Frisco’s Chamber of Commerce poised to go volunteer-only |

Frisco’s Chamber of Commerce poised to go volunteer-only

by Kathryn Corazzelli
summit daily news

Beginning in January, Frisco’s Chamber of Commerce will become a completely volunteer organization. The decision was made at the December board of director’s meeting after a re-evaluation of funds forced the board to eliminate the position of paid director.

John Buchanan held the paid director position over the past year. In a letter to existing Chamber of Commerce members, the board stated its appreciation for Buchanan’s efforts during his tenure. It noted various board and chamber members will be assuming his responsibilities on a volunteer basis and asks for member’s increased help to meet any social and economic challenges it might face.

For Frisco businesses, chamber membership will become free to all resident holders of a Frisco business license for the upcoming year. Previously, members typically paid from $50 to $300 for a yearly membership, depending on the number of employees the business had.

Membership fees helped pay the director’s salary. In its letter, the board notes it cannot afford a paid director under the current paid membership program.

Paul Connelly, one of the board’s vice presidents and owner of The Mountains USA, a vacation planning service in Frisco, sees the decision as a positive move for the Frisco business community.

“We wanted to eliminate dues to increase representation and involvement (of Frisco businesses),” he said. “The main decision was made to be all inclusive as far as representation. As a business owner, I’m excited about it. At the end of the day, (the chamber) will be more able to respond to the business community as a whole instead of a select few.”

Kim Parker, manager of What’s Needling U, a knitting and crocheting store located on Main Street, said her business is not currently a member of the Frisco Chamber due to the yearly membership fees. Instead, her store choose to become a member of the Summit Independent Business Alliance.

“We had to make a choice as to what we were going to spend our money on,” she said. “We can’t afford to pay for both.”

Parker said she’s pleased with the chamber’s new free membership program and will probably take advantage of its benefits.

A Modest Budget

In its letter, the chamber noted the budget will be small for the upcoming year. Telephone, website and mailing costs will be supported. Any funds remaining from last year will be used very carefully. To raise additional funds, participation in town events, mixers and requests for donations are being considered.

” Obviously, the funding of the chamber operations will require some financing,” Connelly said. “We have several options for the creation of that funding, one of which may be to call for voluntary contributions or small donations, but those will be much less than the previous membership dues structure and will not be compulsory. However, the exact plan will be the responsibility of the 2011 board to decide,” Connelly said.

The chamber noted in its letter that it plans to continue concentrating on areas of concern to the Frisco business community. Supporting town businesses to improve and market their products and services will still be the chamber’s focus. Mixers, sponsored by chamber members, will continue to be scheduled to keep businesses acquainted with each other. Open forums to address business issues will also be held.

January 11 is the first scheduled mixer of the new year.

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