by Ida Koric
The Rossland Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting on Tuesday, June 17, summarizing all aspects of Chamber business for 2013.
New president Dan Eheler of DJM Contracting stepped in to replace the out-going president this past fall. The continuing treasurer is Cezary Ksiazek, while the positions of Vice President and Secretary are yet to be filled. One of the Chamber’s imminent goals is to draw new members to the board of directors.
Financially, 2013 was a more successful year than years past, with the Chamber’s gross gains at $85,000; an increase of nearly $10,000 from 2012. Overall, the Chamber still functioned at a deficit, with net losses of $2700, but down from $6,200 the year before. The main sources of income were non-profit subsidies from the City and fundraising events, the most substantial of which is the annual vacation guide.
The board of directors brought about potential financial concerns for the coming year which could certainly derail the current upward trend. One concern is the loss of advertising dollars to Tourism Rossland’s ‘Escape Guide’, originally intended to be a promotion of Rossland as a winter destination, displayed at ski shows and events. The Chamber is concerned that ‘Escape’ is now running as competition to the vacation guide, when both entities should be collaborating to improve exposure and success of local businesses.
Another concern is the expiry of the lease on August 1 for the current office in the old Bank of Montreal building. The chamber has been very pleased with the rental rates offered at this location and are not optimistic about finding comparable costs elsewhere. The anticipated monthly ‘administration fee’ to be earned from managing the space at the HUB has also evaporated, as the space has been rented out to another party. Additionally, an on-going source of $4500 annually from a government-sponsored Community Access Program has also come to a halt this year. Finally, membership from local business has decreased from previous years, and this will be the primary focus for the Chamber in the coming months.
The directors agree that the Chamber has much to offer its members, but feels that it can find ways to offer more, as well as educate potential members on current benefits. An insurance package exists through the Chamber of Commerce that allows small business owners and the self-employed to attain benefits for themselves and their employees at fractional costs. Another initiative was to seek more local benefits from the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, which offers incentives to urban Chamber branches that are not available in smaller centres.
2014 will also continue to see a freeze in membership dues as the directors decided fees should not increase unless they have more to offer their members. If your business would like to join the Chamber, or you are interested in helping on the executive, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.