We were stunned to get an email announcing the end of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce after being in existence for 130 years!
Montrose Chamber of Commerce Closes After 130 Years
Montrose Colorado, April 22, 2019 — It is with great sadness that the Montrose Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously today to permanently end operations as the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, effective May 24, 2019, at 5:00 pm.
This decision came after a 90 minute Board meeting, where the Board discussed the challenges facing the organization historically and currently:
● The dissolution of Montrose ACT (Association of Commerce and Tourism) in 2013 and its supporting revenue structure leading to a dramatic reduction in revenue that the Chamber was never able to fully recreate with a membership model;
● A series of four Executive Directors in four years created the dynamic of shifting priorities that made it difficult to grow the Chamber’s membership base;
● Difficulty retaining necessary talent at the staff and board level to sustain a successful organization.
As a result of these and other challenges, the financial models for the Montrose Chamber of Commerce made it impossible to carry on the services of the Chamber without more staff, requiring either a significant increase in members or an alternate revenue model.
Across the country, the Chamber of Commerce model is experiencing a decline in memberships. Business owners can network on LinkedIn and Facebook without leaving their desks. They can choose from thousands of educational opportunities online. While the Chamber offers many benefits unique to local businesses, members must use the benefits to see the results, but business owners are busier than ever.
The desire of the Board of Directors is that the mission and vision of the Chamber of Commerce live on in other community organizations, businesses, and nonprofits. Looking forward to the future, they intend to continue 970Studio and Montrose U, although the organization of these programs will change as the Chamber disbands.
There was a certain surrealism to the announcement and our team was not sure how to feel about being the ‘last’ business to join and do a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The Chamber of Commerce is an essential part of any town/city across America and reading that social media has pushed many chambers out of existence is very disturbing to us – call us old fashioned but people to people contact is our preference!
After much discussion we decided that having Epic serve as a community hub is going to be essential for our community to be able to deepen our human connections during this time of ‘transition’ that technology has been pushing us through. Here is a screenshot of our Epic Expressions Emporium short lived Chamber of Commerce Membership page. It is sad that technology has replaced the gracious human services that our local Chamber of Commerce provided for our community.