The Stayner Chamber of Commerce has decided to transform into the Clearview Chamber of Commerce in order to be more welcoming to all businesses in the municipality.
“The benefits that we see is that we can be a lot more inclusive,” said chamber president Charley Lewis, a Sutton on the Bay Realty sales representative who has offices in Creemore and Stayner.
The board of directors took it to members for a vote. Lewis said support for the change was very strong.
She said the chamber was hearing from businesses in communities outside of Stayner, such as Creemore, Duntroon, Nottawa, New Lowell, Singhampton, Glen Huron and Brentwood that they felt they didn’t belong in the organization because their businesses weren’t in Stayner.
“It was limiting our membership,” said Lewis. “One person said they didn’t know where they belonged… They wanted to get involved. They wanted to be part of a group. They wanted to network but they didn’t feel they belonged anywhere.”
She said there is a good chance others who operate storefronts and home-based businesses are feeling the same way. They have always been welcome to join the Stayner Chamber of Commerce but the public perception was that they couldn’t, said Lewis.
She said core operations won’t necessarily change but they are looking to expand, possibly by putting together committees for the different outlying areas.
Lewis said the 70 or so-member Chamber is looking to grow and is inviting people to bring their ideas to the table.
“It’s going to be a process for us and we are going to go slowly, carefully and educate ourselves,” she said.
Currently, the Chamber of Commerce hosts annual business awards ceremonies, Stayner Country Christmas, Stayner Arts Festival, Canada Day, Music, Market and Park It and recently organized an all-candidates debate for federal election candidates. The Chamber funds flowers for the main street and is working with the Township of Clearview to install lights in the downtown during the holiday season as part of the downtown beautification initiative.
It also offers educational workshops and member benefits, including membership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, eligibility for group benefits (health, life, dental and optical coverage) through the Chamber Group Insurance plans and more.
In the meantime, the Chamber has secured the domain name clearviewchamber.com, which will be up and running in the future.
Lewis welcomes people to learn more and get involved. She said there are opportunities open and the Chamber is looking for fresh ideas.
For more information, visit www.staynerchamber.ca or call 705-428-3102. The membership fee is $130. Meetings are the third Wednesday of the month at council chambers in Stayner at 6:30 p.m.