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The Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce provides many benefits to businesses

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kim DanielsThere are many reasons to join your local Chamber of Commerce. The obvious ones are networking and the local credibility that comes with being a Chamber member. But there are many other benefits that aren't as readily utilized as others. Paying your annual dues and having a listing in the Chamber directory is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how your business or organization can benefit from a Chamber membership.

Event hosting and involvement

Events tend to be the most popular, and well-known Chamber benefit. But it's not only attending them that members enjoy, but also their own involvement. One of our most recognized benefits is the Friday morning Perk. This once-a-week gathering is available to all members to host anyone from the community at your place of business. The spotlight is on your business only, and it gives you a captive audience, in person and on Facebook Live, to share about your sales, events or basic business information. In addition, the Chamber also organizes Thursday evening After Hours, which are open to members only. You can enjoy as an attendee or show off your own business at these twice-monthly gatherings. We are also the organizer of the Candy Crawl at Halloween, Small Business Saturday, which occurs the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Chocolate Crawl on Valentine's Day and our Annual Awards Banquet.

Promotional programs

Retail promotion is something newer to our list of benefits. The Chamber has added two new programs in the past few years to try and get more sales and more foot traffic in our local shops and restaurants. The Charm Trail sends shoppers on a scavenger hunt of sorts through town to numerous businesses to gather charms that represent each place. The charms are inexpensive, and it's not uncommon that those collecting end up purchasing more at the businesses they visit than just a charm. Chamber members can also join into the Shop Prineville eCard program. A virtual gift card is available at any member business that wants to join, for no cost. It gives an opportunity for local dollars to be spent locally and for the recipient to get a gift card available at a variety of local shops or restaurants, rather than being committed to spending at just one shop.

Trainings and seminars

Although we didn't get to offer as many trainings and classes to our members as we would have liked in the past year, we plan to get these back on the calendar. We want to offer the tools we use at the Chamber to our businesses, as well as offer our members their own platform to train and educate each other on information and opportunities they are skilled in. Social media training, marketing and tourism seminars are just a few of the items on our future to-do list. And if you are a business in the community that wants to reach out to other businesses, we'd love to partner with you to put you and your skills in the spotlight.

Health insurance

While many small businesses don't qualify for, or cannot afford an insurance plan, by being a member of the Chamber, you have access to several different plans. The plan options are regularly growing and becoming more affordable than ever. In fact, the plans offered have richer benefits and are often less expensive than most small group plans in the marketplace. The only requirement is that you are in good standing with the Chamber, and for groups of two or more, the employer must contribute a minimum of 50% of the premium and no more than one third of eligible employees can waive. And these benefits are even available for part-time employees.

Marketing and promotional opportunities

The basic given when you get a Chamber membership is that you will be listed in our online and printed directory. But beyond that is the opportunity for the Chamber to list your information in our weekly newsletter, share your posts on Facebook, mention your events during our weekly Friday perk and more. And as a member, you are also given an exclusive opportunity to place an ad in the annual membership directory that is distributed year-round to newcomers and visitors to our community. In addition, we occasionally place our own advertisements in publications where members are given an opportunity to share ad space at a reduced rate.

Hiring assistance

With the huge need to fill positions locally, the Chamber created an online web page this year where businesses could list their job postings. Prinevillejobs.com was birthed out of the need to assist our employers in filling their empty positions. Thanks to collaboration with our local schools, the Chamber is helping to manage an internship program. Do you have a current project or business opportunity that your current staff can't find time for? Consider the Prineville Chamber your internship "easy button" that can help find great local student candidates for open opportunities within the workforce.

We find true joy in serving our businesses and local community with the toolkit we have in place, but we are always seeking new opportunities and ideas. If there is something one of our members needs, we go to work to find a solution. If we can't provide the benefit ourselves, we find a partner that can. As we continue to see Crook County grow, we will also grow our offerings to our businesses and will be here to serve for the future.


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