1. WHAT IS A CHAMBER OF COMMERCE?
The Chamber of Commerce is an organization usually found in many towns or cities throughout the U.S. whose goal is to further the interests of businesses and build an ecosystem that provides the right supports for those businesses. Somewhat unique in Vermont, our Chambers also tend to focus on tourism and marketing the area as well. The Bennington Area Chamber has been incorporated for over 60 years and is one of the main staples of economic and community growth in Bennington County.
2. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR FUNDING?
Our funding comes from multiple sources, which actually makes a very stable organization. Our main source of income comes from membership dues. We rely on our events (tickets, vendors, merchandise) to help with our funding. We also have organizations that believe in the overall mission of the Chamber to create a vibrant business and community ecosystem and show that support through sponsorship.
3. WHAT TYPE OF MEMBERS MAKE UP THE CHAMBER?
What’s great about the Bennington Area Chamber is its diversification in our membership with over 350 members currently. We have members from all walks of life: healthcare, manufacturing, non-profits, education, government, retail, technology, lodging, restaurants, professional services, artists, start-ups, small businesses and “friends of the Chamber” who join because they believe in the mission.
4. WHAT DOES THE CHAMBER FOCUS ON THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
The Chamber focuses on creating a vibrant and healthy business climate for new, current and future businesses to grow and succeed in the region. We also focus on tourism and bringing in day-trippers, weekenders, vacationers and possible re-locators into Bennington to use the products and services of our members.
5. I’M A BUSINESS, WHAT HELP CAN THE CHAMBER PROVIDE ME?
The Chamber provides a vast array of benefits to its members. Our area guide, which lists our members and other area information, is distributed throughout the northeast. We produce about 80,000 a year and update yearly. We also attend trade shows and expos throughout the Northeast (NYC, Connecticut, New Hampshire, etc.) to promote the area. We work with local and state government to create policy and laws to help businesses grow. We also want to provide “direct value” to our members too. We provide programs, classes, networking opportunities and expertise in building businesses. Think of us as a hub with many spokes to help you with all of your businesses needs. If we don’t have the answer or can’t provide the service directly, we’re committed to helping you find the agency that can.
6. WHAT IF I DECIDE THE CHAMBER IS NOT THE RIGHT FIT FOR ME BUT I’VE ALREADY SIGNED UP?
That’s okay. We may not be the right fit for everyone and we understand that. Simply let us know and we can take you off our membership. If done in an appropriate timeframe we can discuss reimbursement of funds.
7. WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY ALL MY DUES AT ONCE?
Not a problem. We are here to help. We can put you in a payment plan that works for you. Just call our offices and talk with our staff on how to do that.