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The Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce board fielded numerous questions and concerns regarding the new Chamber management structure and general restructuring of the chamber during a public round table event on Wednesday, December 12. The new chamber structure eliminates an Executive Director position, as the board moves to a more “flat” structure with four staff members managing four different aspects of the chamber’s activities. The board noted the primary benefit will be improved efficiency.

“We felt like, prior (to the restructuring), everyone was super busy; the board, and the employees at the visitor’s center,” said board member Mark Hammer. “But it seemed like we could never do everything we were hoping to do (with the old structure), and sometimes not even the things that were needed.”

Around twenty individuals representing both chamber members and non-members attended the meeting. It was intended to give the community and business owners the chance to give feedback on the restructuring that is currently underway. A few in attendance raised concerns as the Chamber of Commerce unveiled their new management structure. Some were concerned that there needs to be someone unilaterally in charge of running day-to-day operations.

Called a ‘flat-model’, the new management structure is designed to optimize efficiency. The chamber plans to employ four employees (instead of three); each with a clearly defined job description and operation authority. All positions will report to and answer to the board. The positions are:

Marketing Director and Visitor’s Guide
Membership and Sales Manager
Event Planner and Coordinator
Visitors Center and Volunteer Coordinator
The new positions under the flat-model management structure will oversee more online marketing. There will be an employee dedicated to working closely with the town, and another staff individual focusing solely on chamber membership and business marketing.

As part of the restructuring, the Chamber of Commerce is seeking a revitalized relationship with the town of Buena Vista. The town of Buena Vista has a vision to expand the Visitor’s Center to include promotional material for all businesses in town, not just those that are members of the Chamber of Commerce.

“We have $10,000 in the budget for the Buena Vista Chamber,” said Town Administrator Phillip Puckett during a budget overview session late last week. “We’re excited about the things the chamber can do. Frankly, some things are better fit for a chamber that is capable, ready and willing and the focus of the new board and chamber seems to reflect that.”

A few local business owners in attendance at the meeting expressed concern that offering promotional benefits to non-members would undermine the value of membership of the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber board sought to reassure those concerned about the awareness it plans to provide across the town’s business community.

“It’s not just business promotion, it’s about community,” said Hammer.

Board Member Ryan Martin, owner and operator of Ridgeline Signs, said the board is developing “an expanded set of benefits, new things we are going to offer that sweeten the deal (for members). We are trying to think through this whole process,” said Martin.

Should the visitor center choose to promote all businesses, including non-members, Martin pointed out the importance of business responsibility when it comes to advertising and promotion at the Visitor Center and Chamber of Commerce.

“There is some business responsibility,” said Martin. “When I started Ridgeline Signs, if I wanted a stack of cards or flyers at the Visitor’s Center, I took them over there.”