The New Hope Chamber of Commerce will consider disbanding itself at another “emergency” meeting Wednesday night, according to multiple sources close to the situation and documents shown to the Free Press.
These sources have painted a picture of persistent internal turmoil at the business organization, with one visible sign being the recent resignation of Vice-President Jim Jolly. Those interviewed say that several members of the chamber’s leadership ranks are “on the fence” about their continuing role there, and have raised the issue of dissolving the group.
The reason for the dissent? Those interviewed for this article cite frustration and burnout caused by criticism and lack of support, both internally and externally. They paint a picture of a dedicated and hard-working core group within the chamber that feels sandwiched between unfulfilled promises from above and sniping from some of those they’re trying to help.
Said one individual close to the situation who requested anonymity, “You get tired of being s___ on.”
Meanwhile, an ad hoc group of local business owners has emerged from an open merchant forum held at Havana on Oct. 15. The informal group, whose meetings this reporter has attended, is planning a series of holiday season events to help draw visitors to New Hope businesses.
A recent memo obtained by the Free Press bearing the letterhead of New Hope Chamber President Roger Green suggests,”Whatever we do (disband or not), it needs to be positioned appropriately, which will take focus, unity and work. If we plan to disband, I need to begin informing people in town shortly (some probably before Friday). If we do not want to disband, we need a fast plan for the Visitor’s Center and for dealing with the ‘un-Merchants’ Association.'”
But judging from those interviewed, the newly-formed group of merchant volunteers appears to be the least of the Chamber leadership’s problems.
As a visitor of New Hope all I can say is BRING BACK THE FIREWORKS!!!
The duty or goal of a C.O.C is to further the interests of businesses in it’s community. A chamber of commerce is not a governmental body or institution, and has no direct role in the writing and passage of laws and regulations that affect businesses. It may however, act as a lobby in an attempt to get laws passed that are favorable to businesses.
With That being said let me speak my opinion on this….Since opening a shop in New Hope a year ago tomorrow. I have listened to complaining about the ‘old’ chamber and also the Burrough. What are the C.O.C’s duites? to bring people into your business to shop? Is it there fault if you are struggling? I would do some self reflection. Not always what can someone else do for me but what can I do for myself. Can I self promote? umm yes. Do business owners really need a C.O.C to tell them to clean their stores and store fronts and maintain them? I would hope not.
Is it just events like fireworks, tree lighting, races, etc etc that bring people to a town to shop? ummm no. It’s a quaintness of shops and the town that brings people in to shop. Would more parking bring people in? I am not sure but that issue was discussed and unless there is a parking garage built, it’s a dead horse, lets stop beating it and blaming the chamber.
All the great ideas that have been and would be presented to the C.O.C have to then be sent to the Burrough. That is where I have learned the buck, good or bad, usually stops.
Do you Know what my business partner and I did shortly after opening? We walked around to every other business in town and introduced ourselves. Why? So they would know who the new kid in town was, also so we would know what they had to offer. If we don’t have it we send people to someone who might. I would also like to state that Jim Jolly was THE ONLY person from the Chamber to introduce himself and welcome us into the neighborhood. Although I don’t know him well personally I think he is tired of being beat up for what goes wrong in town.
I say that rather than bitch and moan, start thinking what you can do personally to promote your business and New Hope. If we all work work together as a community and stop blaming perhaps things can change. Thanks for listening opinion.
Yes PLEASE disband. The absence of a COC is better than a COC that continues to harm the commercial status of the town (latest example: discontinuing the X-mas lights). Start over and get some representatives/members who are truly interested in the investment and support of our collective commercial interests!