The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Executives Conference showcased the Brainerd Lakes Chamber as a model of how to run successful services to benefit its members.
The three-day conference recently at Grand View Lodge was attended by 80 chamber staff from across the state who visited three of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber offices and received in-depth sessions by the staff.
The sessions included:
Revitalizing Main Street, which was launched three years ago to focus on revitalizing Brainerd's central business district. Funded by the city of Brainerd and managed by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, the program has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours, raised $109,000 to support programs and facilitated a facelift of the downtown core area. Main Street focuses on business restructuring, design, promotion, and volunteer organization. Participants learned about the opportunities and challenges of this type of an initiative and toured the downtown improvement area with Becky Flansburg, Office Shop, the Promotion and Women's Walk-About Committee Chairs, and Andy Smith, member of Main Street Advisory Committee, and past committee chair person.
Tourism at Highway 371 Welcome Center. Participants toured this facility and the services provided, as well as learned about the chamber's focus on public relations and online marketing to promote the Brainerd lakes as a tourism destination. Staff members Gretchen Ennis, tourism director, and Holly Holm, visitor services coordinator, facilitated this breakout.
Community/event focused operations at Pequot Lakes office.
The chamber operates from four locations and it's Pequot Lakes and Crosslake offices focus on those neighborhoods with specific committees, programs and events tailored to the needs of businesses. RuthAnn Hanson, area director, talked about how they manage their program of work, have engaged members and non-members, raise funds to support community events, and serve as an advocate for business.
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