New chamber board an advocate for business

The Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at gallery 2.

The Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual general meeting on Nov. 13 at gallery 2. From Left to right: Angela Soukoreff

The Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at gallery 2.James Wilson, executive director of the chamber, said the event was well attended with both board members and members of the public present.“It was definitely a quick business meeting but a good time to network and enjoy the great snacks and hors d’oeuvres,” he said.Amidst the flurry of tasty treats, the board also elected three new members (Sylvia Burch, Robbie Levin and Shannon Profili) and conducted other business.“We have a real strong, healthy board,” said Wilson. “We’ve got some good initiatives coming up. We’ve got the ambassador program, the community calendar and the family friendly business as a few examples. We’re also looking at how we can work with the city of Grand Forks and the other communities.”The ambassador program kicked off this summer with several volunteers donning the mantle.When we have a major event they’ll be there and helping out with tourists, said Wilson. “It’s in the early stages,” he said. “We’ve got some volunteers. We’re looking at re-launching it in March when the tourist season picks up again.” The family friendly business program is set up to identify businesses that are friendly for nursing mothers.“The idea is if we were driving through town and we needed a place for my wife to breastfeed or warm up a bottle or change diapers, a restaurant or other business would be okay for them to do that,” said Wilson. “There’s a little symbol that you put on the window of the business and it also goes on our website that you’re open to that. The customers don’t have to buy anything, but chances are they’re going to come back; chances are they’re going to buy something. They don’t feel guilty for using your facility.”In addition to pursuing several initiatives, the board also wants to continue to advocate businesses attract new businesses to the region. The chamber is coming up to its fourth year, and Wilson is just wrapping up his first year as executive director.“We’re still young,” he said. “Being young, there are a lot of growing pains so to speak, but also a lot of growth. We need to partner more. We’re looking into that. There’s a big learning curve, but we’re growing. We’ve seen some momentum. We want to keep that momentum going and got the next step and try to grow and be sustainable and really advocate for the businesses in the community.”Chair of the chamber is Chuck Bennett, publisher of the Gazette. Other board members are: Angela Soukoreff, Dave Marshall, Allan Cooper and Wendy Darbyshire. Nipper Kettle and Bob Kendall are liaisons for Greenwood and the City of Grand Forks, respectively.

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