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New chamber president wants spending to stay local

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

As the new president of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Amy Larrison wants chamber members to focus more on a program that serves similar to gift certificates.

Chamber Checks, which serve the same purpose as gift certificates, are available online or at the Chamber of Commerce.

As president in 2018, Larrison hopes to see members buy more for family and friends as a way to keep money in Shelby County.

“If we all get behind it, it could really effectively retain a lot of dollars in our community,” she said during Wednesday afternoon’s chamber luncheon.

The chamber has a list of participating businesses and Chamber Checks can be purchased at the office.

They’re valid for six months, although Larrison admitted she found old gift cards and a Chamber Check worth $150 while cleaning out her purses in the closet. Executive Director Julie Metz told her she could switch out the check with a valid one.

“I do have it first hand she will make exceptions if the six months get by you,” she said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

There’s a community in South Dakota that retained $100,000, she told those in attendance. Admittedly, that community was about three times the size of Shelby County, but she suggested a goal of retaining an additional $30,000 in the community.

“I just feel like sometimes we don’t utilize our chamber network as much as we can,” she said. “If we all as members went to each other first, just think about the retention opportunities in that as well. I want to encourage you to participate.”

She told those in attendance that during the previous week’s board retreat, they talked about evaluating current programs and what the chamber has going on using the three ‘F’s’ – funds, fame and friends.

Funds referred to how the chamber can help its members become more profitable. She said the chamber does that in several ways including the website www.FindItInShelby.com, on billboards and through Chamber Chatter, which is a newsletter.

Fame referred to helping customers becoming more recognizable in the community and recognizing the things that its members are doing.

And friends referred to supporting the community and making the county a better place. The board discussed leadership, academic awards and the website www.hiremeshelbycounty.com.