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Don’t overlook the ways a chamber can help

August 31, 2014
By MARK KILMER , Leader Herald

The vision chamber of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce reads as follows: We are the leading voice of business in the region, providing advocacy, resources and solutions for our members.

This chamber vision statement best describes what we provide our chamber members, and I believe the services that we provide to the region as a whole. As so much of what we do is highly visible, i.e. the informational events, networking, business exposure, tourism promotion and scholarships, etc., I also believe the main purpose of a chamber of commerce goes unnoticed.

The perfect example of this occurred last week. I was having a conversation with a chamber member who was questioning the value of her membership and whether or not she would be renewing for the next year. No one can dispute that all businesses must scrutinize every dime spent these days. She told me, quite frankly, that she hasn't the time to attend chamber events. She, like most businesspeople, attends to her business needs for so many hours, which makes it hard for her to come to our events.

I didn't waste a moment to quote our vision statement and express my belief that our most important value lies in this vision, giving her some examples. I mentioned the conversation I had with a desperate business owner regarding the flooding in Montgomery County and the need to review the operations of the canal system. Through the contact resources of the Chamber, his state senator contacted him and listened, and eventually helped by addressing the concerns.

And then there was the member whose small business was experiencing some impossible regulatory issues. Again, the chamber contacted and connected with the right people and all was resolved to the delight of the member.

I should also mention the fast growing company (1-20 employees in a very short period of time), who is facing a very difficult future due to a very narrow-minded piece of legislation. With the chamber's help, a tour of the facility took place with all four of our state representatives, giving these elected officials a better idea of the business and hopefully a better idea of the unfairness of the pending legislation.

These are just a few examples of the many times the chamber has intervened to help our members.

Our ability to connect with our elected officials and partner with many statewide organizations such as the Business Council of New York State, as well as national organizations such as the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provides our members a much broader platform. What I am saying is that so much of what the chamber does goes unnoticed by our members, but our advocacy, resources and solutions go such a long way in benefitting all of our members.

So, when you ask yourself the question, "What does the Chamber do for me?" I say, ask the question, "If not for the chamber, who is there for my business?"

If you have any needs at all, please contact the Chamber, or stop by at either of our offices:?2 N. Main St. , Gloversville; 1166 Riverfront Center, Amsterdam; or call us at 725-0641 or visit

Mark Kilmer is the president of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.



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