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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