When I attended my first Merrimack Chamber networking event three years ago, just after joining in 2013, I was unsure what to expect from my membership. I had friends who were members, and even executive directors, of various other boards. However, even in speaking with them the purpose and potential benefit to me seemed rather nebulous.
That evening, hosted by the Merrimack Flower Shop was the first time that I had entered their business, despite driving past almost daily since the 1980’s. I met “Florence, from Florence’s Restaurant, where I had never eaten, who provided a light buffet. (I’m so glad that Portofino’s is carrying on her tradition of great Italian dining.) I met small and large business owners, local politicians, and their guests. Since then I have visited those and other member establishments on numerous occasions. The benefit to those businesses is readily apparent through my new patronage. However, I have benefitted just from the new connections I made that evening and since.
Three years later I can tell you that the benefit to me as a REALTOR® (as one of thirteen present members) is different from those realized by proprietors of unique brick-and-mortar retail establishments – and different with each volunteer opportunity and event. I have gained referral business from relationships formed through the Chamber and specifically from the connections made as a member of our referral group. I can feel comfortable calling the local representatives to the statehouse who are members. I have gained a better appreciation of the ways to run various types and sizes of organizations and businesses. And through my volunteer positions have tried to make a difference within the Chamber itself.
Of course, when I need help in moving items out of my house, I’m looking for financial advice, a chiropractor, dentist, photographer, new flooring or stone countertop, want to speak with a lender or insurer, or to ask for insights from another business owner – I know whom to ask – AND I know the actual person behind the business.
My volunteer work on the Education Committee has provided the opportunity to work with the chamber scholarship and more recently with Carl Soderberg, present chair of the Education Committee (and co-founder of Able Ebenezer Brewery) in planning for a first-time bike race in Merrimack next spring. Seeing the work and planning that go into such a signature event has been helpful in planning my own business. Of course, the fact that the committee meetings are held at the brewery is just an added benefit.
I learned about one of Merrimack’s larger employers from the recent visit to BAE Systems, one of our corporate members. Also, I attended the launch of a new venture of another corporate member, Anheuser-Busch, the grand opening of their Biergarten in June – with a client, whose home sale had just closed that morning, as my guest.
So far this post has been all about me and how my membership has been much more than just a way to garner new business. I hope that through my experiences you can see how you can make your membership in the Merrimack Chamber to be about you, as well.
… Oh, and to answer my question in the title of this post, a chamber of commerce is the people and businesses that make our town a community and a great place to live, work, and play!
If you have any questions about the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce, please feel free to ask me.
Cheryl V. Liss
REALTOR®, ABR, SRS, ASP
Mobile: (603) 494-0225 (call/text)
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
166 Route 101, Bedford, NH 03110
Office: (603) 471-0777
We're Easy to Find
You're invited to visit us.from 9:00am - 2:00pm Monday through Thursday. We are conveniently located on the back side of the Papergraphics building, on the second floor .
We'd Love to Hear From You
Any questions about the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce or the greater Merrimack area, please call us at (603) 424-3669.
Membership Has Its Rewards
Businesses receive a variety of benefits when they become members of the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce. Learn more