By Samantha Johnson
The Bow Island/Burdett Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting on March 1, and Denise Fode, vice president in 2021, is now the new president.
This, unfortunately, has left a vacancy in the vice president position and the committee is also in need of two more board members.
“Vacant positions in general are disappointing and it’s unfortunate that we can’t get more involvement from the businesses in Bow Island. That being said, everybody is busy, and the Chamber is working on showing their value and increasing the value to businesses for membership so hopefully that will create more involvement from business owners and their staff,” said Fode.
There are several benefits to being a member of the Chamber of Commerce, such as having access to Chamber Bucks and the Chamber’s benefit plan—which small businesses can sign up for if unable to provide their own. In addition, they have a bigger voice on a municipal, provincial or national level.
All members are invited to attend meetings and the Chamber needs more people to step forward to help with volunteering.
“The Chamber is trying to do some networking events out in the community and needs someone to head up and organize those,” said Fode. “We haven’t done a trade show for a few years because that takes time and energy for someone to organize. Things that we like to do need to be spread out among more people other than the five or six that attend the meetings.”
Fode, a real estate agent, also volunteers on the Medicine Hat Real Estate Board. Now she is the president of the Chamber of Commerce and has resigned from Community Futures Entre-Corp in Medicine Hat.
Fode has been attending meetings at Community Futures for several years. At the AGM, Fode said, “that is another vacancy the Chamber is supposed to fill. It is an interesting committee and Bow Island needs a loud voice on that committee because, in my opinion, it gets left out a bit.”
Community Futures “Help small businesses get off the ground and do unconventional lending so if you don’t get approved by the bank you can go to them. They do some counselling and support for small businesses as well,” explained Fode at the AGM.
Mayor Gordon Reynolds was also online for the AGM and made a closing speech saying, “I’m pleased to see we have a president, and our Chamber has not thrown in the towel and is continuing on. I appreciate the partnership with Medicine Hat as it’s something that has been talked about as a possibility for many years. Council has always appreciated the Chamber as representatives of our business community.”
At the AGM, Fode explained to those attending, “liaison with the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce has proved fruitful and successful. It was exactly what we needed as so many of us are running our own businesses or doing our own thing but don’t want to see the Chamber sink. With Medicine Hat’s expertise it’s been good.”
For more information on the Bow Island Chamber of Commerce go to https://www.medicinehatchamber.com/bowisland/. Their meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month and the next one will be on April 5th. It was decided at the AGM to try an in-person meeting with the option of attending on Zoom if desired. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.