|Members of local businesses meet at the Tally-Ho Restaurant, Wednesday, Feb. 20, to discuss the revitalization of the Richfield Springs Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Jason Bernhardt) |
The reorganization of the Richfield Springs Chamber of Commerce is moving forward as local business and community members prepare for the next meeting scheduled for the end of March.
A strong show of support at the first informational meeting last month has organizers hopeful that the chamber of commerce will be up and running in no time.
“There was a lot of good input and enthusiasm and the town business leaders collectively agreed that this chamber idea is worth looking into further,” said Jason Bernhardt, a member of the research committee.
“An exploratory committee was formed to meet and do research for the next six weeks and will report back at another community meeting.”
The committee includes Harriet and Richard Sessler, Dale Dyn, Carmella Chiodo, Bernhardt, Larry Budro and Cyndi Andela.
The exploratory committee will be looking at (having) a board of directors and officers and will be looking for volunteers for its board at its next meeting.
The next chamber meeting will be held Monday, March 31, at 7 p.m., at the Tally-Ho Restaurant, Bernhardt said, adding special thanks to Scott and Heather Teachout for providing the meeting space for the chamber. Bernhardt also thanked the Sesslers “for bringing the area business leaders together to discuss reestablishing the chamber.”
Approximately 25-30 people turned out for the initial meeting, said Dick Sessler, which shows “there seems to be a considerable amount of interest in revitalizing the chamber.”
He went on to say “we will be meeting with the exploratory committee to look at where we go from here. We have some plans to make, a mission statement to write. We need to figure out what we can do for the community.”
While the meetings are a forum for the chamber to gather, Sessler said members of the community will always be welcome. “That’s the one thing we all agree on, that this is a chamber for the Richfield area,” he said. “So anyone with any input is welcome. We appreciate any and all input.”
Recalling that he was the only one who attended the last six meetings, Budro laughed and said he was pleased with the turnout. Budro has kept the chamber from going completely defunct over the last few years when interest dwindled.
“I think it’s long overdue,” Budro said. “It’s something this area has needed. Back in 1980, we had 130 members, a 15-member board, and we had almost 100 percent attendance the first five or six years.”
The next exploratory committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, March 17, at the Mercury office on Main Street. They will also be discussing the creation of a questionnaire for the community to see what is expected from the chamber.
Sessler said the meeting will also deal with more logistical stuff to establish the foundation for the chamber. “Others want to become members,” he said. “I’m pleased. There’s a pretty good interest being shown.”
Some of the businesses in attendance included: Dyn’s Cider Mill; NBT Bank; Butternut Barn; Anderson’s Hardware; Mercury Media Group; Carmella’s Bridal Shop; the Lake House; Marj Walters, representing the Historical Society; Mercantile Greenhouse; Mink Creek Bed and Breakfast; Meadow Links Golf Course; Andela Products; Tally-Ho; Price Chopper; and the SweetTooth SchoolHouse.