Chamber memberships plateau

By Christina Calloway

PNT senior writer

ccalloway@pntonline.com

Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce staff and leadership plan to boost chamber membership, which has hit a plateau since 2010, by changing their approach in how they pitch their product.

This year’s Chamber President, Keith Thomas, local businessman and city councilor, said his view and vision for his year in charge is to increase membership significantly.

“Because I’m the president, it’s my mission,” Thomas said.

Chamber Executive Director Karl Terry said there are more than 600 business licenses in the county. The chamber currently has 262 members.

Terry said the Chamber has received good feedback over the years in its efforts to improve services and the events its sponsored but it hasn’t translated into many new memberships.

Thomas feels given how tight the community is, membership needs to be closer to 400.

“I firmly believe Portales and the Chamber of Commerce is doing good work but we need to do better for our businesses,” Thomas said.

He plans to take a more hands-on approach by visiting businesses unfamiliar with what the Chamber does and making sure that business owners know who they are and what they offer.

“We are going to knock on doors, make phone calls and invite a lot of people to join us,” Thomas said. “We’ve got to get one-on-one with these people.”

Chamber staff has also created a new brochure that highlights the benefits of joining, such as free advertising and use of conference rooms, and what the Chamber gives to the community through the events it sponsors.

“With the events we’re putting on, we’re maximizing the potential and attracting people from outside communities,” Thomas said.

“You’ve got tangible membership value, like being able to put material in the newcomer packets for (Cannon Air Force Base),” Terry added. “We’re trying to bring the business community together to improve and secure business and serve the community.”

Chamber staff has also continued to push its recent Shop Local campaign, which encourages citizens to support local businesses.

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