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Member Benefits

Member Referrals

ground breaking

Each month, hundreds of consumers look to the Chamber to recommend businesses in the area. When they ask, we refer only our members – including you! The Chamber also sends dozens of relocation and tourist packets each week to those looking to move to or visit the Greater Fort Smith Region. These packets feature the hotels, restaurants, apartments, churches, etc. that are Chamber members.

The Chamber is committed to serving and promoting its members, which is why we shop Chamber members first and recommend you to everyone – from our best friends to our area visitors.

Look Good

A new national study reveals that membership in a Chamber can significantly boost a business image among consumers as well as among other businesses. In a scientific survey of more than 2,000 adults, The Schapiro Group – an Atlanta- based strategic consulting firm – found positive perceptions of Chamber members in a number of areas including overall favorability, consumer awareness and reputation, and likelihood of future patronage.

The study found that consumers are:

• 63 percent more likely to want to purchase goods or services from a small business that is a Chamber member

• 44 percent more likely to rate a Chamber member business favorably

• 50 percent more likely to eat at a Chamber member restaurant

Healthcare

Your membership investment more than pays for itself each year. The Chamber participates in the Chamber Assistance Program (CAP) health insurance plan to help you meet the ever-growing demands of providing health coverage for you and your employees. Your membership investment is also tax-deductible as a necessary business expense.

If you are having problems with your current healthcare plan or simply can’t afford the premiums, we encourage you to ask for a rate or quote for this exclusive service. CAP offers a variety of healthcare products aimed at small employers, and plans are available to Chamber members only.

Networking Opportunities

Meet potential customers, make vital contacts and learn from the knowledge of other successful professionals. Chamber members can do all this and more at a range of events, from First Friday Breakfast to Business2Business Connection Luncheon to the business development series Business Focus.

Good old-fashioned face-to-face networking is essential for doing business in the Greater Fort Smith Region. The Chamber brings members together through various events, and activities and offers you the key to unlock the door to the business community.

Debra Presson, assistant manager and catering director for Golden Corral, has been a Chamber member for more than 20 years and says the Chamber is an excellent business tool.

“I am thankful that we at Golden Corral are very active members of the Chamber,” she said. “As a Chamber Ambassador, I’ve met and made many new friends, and it’s been a great opportunity to meet many new business owners and their key employees. It gives us many great opportunities to network, socialize and get involved with Fort Smith and the surrounding communities. The Chamber staff always strives to offer new events and opportunities for their membership. These are great tools to take advantage of.

“I have always firmly believed that you get as much back from something as you are willing to put into it. We have many friends and supporters at the Chamber and would encourage any individual or business to join. It’s a great avenue to explore.”

Representation and Advocacy

We do what you don’t have the time to do: represent your voice to local, state and national elected officials on issues such as zoning, planning, infrastructure investments and improved intergovernmental relations. The Chamber works to address and lobby the issues that impact your bottom line. Whether it’s regularly attending City Board meetings or visiting with our legislators in Washington, D.C., the Chamber is the voice of business for the Greater Fort Smith Region. The Chamber also provides regular face-to-face meeting opportunities with local, state and nationally elected officials at events like the Western Arkansas Legislative Gala and in groups like the Legislative Affairs Task Force.

Free Publicity and Advertising

Open new doors with expansive publicity through your free listing (both alphabetically and categorically) in the Chamber’s Business Directory. The Chamber’s online directory can take your business places it has never been before with thousands of hits to the Chamber’s Web site each month.

Thousands of residents and visitors visit the Chamber office each year. Our lobby is full of brochures and pamphlets from our Chamber members – a service we provide for free. Your business can also submit press releases to the Chamber and let us help promote your successes through the Web site and the 48,000-circulation monthly newsletter, The Catalyst.

New members of the Chamber also receive thousands of dollars in free advertising on television and radio stations, as well as a free advertisement in the Times Record featuring their ribbon cutting. The Chamber also offers its members periodic reduced-cost advertising of events that put your business in front of our entire membership as well as the movers and shakers of the Greater Fort Smith Region. Contribute to a Strong Economy and a Better Fort Smith

Your business might be successful without the Chamber, but we champion policies, practices and activities that foster business retention and business development. Businesses create jobs. A good business environment is good for the Greater Fort Smith Region.

While many of our efforts and services can and will be of direct and material assistance to you, it is absolutely certain that our programs are indirectly helpful to all business and professional people as well as the communities we serve.

The Chamber’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for all of Fort Smith’s residents by providing a strong business climate for our business community. The Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce is heavily involved in economic development yet receives no money from any government entities. We are solely funded by our members. Your investment in the Chamber not only helps your business, but helps bring businesses and jobs to our communities.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Chamber offers its members many opportunities to get involved in the community we all support. From supporting local events like the Fort Smith Classic and the Regional Air Show to helping better our youth through educational venues like Arkansas Scholars, the Chamber is a great way to get involved.

The Chamber’s 2008 Quality of Place Agenda provides the means for our members to get active with everything in the community, from riverfront development to the recruitment of healthcare professionals. If it’s important to you, it’s important to the Chamber. We offer our members the unique opportunity to stand side-by-side with business and civic leaders to become involved in issues that matter and to make your opinions count.

Information Central

The Chamber is in the information business. The monthly newsletter, The Catalyst, is distributed to our members and to more than 48,000 subscribers of the Times Record. The Chamber’s electronic newsletter, the e-Catalyst, is e-mailed to more than 2,000 subscribers once a week.

The re-designed Web site – www.fortsmithchamber.com – features the latest news on the community, economic development, the Chamber and our Chamber members.

Be an Ambassador

Chamber Ambassadors are a special group of people who volunteer their time to help promote the Greater Fort Smith Region business community and support Chamber functions. Ambassadors are usually the most outgoing, proactive employees in their company. They project a positive image for the company they represent as well as for the Chamber. Ambassadors perform a wide variety of duties in the Chamber, but their main function is to help promote the Chamber, welcome new members to the Chamber, and make Chamber events successful and enjoyable for our members.

Being a Chamber Ambassador puts you and your business in the spotlight! Ribbon cutting photos are printed in The Catalyst and the Times Record, which collectively reach nearly 50,000 homes each month. They are also hosted on the Chamber's Web site, which receives thousands of hits each month. That gives your company free publicity as a supporter of new businesses coming to the region.

Ribbon cuttings and other Chamber events also provide a great opportunity to have a few minutes of fun and network with other movers and shakers in the community. Remember, Chamber ambassadors are often the first community representatives a new business owner meets, so it’s the perfect opportunity to make new business connections.

Want to know more about being a Chamber member? Visit our Web site at www.fortsmithchamber.com, or e-mail membership@fortsmithchamber.com.

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