Business Retention & Expansion: Focus of Your Chamber

by Dixie Johnson, CEO
Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

[The article originally appeared as a “Community Perspectives” article in The Sheridan Press, May 21, 2016.]

The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce relies heavily on the 200-plus volunteers who serve our organization, either as directors of our board or on one of our many committees. One of our most active committees is the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Committee, led by committee chairperson Ken Thorpe, with Powder River Heating and Air Conditioning. The BRE Committee is comprised of member business people who share the common goal of developing new tools and programs to help area businesses grow and prosper, in addition to planning and implementing workforce strategies that will ensure the future employability of our workers and address issues affecting business retention, productivity and economic competitiveness.

One of the most recent programs designed by the BRE committee is the Ignite Peer Group program, created in 2015. Each facilitated seven-week program brings together six to eight business people from different industries to share business challenges, strategies, and solutions, all in a confidential peer environment. Just this week, two separate Peer Groups kicked off their seven-week program. As this program continues to gain momentum and strengthen our business community, we’re certain to see many more groups form. Anyone interested in more information may contact Teresa at the Chamber office.

Another program by the BRE Committee is the Chamber Coffee roundtables. This program began back in 2011 and has received overwhelmingly positive response and attendance. In fact, the BRE Committee has hosted three successful coffees this year, in the communities of Big Horn, Ranchester, and Clearmont, with the fourth one set for this coming Wednesday, May 25th, at 8am at Sheridan Memorial Hospital’s lower level conference room. Chamber Coffees are open to the public and provided free of charge.

Also, the Business Retention and Expansion Committee is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Ignite Your Business Conference will be held October 18th. Currently, the Chamber is looking for proposals from professional trainers for that conference. The day will include four 1-1/2 hour slots with four choices per session. Topic areas have been identified based on feedback the BRE Committee received following the first Ignite Conference, as well as the responses from the 2016 Chamber member survey conducted earlier this year. Some of the topics include: Human Resources and Customer Service; Marketing and
Communications; Business Growth and Development; and Technology. Proposals are due to the Chamber by June 3rd. For more information, please contact the Chamber office at 672-2485.

Finally, the BRE Committee meets regularly, on the fourth Thursday of the month, with the next meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 26th. It will be held at 8am
at the Chamber of Commerce office, located at 171 North Main Street. Ken and the committee welcome Chamber members to drop in to see how Business Retention and Expansion is remaining a key focus of your Chamber of Commerce. 



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