Chamber dinner held tonight

Phenix City-Russell County Chamber members meet in annual meeting, review past year’s successes

By Denise DuBois

Tonight, hundreds of Phenix City-Russell County Chamber of Commerce members and business leaders will gather at the Martin-Idle Hour Community Center for the annual Chamber Dinner. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill will be the guest speaker.

“This is the annual meeting and dinner for the Chamber of Commerce.  It is first of all required in our bylaws to have an annual meeting that affords the opportunity for all of the membership to participate if they choose.  We will spend part of the night outlining some of the successes from the past year and also forecast some of the upcoming plans and initiatives.   Secondly, it is a night of celebration and togetherness among Chamber members, community officials, board members, and staff,” said new Chamber President Dennis Beson.

The event raises some money for the organization, but it isn’t the main fund-raiser.

“This is not typically known as a major fundraiser, however, we do make $4,000-$5,000 on this event if we have a good turnout and have sufficient sponsorships.  The Chamber makes the majority of its money at this time from membership dues and our Annual Fall Golf Outing is typically about a $10,000 fund-raiser,” Beson added.

New chamber members and current chamber members have the ability to network with each other during the event and during other events that the Chamber of Commerce hosts.

But why become a Chamber of Commerce member? Beson has just the answer: “The power of membership is a motto that has been used for many years and is something that we are pointing back to in today’s Internet shopping world (in which) we live. “Shop local and seek out a Chamber Member first” is how we typically end all of our meetings. The term Global Society or Global Marketplace has become normal in our conversation because of the ease of purchasing online products.  What consumers fail to remember and (is) a good example, is when the local school fund-raising effort or charity organization comes to a local business asking for a donation for its fund-raising event, yet buys its supplies or day-to-day needs from a non-local/non-chamber member. Becoming a chamber member helps create important networking connections to keep those dollars local. We encourage member-to-member purchasing. We also are the political advocate for members who have a need to communicate a problem or need with the proper governing body, local or state related. We are also an educator; we provide seminars that are business-related that will benefit small- to medium-sized businesses that lack funding for large in-house training consultants. These are just some of the ways a member benefits.”

Some of the events the Chamber of Commerce hosts include: Biscuits and Business, Business After Hours, weekly Sales, Networking, and Leads Exchange. For more information about being a chamber member, email or call (334) 298-3639.