From Member to Membership Representative!

My journey started with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce back in 2004 when I decided to open my own business.  Jacki recommended I go to the Manatee Chamber and sign up for the FREE first time business owner course!  Best thing I could have done as I began to write my business plan and watch my dream come to life.  The doors of The Monogram Market opened in September 2004 and I do not think I could have done it without the help of Wayne and the small business advisors program at the Chamber.  He met with me as often as I would like before I opened, and then continued to keep up with me even until the end when I decided to close the doors of my business.

 

After opening, I was soon approached by a member volunteer to join the Manatee Chamber of Commerce to help get my business name out to the community, network, and be apart of the Manatee Young Professionals.  Again, best thing I could have done as a small business owner.  All I had to do was show up to events, and the Chamber took care of the rest as far as planning and getting others there!  I did a ribbon cutting with Marie and Jacki, and that many more customers came through my door!  The monthly publication “The Current” kept me in the loop of all of the monthly events the Chamber put on and it was fun looking at all the pictures of events!  The Monogram Market was even a finalist for Small Business of the Year….what an honor!

 

The last year of my membership with the Manatee Chamber changed as I shut down the doors to the retail side of my business and did everything out of my home!   It was not a full time job and I still wanted to be involved.  Luckily, I ran into Jacki at a holiday party and asked her if there where any jobs openings at the Chamber??   She got me in touch with Marie and my journey began as membership representative.    Talk about learning so much more about an organization!!!  As a member, you have no idea how many benefits, seminars, programs, etc. that the #1 Chamber in the Nation offers to its members!  I am still learning everyday what we do and how we can help business owners succeed.  I believe being a former business owner gives me an edge working with business owners now.  I understand the blood, sweat, tears, and finances you put into your own business!  I also understand and truly believe in membership with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce!  Being a member was a great experience but working here is even better.  No day is the same, the people I work with are the best, and I love being in the know!  Stop by and see how the Manatee Chamber can help you like it has helped me in so many ways! 

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Chamber Preferred Business Directory and Newcomer’s & Visitor’s Guide

Have you seen the Chamber’s business directory for 2012?

It’s “beautiful” to quote a member who recently took time to look it over. It’s not by accident that we strive to improve this publication each year. I have had this project under my management since 2006. I love seeing the finished project each year when we package it into envelopes and mail it to our members. Did you know that the entire Chamber staff has a hand in mailing these to our members each year? It is officially called the “annual stuffing party” where all Chamber staff stops work for the morning and stuffs the directories into envelopes to be mailed to our members. During this process we enjoy watching a movie chosen by Carey Miller, our Office Administrator and snacks of course… the staff LOVES to share home recipes of goodies whenever possible with each other.

The process it takes to choose a printer for this magazine is well thought out and takes a great deal of time and research. It is a Chamber specialty company and is searched for locally (especially locally) and nationally!  They have to have a sales team that will come to our area and meet with our members, they need an art department to design and write the guide and all the ads that are purchased by our members – which is included in the price of the ad, and they need to print the final book. That sounds pretty simple, but I assure you, the devil is in the details. The printing portion is offered to all our local print members that can print and perfect bind the finished product (perfect bound is the tricky part).

The most recent company that was chosen is SouthComm Publishing. Betty Revis, who is our sales person from SouthComm is living in Manatee for 2 months to complete the sales for the ads. I can’t imagine having a job where you have to relocate yourself for your job for 8 to 10 weeks at a time, but she does it! (And she does a great job of it too!) My hat is off to her for running from one end of the county to another meeting with members. Like today for instance, she was soaked from the downpour of rain going from University Parkway to Longboat Key, what a gal!

If you haven’t taken a few minutes to look over this year’s directory, I encourage you to do so, it’s a gem! You will find a wealth of information about Manatee, area cities, history, schools, a new hotel guide (this is sweet!) and beautiful photos of the area along with our member listings in the directory portion and much much more.

Many Chambers across the country charge money for these magazines to their members, that’s crazy talk! We offer it free to everyone, visitors who call and want info about the area, members who want many copies to give out at their locations to their clients and everyone in between. 

Stop by either of our Chamber offices in downtown Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch if you can’t put your hand on it at your office. Be sure and take some with you, they are great for visiting family and friends who want to know all about the area and our magnificent Chamber!

Enjoy!