than 100 new members during its membership drive which continues through April 21.

SUMMIT COUNTY – If you’re not a member of the Summit Chamber of Commerce or if you’ve let your membership lapse, don’t be surprised if you get a call this week.The Chamber kicked off its 2005 membership challenge at a Wednesday morning breakfast in Frisco. During the next week members from nine volunteer teams will be calling on area businesses.Current membership is 545. Ken Deshaies, one of the co-chairs for the drive, said he’d like to see membership increase 25 percent. He acknowledged that may seem aggressive, but believes it’s doable. For any business, big or small, Deshaies said being a member of the Chamber makes sense.”The Chamber encourages members to do business with other members thereby increasing the financial viability of all members,” he said. In other words, it’s good for everyone.Deshaies, who is owner of SnowHome Properties, was recently elected to the Chamber’s board of directors. He said his decision to join the Chamber was based on a simple reality – “it brings business interests in the community together in ways that help business.”Deshaies acknowledged that the countywide group has gone through a difficult period in the past year but he was quick to point out “there’s new leadership and a renewed level of energy.”

A new board took office in January. Additionally, last summer Constance Jones was hired as the chamber’s full-time executive director, and Jennifer Connors was hired as membership and marketing director last fall.”There’s a new vitality. There’s no question about that,” said Chamber president Loren Stone of the Lodge and Spa in Breckenridge.Del Bush, the other co-chair of the membership drive, echoed Deshaies. “We’ve put together 10 pages of benefits of Chamber membership,” he said. “There’s a sound reason for any and every business in Summit County to be a member.”Among the list of benefits:- Participation in sponsored events ranging from the annual Ski Area COO luncheon to social events such as the annual golf tournament and the fall trade and business show.

– Monthly business-after-hours mixers- Quarterly member benefits orientation- Discounts from members- Discounts on services ranging from long distance to credit card processing.- Access to membership and mailing lists- Links to the Chamber website, which is being redesigned and now includes links to, a lodging booking engine.In recent months, the Chamber has headed several initiatives, including a leading role in countywide economic development discussions and its legislative committee has weighed in on issues ranging from the statewide smoking ban to bills before the Colorado Legislature on small business development.

“The Chamber took the initiative to bring the economic interests of the County together to explore ways that new business can be brought to the County,” said Deshaies. “A primary goal is to get local businesses to recognize that their competition is not each other so much as what’s ‘out there.’ In other words, the other resorts throughout the world.”Stone said the Chamber is more involved than many people realize.”We’re changing to meet the needs of the members,” he said.Jones said the Chamber is addressing “big picture” issues such as affordable health care for small employers and their employees as well as the I-70 corridor and related transportation issues.”The Chamber has become the instigator in bringing together the various economic interests in the community as a whole, bringing the communities, businesses and non-profits to the same table for economic discussion,” she said.The membership drive will continue through April 21.Jim Morgan can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 240, or at

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