First meeting to launch efforts is March 7 at Planet Pizza; anyone with business, civic or community ties to the village is encouraged to attend,By Nancy Kriz MONROE - If Village of Monroe Mayor Jim Purcell could pick one word to wear on a T-shirt to encourage area business, community and civic organizations to join the new Monroe Chamber of Commerce, he clearly knows what that word would be: Revitalization. And so, he’s quite excited to see the results of months of steering committee work come to fruition next Monday, March 7, when the Monroe Chamber of Commerce holds its first meeting at Planet Pizza in Monroe. While Purcell said his global goal for the chamber is to revitalize the village’s downtown area - considered by many to be lifeless - he believes there will be many tangible benefits of equal importance as a result of the group’s formation. Among them, he said, is that the chamber’s creation will give it the ability to apply for state and federal grants, with many of those designed for community revitalization efforts, he said. The need for partnerships “The state and federal people want to see partnerships in the public and private sector,” said Purcell. At a time where communities everywhere are making difficult decisions regarding budgets and taxes, finding revenue sources to pay for revival efforts is important, he added. Additionally, Purcell believes the new chamber will help to increase public awareness of what’s available to the business, civic and non-profit communities as well as area residents. “It’s about selling the idea to that the Village of Monroe is a viable place to do business,” said Purcell. “It’s going to make us more competitive in the marketplace. We’ve got to get this village moving in a different direction. There’s a lot out there, but it’s never been marketed to people.” The group’s steering committee has been meeting regularly over the past few months, putting together ideas and goals for the new chamber. Door-to-door membership drive Its initial plans are to embark on a membership drive with a goal of getting 150 businesses, community and civic groups to join as inaugural members. “That 150 is a decent number,” said Purcell. “This will allow us to get a budget in place.” Already, the group has 20 percent of that goal reached, according to Purcell, with 30 commitments to join from steering committee members. For those who want to get information immediately, they can visit www.virtualmonroe.com. (Note the name that will be seen on that Web site is Monroe Business Association; a decision was subsequently made to create the chamber which includes a name change. The new name will be posted shortly.) To reach those numbers, steering committee members will begin a door-to-door membership drive this month to encourage organizations with ties to the village to join. “This isn’t just a chamber for the Village of Monroe, or the Town of Monroe, or the Village of Harriman or the Village of Kiryas Joel,” said Purcell. “It’s open to anyone who has a reason to be involved with the area.” He welcomed participation from businesses and organizations based in the towns of Blooming Grove, Chester, Woodbury and surrounding areas. Plans for summer concerts At the March 7 meeting, organizers plan to discuss some initial benefits available as a result of chamber membership, such as participation in group health insurance opportunities, which may make those costs more affordable than what small business owners may pay now, according to Purcell. Organizers will also discuss some of the initial plans of the group’s activities committee, which include the annual fireworks display and, new this year, “Millpond Concerts” which will be held over the summer. Membership fees have yet to be established, Purcell said, but he expects that to be in place shortly. He expressed his gratitude to the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce for its insight and guidance in the planning process. Purcell considers the establishment of the chamber to be among the biggest things to happen in the Village of Monroe in recent years because of the potential it has to change the village. “The start-up of the chamber is really important to the people who live and work here,” he said. “We believe this will enhance growth and business and help offset the tax base because we hope people will shop local. We want to let people know what’s available. We’re all one community, in the end.”
The start-up of the chamber is really important to the people who live and work here. We believe this will enhance growth and business and help offset the tax base because we hope people will shop local. We want to let people know what’s available. We’re all one community, in the end.” Monroe Village Mayor Jim Purcell
If you go The kickoff meeting to introduce the new Monroe Chamber of Commerce will be held: Monday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Planet Pizza in Monroe. Village of Monroe Mayor Jim Purcell said any area business, civic or community organization that has a business or community interest in the village is invited and encouraged to attend. For more information, call 782-8341 or visit www.virtualmonroe.com.
What is a chamber of commerce? A chamber of commerce is a form of a business network, e.g., a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. Sometimes, a board may hire a president, CEO or executive director, plus staffing appropriate to size, to run the organization. The first chambers of commerce were founded in 1599 in continental Europe (in Marseille, France and Brugge, Belgium). The world’s oldest English-speaking chamber of commerce was first established in 1768 in New York City. Source: www.wikipedia.org