Why every thriving community has a Chamber of Commerce
January 20, 2024
Each week we hear the same question: What is a Chamber of Commerce and what does it do? Well, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share a little insight as to what a Chamber of Commerce is and why successful communities have them.
The concept of various businesses joining together in a mutual effort to increase commerce has its beginnings in Europe. Primarily as a defensive tactic, traders banded together for protection against common enemies and to establish policies to govern trade. This was eventually extended as a means of exerting influence on governments and legislation. The first organization of businesses was in Marseilles, France where the term "Chamber of Commerce" was first documented. This fledgling group was established by the city council in 1599.
The modern Chamber of Commerce is more of an American development and is an interconnected group of businesses and professionals working together to increase local commerce and to serve their communities more effectively than can be done individually. The New York State Chamber is the oldest Chamber of Commerce in America, formed in 1768 and chartered by King George III in 1770. That makes it older than the Declaration of Independence. By 1870, there were 40 local chambers of commerce in the United States. Today there are over 5,000.
There is a distinct advantage in combining efforts with other like-minded businesses and applying available technology to expand your own business while increasing global awareness of your community. The more your local business community grows, the more potential there is for your own business or service. As a business person in today's economy, it is imperative that you apply all the tools available to you in order to succeed. Many of the tools necessary for expanding your business and reaching potential customers and clients are only available to you through your local Chamber of Commerce. Prospective customers searching for reputable businesses through the internet or by traditional sources normally begin with the local Chamber of Commerce. The chamber, in turn, can drive incoming business directly to you as a member.
Contrary to what is often believed, chambers of commerce are not government entities, however they may collaborate with the governing bodies in their communities. The purpose of the chamber is to assist you as a business owner by providing valuable tools to help you grow your business, such as being a part of a network of local businesses with similar community interests and concerns and are able to interact with like-minded business owners and professionals. I will share a few benefits of Tehachapi's Chamber membership in the next edition of The Loop.
If you have questions or want to learn more, stop by 209 E. Tehachapi Blvd. or give us a call at (661) 822-4180.
Clare Scotti is the Executive Director of Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce.