Chamber adds upgraded Internet site to long list of programs
The Chamber of Commerce is stepping up its efforts to give Atikokan a bigger presence on the Internet.
That effort is just one of many projects the Chamber is tackling this year. All were reviewed by the new board at a pair of information meetings for members and prospective members last month.
All of the effort is geared around the Chamber’s central purposes: supporting local businesses and organizations through the overall promotion of Atikokan.
“I think this is an aggressive board, in terms of promoting Atikokan,” said Chamber manager Linda Braun. “It also knows it needs help and input from the community, and Chamber members, to meet its mandate to promote the economic, civic and social welfare of the community .”
New vice-president Doug Lampi is heading up the Internet project. He is in the process of listing the Chamber’s web site on about 1,000 different search engines, under a variety of different topics. His hope is that anyone looking, say, for information on canoeing, will be directed to the Chamber’s site (www.nwon.com\chamber).
The site presents the local attraction (White Otter Castle, golf, Quetico Park, the Mining Attraction, etc.), as well as accommodations and other basic travel info. Within each category (Tourism, upcoming events, businesses), the site is linked to others, mostly Atikokan-related sites.
As part of the site upgrade, the Chamber is offering low-cost ads to members. These ‘banner ads’ will be available for just $20 a year. Links to members’ web-sites can also be had; they cost $5 a year.
In addition to this ‘high tech’ initiative, the Chamber will continue its regular, popular programs for the coming year:
- Summer Tourism: Running the tourist booth (members can book free display space there), several advertising brochures (a new basic brochure will be started this fall), maps, and Quetico Park tie-in promotions (the Chamber produces a special services brochure that goes out to all Park registrants, courtesy of Ontario Parks).
- Retail: Several directories (phone, fax), ads, atte4nding sport shows (at least three), signage (thanks to Atikokan Generating Station, the Chamber plans to add lights to the big sign at the tourist booth this year), responding tourists’ off-season info requests, Christmas decorations, and the annual business awards.
- Marketing Chamber activities: A regular newsletter, membership in the NWO Chamber Association (NOWACC –Atikokan will host that group’s fall meeting), and regular Chamber Chatter columns in the Progress (look for a new look soon!)
- Winter tourism: The Chamber works with the Sno-Ho Club on several efforts, including sport show attendance and handling tourist inquiries. It also supports the winter Carnival.
- Community projects: The Chamber works regularly with the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs (spring and fall fairs), the Atikokan Bass Classic, and the Kiwanis Christmas Parade. It also organizes the Community Calendar, and works with other groups on one-time projects, such as the Birthday tree planting program with the Quetico Foundation.
- Education for member: The Chamber regularly hosts workshops and seminars, and makes a special effort to present small business week programs.
The Chamber is also in the midst of a membership survey. Specifically, it asks members to rate its performance in a number of key areas, and asks for suggestions and input on those areas. Very preliminary results (13 responses) suggest general satisfaction with the organization’s overall performance.
All of that adds up to a fairly substantial return on the cost of membership (typically, $110 for a small business).
1999/2000 Chamber of Commerce board of directors: John Collition, president, Doug Lampi, vice-president, Lisa Belanger, secretary, Kim Cross, treasurer, Dave Maynard, past president, Sandra Poelman, Heather Larocque, Norma Mills, Janette Payne, Sue Wensley, Judi Nault, and Linda Manford.
- Meeting – The Chamber meets twice a month, on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. The meetings are open to members; call the chamber at 597-1599 for meeting time (5:30 pm in summer, noon in winter) and place (it rotates among chamber member restaurants).
- Chamber sub-committees: membership, Citizen of the Year, 100th Birthday, NOACC, employee relations, Trade Show, Christmas Party, winter tourism, directories for 2000, and Summer tourism, retail and merchants.
August 3, 1999