It has been great experience working with the Chamber and also with the community.  I have to say, in all the stores I’ve had the opportunity to work in (13 to date), this Chamber is the most active and it certainly makes a positive impact on and in the community.  Again, thank you for the support through our grand opening (it will be two years Dec 3rd – wow) and also for the Chamber’s patronage here at our store over the past two years.

Ray Kuharich, Manager, Giant Eagle

HCI Employee Benefits has been an “on the books” member of the NHCOC for some time, occasionally attending lunches or going to a function here and there, but in the past year we’ve “activated” our membership and in doing so are really reaping the benefits of chamber membership. In developing our annual marketing plan for 2004 a little over a year ago we determined to focus on businesses in the local area and included active involvement in the chamber as part of our program. We began to attend nearly every function, promoted that we offer the discounted Anthem health insurance to chamber members, participated in the EXPO and each joined a committee. This has resulted in many new business contacts and an active stream of referrals developed throughout the year as we learned more about our fellow chamber members and were thereby also able to send business their way. Our plan for 2005 definitely includes the chamber as one of our marketing arms. We encourage all of you to not just be a listing on the chamber roster but to also activate your membership.

Ronald and Cindi Haines, HCI Employee Benefits

Thank you again for convincing me to have a booth at Expo 2004. We made a lot of contacts, both networking with other businesses and with customers. I was surprised this summer and fall the people that told us they saw us at the Expo and came to “give us a try”. Michelle Jay, Blue Jaye Farm

The NHCOC has provided me the opportunity to get to know area business and their owners. It’s a great feeling to walk into an establishment and be greeted by name and know that I’m helping our local economy by using local business members. It starts as businesses helping businesses but turns into friends supporting friends. My advice… join the Chamber and get to know and support your community business friends because they’ll support you.

Submitted by Ellen Campbell, Campbell & Associates, Inc.

I have been a member of the Nordonia Hills. Chamber of Commerce since 2000. I remember the day I signed the papers. Coincidentally, it was at the Expo! The first official event that I attended as a member was a Business After Hours at Patio Enclosures. I had a great time and met a lot of people. In the past I traveled from business to business to hand out my business cards. I was always looking and searching for Gold. Now, I simply go to a Chamber event with a pocket full of business cards, walk around and talk with people. After the meetings I leave with a pocket full of their business cards, all prospective clients to who I can send proposals. I currently have over 20 clients in the Chamber and more coming!

But I do not just work for these people; I get referrals. Jim Daniel’s at Graphic Traffic may need a web designer, but i was happy to hear that a friend did! Sal Saracusa at The UPS Store in Sagamore Hills passed my name on to a friend as well. And so it goes!

Another great benefit of Chamber membership is that when I need a product of service, I know where to look first. My business and my family have used the services of Jackson Heating and cooling, Brentwood Health and Care Center, Hageman Pest Control, Nancy Trube of REMAX/Premiere Properties and many others. It is more reassuring for me to use the CHamber list than to pick a name from the Yellow Pages. And i often get a discount! (I always ask!)

But the best thing I enjoy (besides the bottom line) is the circle of friends that I have acquired along the way. It is great to go to any community event and see so many friends all in one place. I now consider the Nordonia Hills Chamber of Commerce the Gold that I was searching for.

Submitted by Julie D’Aloiso, Tornado Technologies (fka D-WebJazz Web Design)

In July 2003, I had a “mental breakdown” and decided to become an Entrepreneur. Obviously the things i needed to get my business going were customers. Seeing that we design was something that I offered, I figured that was a good place to start. Then i started making cold calls, something I thoroughly hate. I had some success with it, but I would much rather roll around in fiberglass insulation in my bathing suit. Through these efforts I gained a few clients, but it wasn’t good enough to fee the family yet. A number of friends and clients suggested that I check into the Chamber membership; I eventually decided to join. Although it was a couple of months before i got my first client as a result of that membership, as of this writing, I have made back my original investment over 10 fold.

Business is about trust and relationships. Just joined the Chamber and going to a few events did not bring me the clients that I was looking for. I made a point of not only going to events (After Hours, Coffee & Contacts, etc.) but i made a point of developing relationships. Through this networking, I have gained current and potential clients, and through the relationships I have built, I have received a number of referrals that have turned into solid business, including a very strong long-term client.

I have also received encouragement and advice on being a businessman. there are a lot of quality people in this community who are more than willing to help and who want to see you succeed – even some whom I would consider my competition.

Success doesn’t come without effort. It doesn’t happen over night. It takes work and an investment of time on your part to build those relationships and to gain that trust. Just joining the Chamber is not enough. The Chamber provides you with a vehicle to grow your business. You still have to get in and drive. In the end, the Chamber has been tremendous for both my business and for me as a person.

Submitted by Allan Wrona, Elkons IT Consulting

Copyright all rights reserved