May 30, 2013

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Working Hand in Hand

Sandy Area Chamber Bringing Businesses Together

Gaylen Webb

May 30, 2013

In these difficult economic times, business owners in Sandy may wonder why they should join the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce. The truth is, businesses cannot afford to not join the chamber. The chamber is designed to help businesses grow and prosper. “The chamber is extremely important to our community and has been an integral part of our growth and economic development,” says Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan.

A host of training, networking and other perks await both new and existing businesses in Sandy. Stan Parrish, CEO of the Greater Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, groups those benefits into three areas: networking opportunities, advocacy, and business and entrepreneurial training.

The Potbelly Stove

“To begin with, we’re like a potbelly stove in a general store—a comfortable place where people can gather to talk shop,” he says. “We are focused on bringing businesses together through both member and chamber hosted events, such as breakfasts and power lunches, and business-after-hours events, where business leaders can learn or be motivated, network, share ideas and strengthen one another. Truly, the chamber serves as a catalyst for business growth.”                            

It is also a strong advocate for the business community. “We feel advocacy is very important and we intend to be a strong voice for our members, not only at the city level but also in working with the Utah State Legislature and our representatives in Washington. Too often government can overburden businesses with regulations,” he explains. “Our goal is to collectively represent the businesses in our community.”                                                                                                      

At the local level, Parrish says the chamber works closely with Mayor Dolan and the City Council to let them know how Sandy businesses feel about business regulations and ordinances.                        

Further, because many businesses have diverse interests, Parrish says the chamber seeks to support that diversity and feels a strong responsibility to stand as an advocate for every member. Many chamber members also feel strongly about the role of advocacy and therefore take a great deal of interest in participating on the chamber’s advocacy committee.

Business Training

In addition to its role as an advocate, Parrish says the Sandy Chamber serves as the springboard to a variety of business and entrepreneurial training. Members have the opportunity to leverage the chamber’s unique partnership with Zions Bank’s Business Resource Center, the Utah Department of Workforce Services and Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), and thus partake of a significant number of training seminars and business counseling services.                                                            

“Through the Zions Business Resource Center, we provide free one-on-one business counseling and also support businesses in areas such as legal, accounting, marketing and advertising, entrepreneurial readiness assessments and business plan reviews,” he says.                                             

What’s more, Parrish is excited about a new series of free seminars devoted to social network marketing—how to drive customers to websites through social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. He says the seminars will be put on by local entrepreneur and social media experts.

HR Counseling

In another area of training, the chamber provides access to free human resource counseling. “HR problems are always a concern for small businesses,” says Parrish. Thus, the Chamber connects businesses with counseling in workforce related areas such as on-the-job training programs, recruitment assistance, hiring issues and associated HR problems.                                                                                               

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