by Kirby Lindsay, posted 3 November 2014
The Fremont Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting for October had a good turnout, aside from the absence of a few usual suspects. Perhaps these absences is the reason the subject of major events, which often dominates the agenda of the Board, was barely scratched while membership and money got full discussion.
Membership in the Fremont Chamber is relatively strong. Even after a recent culling of the lapsed and non-returning members, the list has 262 area businesses. With registration still open, at this meeting, for the Walking Guide (it closed October 31st,) Chamber Executive Director Jessica Vets expected that number to jump. Chamber members get a good discount on their Walking Guide listing fees.
Also, Vets and Kerston Swartz, of the Woodland Park Zoo, announced the start of a Chamber Board Membership Drive. The Board has set as a goal to raise membership (over 300) at its last two retreats. Board members spoke about the benefits to having Chamber Members solicit memberships instead of leaving the task to paid staff, like Vets.
Vets distributed talking points Board Members can use when talking to potential members, who may have let their membership lapse, or who never joined in the first place. The talking points highlighted:
- community – the Chamber provides gatherings to bring businesses together, introductions through Vets, and support for the broader community through grants and events
- enhancement – the Chamber provides marketing and networking through collective ads, the Walking Guide, the Business Directory and its website
- access – with these, and other, tools, the Chamber raises the profile of this district and communicates to the larger world about the benefits of our community
- representation – the Chamber advocates on behalf of the Fremont neighborhood with the city, county and state, as well as with the Seattle Metro Chamber, the North Seattle Industrial Association, and the other Fremont advocacy and representation organizations
Board Member, and Treasurer, Riq Molina (of Chase Bank,) also suggested asking area businesses, “Why they located in Fremont?” Let them say what they like about the neighborhood, and let them know the role the Chamber has had – usually it did have a role – in making that happen.
Vets gave the Executive Director Report at the top of the meeting, and she noted that the unforeseen projects that took more of her time than planned this month were:
- managing the ‘Only In Seattle’ grant the Chamber got to create a free-source database
- working with Jon Hegeman and Linda Hanlon on the Creative Community Advisory Group
- setting up marketing and membership campaigns (Vets has gotten 20 area businesses to participate in the collective holiday ad buy, for ‘Shop Fremont for the Holidays.’)
Yet, this meeting included other administrative matters including a detailed discussion, led by Certified Financial Planner Paul Doak, on the transition of the Chamber bookkeeping to a calendar (instead of a fiscal,) year, and moving the Chamber to a new vendor for credit purchases by members.
Vets further mentioned that the Board Meeting for November, which normally takes place the day before Thanksgiving, has been moved to Tuesday, November 18th at 8a at History House. This is the day before the Chamber general meeting – a Breakfast of Shameless Self-Promotion – at the newly redone Fremont Foundry, at 8a.
Besides missing the two major event producers, absent were also those who most often report on governmental issues. So, Vets gave a brief synopsis on the latest open house held by the City of Seattle Department of Transportation on the Westlake Cycle Track Project. According to her, the people that live and work along Westlake Avenue North are getting more of a voice on this proposal, but it remains a very contentious issue. Right now, it appears that in order to install the cycle track – a dedicated lane used exclusively by bike riders – either freight access or parking will be lost.
The project also prompted a broader discussion about setting speed limits for cyclists, along Westlake and through the Fremont Sunday Market. This led certain Chamber Board Members to joke about building a bike-aduct or Bike-orail, to allow cyclists to soar over Fremont with free, high-speed access.
Pete Hanning, of Red Door, facilitated this meeting, and at the jokes, he called a halt to all the merriment and adjourned. Other topics – including Fremont Festivus, a Club of Awesome, and painting of the historic railing on the Aurora Bridge – had also been considered at this meeting, but cannot be fully captured here. If you want to hear more, or participate in the next discussion, attend the next Chamber Board Meeting (the last of 2014.) In 2015, the meetings will generally take place on the last Wednesday of each month, at 8a at History House.
Hope to see you at one soon!
- FCC Highlight Reel: Why We’re Here
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 3, 2014
- FNC Highlight Reel: Three Topics
- by Kirby Lindsay, October 31, 2014
- FCC Highlight Reel: Membership Woes?
- by Kirby Lindsay, August 4, 2014
- Fremont Foundry: Restored & Open
- by Kirby Lindsay, August 20, 2014
©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.