'Big task to accomplish'

Chamber board wants movement on '08 goals

Big dreams take big effort, said Bryce Jacobson, Craig Chamber of Commerce board president and Daily Press publisher.

The board identified several projects it felt the Chamber should pursue in 2008 at its retreat in January. Executive Director Christina Currie said the Chamber doesn't have the budget to accomplish all of them, but the directive to get as many in place as possible is clear.

"I think we have some big tasks to accomplish this year," Jacobson said. "These goals are not easy. The goals are pretty aggressive and I'm excited about that."

One project, which the board did budget for this year, is to enhance the Chamber Web site.

As far as format, Craig Chamber officials plan to research other chamber of commerce sites around the country for ideas that may be tailored to Craig, board member Dave Dempster said.

The board plans to make a push for additional features, including an online newsletter, recorded testimonials for businesses and online credit card sales, which could be open to businesses to sell their wares.

The Chamber would use the system to sell tickets for its various events and Spree Dollars, as well, Currie said.

For Spree Dollars, the Chamber might add a nominal fee. Due to commercial fees for transactions charged by credit card companies, the Chamber likely would not accept large purchases online, Currie said.

Currie said this year's budget likely would allow the Chamber to implement online sales soon.

"I would say within a month, we could have credit card access via our Web site," Currie said.

On other fronts, the Chamber plans to bolster its relationship with government officials and its visibility within the community.

The board plans to start sending quarterly reports to state Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, and state Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, said Gene Bilodeau, board member and Craig city councilor.

More locally, the board wants to begin meeting with Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, Moffat County Tourism Association, city of Craig and Moffat County officials to examine expanding the Chamber building at 360 E. Victory Way to include EDP and MCTA.

The other groups are on board with looking at the possibilities, Bilodeau said.

As to local visibility, the board set a goal to increase membership growth by 20 percent, board member Lisa Balstad said.

Part of that will be a membership drive, and Currie will continue her weekly visits, Balstad said, adding something bigger would be good, too.

"We want a big, audacious party," Balstad said.

The board agreed and approved planning for a summer function at the Chamber building.

"Just like any business, you want to bring people in to show them what you have to offer," Currie said.

For next year, the board plans to look at changing the board's retreat and goals procedure, she added.

Currently, the board comes up with its yearly goals after the budget is set. Resetting the board retreat for the end of the calendar year will help the board finalize a budget with its big projects in mind, Currie said.

"So when the time comes for those goals, we can make it happen," Currie said.

For 2008, although the Chamber may not have enough in its coffers to reach for every objective, it should be able to raise money through sponsorships and other community-driven means, she added.

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