“Focused on Members and the Community”
The Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the voice of area businesses on state, local and even national issues.
The way it plugs in to accomplish each endeavor differs, but there’s no organization out there more focused on helping local businesses pursue and achieve success.
“The Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce is the single organization that advocates, educates and promotes area businesses,” the organization’s mission statement reads. “The Chamber builds dynamic relationships by connecting members to each other, the community and government.”
When it comes to matters of the state, the Chamber has decided to align with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which is focused on budget reform, education, energy, environmental permitting and health care.
A government relations committee helps the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce stay close to local issues of importance.
Such was the case when Elk River’s status as Energy City was being threatened. The Chamber, with the help of its government relations committee, stepped up and took a stand.
“We are Energy City,” said Debbi Rydberg, the president of the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce. “That’s important to the community and who we are as a business community.”
The Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce plans to partner with the Energy City Commission this year to assemble and promote a combined business and energy expo.
This is all part of the Chamber’s plans to increase the amount of collaboration it does in the community. Other areas already on the radar for increased partnership include the ongoing branding effort with the City of Elk River and long-standing effort to promote Shop Local initiatives.
The Chamber also likes to have fun along the way — such is the case with a pair of successful first-time outdoor events — Shiver Elk River and Oktoberfest.
The second annual Shiver Elk River is set for today (Feb. 25). Last year’s event featured 12 groups and 45 jumpers who raised more than $11,000 for 12 nonprofit organizations.
There was also a chili contest, a hockey tournament and plenty of fun activities for attendees to sink into.
Shiver Elk River and Oktoberfest brought the community at large together for fun. Both have the potential for long runs based on initial success.
Such events help the Chamber grow, and with the hiring of Karen Barta the organization is also taking steps to assist in even better retention.
Established as the Elk River Commercial Club, the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on Sept. 16, 1968. It continues to be led by a 12-member board.
While a common misconception is that the Chamber is a tax-supported entity, that’s not the case.
The Chamber’s income is derived from member investments as well as from revenue generated from advertising and events the Chamber produces.
The income is used to maintain a professional full-time staff and member programs such as Grow Minnesota, Leadership Elk River, Business of the Year, Government Relations and the website which serves as a community information portal.
“By staying focused on members, the Chamber has become a strong organization,” Rydberg said.
Rydberg says chambers do the things that people think just happen, like getting the word out about issues and events, building collaboration and providing important input into local decisions.
“Chambers don’t have an agenda except what benefits their members and their community” she said.
For example the Chamber’s website serves as a clearing house for community events. If your organization is planning a major event, check the community calendar on the Chamber’s website to make sure it doesn’t conflict with another major community event.
One of the Chamber’s showpiece events is the annual Business & Lifestyle Expo, which will become the Business and Energy Expo this year.
It will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 25 at Elk River High School.
The Business & Energy Expo is the place for area residents and businesses to get acquainted.
More than 200 businesses and community groups will be expected to exhibit at this annual event, so whether you are new to the community or have been here all your life, you’re sure to discover something new.
For more information, contact the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce at (763) 441-3110.
Chamber membership is open to any interested individuals, company or organization. Join today and start receiving both direct and indirect benefits of chamber membership. “It really does make a difference,” Rydberg said.
For more information about the chamber, go to www.elkriverchamber.org or call 763-441-3110. The chamber can be found on Facebook by searching Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ElkRiverChamber.