Advantages of Chamber membership are many

By Dan Bookham, executive director, Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce
Posted Sept. 12, 2011, at 1:11 p.m.

There’s a strong, old-fashioned bond between business and community here in coastal Maine. Colorful parades capture this spirit, street-corner chats nurture its growth. Special events such as the Toboggan Nationals, Festival of Independence, Blues Festival, Lobster Festival, Union Fair, Windjammer Festival, and Festival of Lights and Christmas by the Sea also ignite its warmth.

An accountant who spends all day adding numbers spends a weekend adding to the quality of life for a struggling family. A printer turns his press to produce a garden-tour program as a favor. A real estate agent shows houses one day and compassion the next at a senior center lunch. Around here the people who propel the local economy slow down to connect with their neighbors.

One thing many of these community-minded businesses have in common is that they belong to their local chamber of commerce. If your business has yet to join, I’d like to offer up a few reasons you should consider for making one of the smartest business investments going.

The most recent new benefit, of course, is that now a Chamber membership extends one’s business footprint much further thanks to the recent consolidation of the former Penobscot Bay Regional and Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville chambers. This move created the third-largest chamber in the state, the largest coastal small chamber in Maine and the largest small-business chamber in the bargain. We already are seeing the increased reach our members have — a real impact offering them a competitive advantage.

Members — and only members — receive free listings in Discover the Jewel of the Maine Coast, our flagship marketing piece which reaches a focused, worldwide readership of more than 120,000. In addition, the Jewel can be downloaded or viewed as a flipbook online. Display advertising is also exclusive to members.

Our websites, http://www.visitcamden.com and http://www.therealmaine.com, include a directory searchable by business category. We’ll teach you how to use the site to post your own content — services, news, events and job openings. Members also can support your listing by purchasing sponsor buttons that link directly to your own website.

Chamber members are eligible to display their brochures, business cards and other materials at our visitors centers, open year-round on the Public Landing in Camden or on Park Drive in Rockland.

Members receive free or reduced admission to Chamber-sponsored seminars. Topics range from public relations to health care benefits and taxation issues, while the hugely popular Chamber’s Business After Hours events, held twice monthly, give members a chance to socialize in a casual setting and gain a better understanding of our organization’s goals and benefits.

The Chamber also represents its membership at both local and state levels on issues of importance to the business community. The Chamber represents members on statewide regional and local economic development committees, and other key industry and community bodies.

For more information about benefits and to begin your Chamber membership, contact member services managers Karen Brace in Camden at 236-4404 or kbrace@camdenme.org, or Robin McIntosh in Rockland at 596-0376 or robin@therealmaine.com.

Dan Bookham is the executive director of the new Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce that combines the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville and Rockland-Thomaston Area Chambers of Commerce. Contact him at 236-4404 or dbookham@camdenme.org.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/12/business/advantages-of-chamber-membership-are-many/ printed on April 24, 2014