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Why every thriving community has a Chamber of Commerce

Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce


Clare Scotti and Rosanna Vaughn.

Each week, we hear the 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 business owners by providing valuable tools to help them grow, such as being part of a network of local businesses with similar community interests/concerns, and being able to interact with like-minded business owners and professionals. Here are just a few benefits to being part of a Chamber like the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce:

• Speak with a unified voice regarding community and business issues.

• Have access to a public forum for community involvement, education, cultural activities and public debate.

• Contribute to community pride by putting the community on display, promoting activities and events that present the chamber members as vibrant and involved.

• Have a listing in the Chamber's powerful business directory, where the public and other businesses can connect with you.

• The Chamber provides the public with a location to find information on the community and local businesses.

• Chamber members can utilize the headquarters for projects, business promotions, board meetings and various Chamber and business needs.

• Full-time representation and full-time results.

• Businesses have a "watchdog" protecting their interests politically and economically.

• Access to a recognized business support center in the community.

• Access to free classes that will expand your marketing potential, build business, pivot with changing times and increase wellness.

The list goes on. The Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce is here for local business. Talk to us about how we can be in your corner. 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.