A New Online Format for a Local Chamber Comes to Montrose CO
Montrose Virtual Chamber of Commerce. The Virtual Chamber is a business-lead and business-driven organization dedicated to providing a free online business directory to all businesses in Montrose CO. Their mission is to help local businesses promote and network through a competitive online business directory.— Businesses in Montrose Colorado have a new resource for networking and promoting their businesses: The
All businesses are invited to join for free at https://montrosechamber.com. The first 500 businesses to join will be entered into a drawing for a free iPad.
When the Montrose Chamber of Commerce closed in May 2019, it was the end of an era for the 130 year old organization. Ultimately, the closure came down to an unstable financial model, with the entire organization funded by voluntary membership dues.
City chambers traditionally provide resources to further the interests of business in the local area, including networking, promotion, membership directory, education, and government lobbying. The Virtual Chamber aims to fill the hole of business networking, primarily in an online format.
The Virtual Chamber is a business-lead organization. It is run by a local business, InSync Media, and its CEO, Laura Williams.
Williams was on the final Board of Directors for the original Chamber, and participated in the unanimous vote in favor of shutting down the organization.
“It was a difficult decision. Closing down a historic Chamber is not a decision made lightly. As a Board, we invested countless hours into rebuilding the Chamber into a sustainable organization. In the end, we had to say goodbye to the Chamber and hope that other organizations would continue to provide the resources so desperately needed by our business community.”
Williams observed many of the Chamber benefits and resources taken on by other organizations: Region 10 provides Certificate of Origin; 970 Studio is lead by the Boys and Girls Club and Proximity Space; Ribbon Cuttings are now handled by DART; the Senior Reality Fair is now organized by the NuVista Credit Union; Montrose U became a program run by the City.
The final service that Williams saw needed to be filled was a membership directory; specifically an online business directory that would serve two purposes: 1) a Montrose-only business directory to promote Montrose businesses locally and regionally; and 2) a tool to help members rank in Google searches.
“With the closing of the Montrose Chamber and the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) in the summer of 2019, the business directories of both organizations went away. There was no longer a comprehensive directory for Montrose businesses,” stated Williams.
Williams’ company, InSync Media, specializes in SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. They understand the power of an optimized business directory for local businesses. She explains:
“We get calls every week from local businesses who want their website to show up in the right searches. Our desire is to operate a free platform so that every single business in Montrose can create an SEO-friendly listing and reap all the benefits of showing up in the right Google searches.”
The only qualification an organization must have to create a listing is that they have a location with a Montrose CO zip code.
The goal of any Chamber is to be a catalyst for small business growth, and to further the interests of small businesses in a local area. In the future, Williams envisions a Virtual Chamber that is an online business hub for Montrose, complete with a listing of every Montrose business, reviews, ecommerce, forums, nonprofit volunteer opportunities, job postings, events, and more.
“Montrose has so much to offer in terms of business opportunities and a high standard of living. I can see the Montrose of 2040 being the center for technology, business, and innovation on the Western Slope, attracting businesses from around the country. Creating the Virtual Chamber is one thing that my company can do to make Montrose competitive locally, regionally, and even nationally.”
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