2015 A Successful Year for the Chamber
[Reprinted with permission from The Sheridan Press, January 14, 2016.]
“We had a fantastic year at the Chamber,” Dixie Johnson, CEO of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, said to attendees of the monthly luncheon Wednesday at the Best Western Sheridan Center.
Chamber committee chairs presented updates for each committee and what the groups were looking forward to in the coming year.
Growth in Chamber membership has increased steadily over the past five years. In 2015, the Chamber finished with 623 members, which was an increase from 2014. Around 81 percent of those businesses were for-profit businesses and the remaining were nonprofits. Sixty-four percent of those involved with the Chamber are small businesses with staff sizes of five people or fewer.
Retention has also been a positive number. Johnson announced the Chamber has kept as high as 94 percent of its members from year to year.
“That is really outstanding,” Johnson said. “Nationally, the membership retention rate is around 80 to 85 percent.”
Pageviews on the Chamber’s website have also increased substantially. With more than a quarter million views this year alone, they said they plan to update the site later this year.
Johnson said the Chamber staff plans to continue long-time events like the Christmas Stroll and the Brewfest into next year and added that newer events, such as the Ignite Your Business Conference held in the fall of 2015, were successful as well.
The Chamber Bucks program has taken off in the past five years, and 2015 was its best year yet. Over the last 12 months, $88,205 in Chamber Bucks were distributed to local residents. This is an increase of nearly $13,000 from the Chamber’s annual goal of $75,000.
Nexzt year, Johnson said the goal will be to distribute $100,000 in Chamber Bucks.
“I think people are really seeing the importance of spending their dollars locally,” Johnson said.
The operating budget for the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce in 2015 was $462,000, which will decrease slightly in 2016 to $456,000. The organization’s revenues come from membership fees, community partners investments, one-cent optional funds received from city and county entities, and other sources.
[photo courtesy of Justin Sheely / The Sheridan Press ]