Monday, April 6, 2009

When a Chamber of Commerce has problems of its own

Chambers of Commerce promote business - well, they're supposed to promote business. But what happens when the Chamber of Commerce itself is hurting?

In the nine months since the Ontario Chamber of Commerce made cost-cutting measures that included eliminating its president/CEO position, little has been said by the chamber's board about its future plans....

In June, Mark Smiley, who led the Ontario chamber for three years, quietly left.

Soon after, the board announced the six-person staff had been reduced as a cost-cutting measure.

The problem, of course, is that businesses are not renewing their memberships, which leads to a decrease in Chamber income. So the Chamber cut staff, and did other things:

Recently, the board decided to discontinue the printing of its business journal and make it online-based, he said. The move saves the chamber printing costs.

At the same time, the chamber has revamped its Web site to use "as an avenue and vehicle to promote events."...

Judge for yourself. Go to

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