WCCBI News: Not Your Grandfather’s Chamber

February 23, 2023

“Leading Warren County to economic and community excellence.” That’s the mission of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, but who are we really?

While Warren County has had a Chamber of Commerce for well more than 20 years, what is known today as WCCBI was officially formed on Jan. 1, 2003, through the merger of the Warren County Chamber of Commerce and the Warren County Development Association.

The WCCBI has grown into a multi-faceted organization providing businesses throughout Warren County with “traditional” Chamber of Commerce services while also serving the County as a designated Lead Economic Development Agency. Workforce development is an important aspect of every community, and the staff of WCCBI is dedicated to helping businesses with all their workforce challenges, through unique opportunities tailored to everyone’s needs.

Business marketing services and professional networking opportunities abound at WCCBI. Annual job fairs, ribbon cuttings, chamber chatters, and countless other events are just some of the ways WCCBI staff work tirelessly to expose local businesses to one another in our community.

They have also become actively involved in the expansion of tourism-based visitation to Warren County through the formation of the Trails at Jakes Rocks system, which consists of over 30 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails and draws an annual 30,000 visitors to our community. Their events trailer travels to over 20 different community events year-round, and they help facilitate another two dozen community development initiatives at no profit to their organization, or cost to the initiative.

“Our operating revenues are developed through the management of the Warren Industrial complex, a multi-tenant business development incubator facility owned by our organization, the 300 2nd Avenue commercial building that houses the County’s first Rural Regional College (NPRC), and through membership investments,” said WCCBI Administrative Assistant Savannah Casey.

WCCBI is a member-based organization that relies on the revenues received through membership investments and event sponsorships year-round. As long as there exists a difference between what a community is, and what a community should be, there is a need for a Chamber of Commerce.

“We solve problems so you, the business leaders, and innovators, can thrive because strong businesses create strong communities,” said Casey. “The staff of WCCBI works with healthcare leaders, government, and private sector to provide relevant and timely information every day. “Keeping our Warren County citizens healthy and employed is our goal.”

So, what does WCCBI staff have to say about utilizing their services?

The WCCBI staff will continue to monitor and announce business assistance programs as they are released, through our various communications platforms. But we encourage our community to stay in touch with what is happening at the local, state, and federal levels. If you have a concern, we want to hear about it. Our doors and phone lines are open to the public Monday through Friday year-round.

WCCBI staff encourages all business leaders to take time to enhance their online presence and capabilities. Online buying is not restricted to the “big businesses” of the world. People will continue to utilize online purchasing options, so getting your products online allows you to better serve your local customer and also opens you to an entirely new customer base.

Ask for help. It is safe to assume that every business is in a similar situation as you.

Take time to get engaged in our networking opportunities. We have plenty of volunteer opportunities on our various committees.

Join the Chamber. We understand this is a very self-serving statement, but the WCCBI staff can help you stay informed, stay connected to local events and resources, and get your name and your goods and services to current and new customers. The cost is minimal, and the return is significant. If our business community engages with us and utilizes the resources, tools, and opportunities provided through membership, we can better support our community as a whole.

The community plays a major role in ensuring prosperity exists throughout the entire County. “Support local, shop local” needs to be a priority 12 months a year, every year, not just one Saturday in December. This is not something that requires a dramatic shift in our lives, simply asking ourselves if buying a given item might be possible from a local retailer rather than ordering it online is an easy commitment to make.

“We (WCCBI staff) are grateful for all of the help and support we have received over the past 20 years, that has allowed us to reach this milestone, and are fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community,” Casey said. “We are certain the next 20 years will be even better!”

This article was submitted to Your Daily Local and was published as part of our ongoing partnership with WCCBI

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