Chamber membership grows

Jacobson, Balstad discuss successes, future plans


Bryce Jacobson and Lisa Balstad managed to cover a lot of ground in the 20 minutes allotted for the Craig Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday night.

Jacobson, 2008 Chamber board president and publisher of the Craig Daily Press, and Balstad, 2009 board president, ran through the group's 2008 accomplishments and 2009 goals. The pair spoke during the State of the County event.

Jacobson started with the numbers: Chamber membership grew by 5 percent in 2008, and the group had a 92 percent retention rate. The group was in contact with 13,000 residents, visitors and hunters in 2008, he said.

Jacobson encouraged businesses to join the Chamber and participate in its mixers, breakfasts and committees.

"The biggest mistake we see people make is they join a chamber, get their plaque and expect business to roll in," he said.

Jacobson also spoke about the success of the Spree Dollars program. The Chamber offers gift certificates that work like cash at Craig businesses.

"Public support for this 'shop local' program continues to soar; $285,625 Spree Dollars were purchased in 2008, and all of that money was spent in Craig," he said.

Balstad picked up where Jacobson left off, telling the packed house at the Holiday Inn of Craig that the Chamber hopes to continue growing in membership and adding services. The Chamber board is divided into several committees, which focus on areas such as retention and recruitment, government relations and technology.

One of the group's major technology pushes this year is the creation of a new Web site. The Chamber is partnering with the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership and the Moffat County Tourism Association on a joint site. That's scheduled to launch March 1, Balstad said.

"Another thing the technology committee is looking into is providing podcasts on the Web site," she said.

Those downloadable audio programs could include information for hunters and other educational seminars, Balstad said.

The Chamber also wants to keep communication open with the community and government groups such as the Department of Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management, Balstad said. The agency also aims to help get the EDP and the MCTA into the same building, she said.

"The Chamber has started to look into that process - and it is a process," Balstad said.

That project will require the agencies to examine their needs and figure out how to get a building that meets them. The Chamber has put $5,000 into a fund for that.

Balstad said the board looked forward to starting work.

"As you can see, we've got a really eager, energetic Board of Directors that is willing to get out there and get these goals achieved in 2009," Balstad said.


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