Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce

Press Room

Release Date: 12/23/2010

Technology is constantly charging ahead and any successful business person knows staying on top of tech trends in one way to keep your company in the spotlight. The Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber is helping their members stay on the cutting edge by becoming the second chamber in the state of Missouri to join up with MyChamberApp.

MyChamberApp is a smartphone application that provides subscribers with a local chamber membership directory in the palm of their hand. "This makes a great travel companion," said chamber executive director Cecilia Murray. "Area phone numbers are instantly at your fingertips." With the push of a button consumers can pinpoint, contact and with GPS-enabled mapping, find their way into local businesses.

The Waynesville-St. Robert area sees a large number of visitors who will find a great benefit in this app as it helps them navigate their way through unfamiliar streets to area businesses. Locals also will see a benefit in the opportunity to contact businesses quicker and easily learn about any deals without any cost or hassle. Everyone is encouraged to download this free app by visiting www.mychamberapp.com/download-2 or visiting their phone's application feature.

"We're delighted to be able to offer this benefit to our members," said Murray; the only businesses listed through this app are chamber members who are able to update their listings, create coupon deals, and offer member to member discounts. To learn more about becoming a part of the chamber contact their office at (573) 336-5121 or e-mail chamber@wsrchamber.com.

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Ambassadors Club

Release Date: 1/4/2010

If you've been to an event hosted by the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber in the last few years you've undoubtedly spotted the bright blue jackets and wondered to yourself who are those people? They are members of the Chamber's Ambassador Club and while a great deal of mystery seems to surround them their mission and purpose are quite clear. They are the Chamber's secret weapon, an army of champion volunteers.

In 2006 the Chamber saw a decline in its volunteers, yet there were still those few faces that always came through the office doors smiling and offering their support, time and time again. In an effort to let those volunteers be recognized for their services to the Chamber, and encourage others to follow suit the Chamber established the Ambassador's Club. The Bylaws and Regulations were created by comparing what other area Chambers were doing and holding meetings with charter club members to discuss what they foresaw for the group.

The founding Ambassadors based the organization on one primary purpose to promote the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce. They serve as good will Ambassadors, promote understanding and confidence in the Chamber, and help promote Chamber membership to all eligible businesses, organizations and individuals.

As with any club or organization the requirements for membership in the Ambassador's Club aren't nearly as mysterious as some might speculate. Club bylaws state that membership is limited to 30 Ambassadors from the general Chamber membership who are in good standing and be voted upon by a simple majority at the regular monthly meeting. Chamber members are also limited to no more than two active Ambassadors at any given time. It has always been a goal of the Club that no one business make-up a majority of its membership.

Ambassadors Club membership presupposes an interest in, sympathy with, and understanding of the purposes and objectives of the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce. With this understanding there are commitments and requirements asked of Ambassadors to remain in good standing within the Club. Most of which includes being present at Chamber events throughout the year to lend a helping hand or a shoulder of support.

If you've been looking for a way to make a heartfelt connection through volunteerism and your business is a member of the Chamber don't hesitate to contact the Chamber office to learn more about the requirements of becoming a Chamber Ambassador. There are plenty of blue jackets to go around! To contact the Chamber office call 573-336-5121, e-mail chamber@wsrchamber.com, or visit us at 137 St. Robert Blvd. Ste. B.

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What is the Chamber?

Release Date: 9/17/2009

Last month marked the 52nd anniversary for the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce and despite our presence in the community for all these years the same questions always come up. What is the Chamber? What do they do? Why should I join? Here are some answers to those questions.

What is the Chamber? Officially the Chamber is a voluntary organization of citizens who are investing their time and money in a community development program working together to improve the economic, civic and cultural well being of the area. More simply put the Chamber is a group of businesses and individuals investing themselves in the growth of their community.

Any citizen who is interested in helping to develop the area is eligible to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. The work of the Chamber is financed by the investment of the members who support it on the basis of their ability to pay and their interest in the progress of the area. Which means your membership dues and monies raised during fundraisers keep the Chamber in business.

What do they do? The Chamber hosts community events such as the Veterans' Day Parade and Community Pride Night. We hold fundraisers such as the Taste of Pulaski County and Basket Auction and the Polar Meltdown Chili Cook-Off. We administer programs such as the CHOICES program which is presented to all eighth graders in the county. But the majority of our work goes unseen and that is the promotion of our membership. Through our directories, mailings, web sites, phone calls and literally our physical office we are able to connect the public to our member businesses and organizations.

In addition our Government and Military Affairs committee has been the driving force in the establishment of the Veterans' Memorial to be placed in the Veteran's Cemetery. Our Economic Development committee has also worked to develop a demographics package for the area in the absence of a County Economic Developer.

Why should I join? Besides the obvious marketing and networking benefits being a Chamber member marks you as a community leader. The results of a survey conducted by the Shapiro Group to determine the effectiveness of an active membership in the local chamber of commerce and its impression on consumers were enlightening. Results showed a chamber membership as an effective tool in helping to enhance a business' reputation. In particular consumers believed that businesses involved with their local chambers use good business practices, have a good reputation, care about customers and are involved in the community.

That study aside the Chamber hopes that the connections made and good feelings from being a part of a larger whole make membership worthwhile. For more information about membership please contact our office at 573-336-5121 or visit our website at www.waynesville-strobertchamber.com.

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Business Tips

Release Date: 7/14/2009

Have you called your business lately?

As the local Chamber of Commerce we are constantly asked for marketing advice. Below we have compiled a list of simple things we've learned over the years that businesses can do to stand out from the crowd.

Professional Marketing: It goes without saying, but if there is money in the marketing budget hire a professional. They will know how to reach the local customer base better than anyone and can provide key insights.

Customer Service: How often have you called your own office? Do you know how your employees are presenting your company on the phone and in person when you're away? Make it a habit so that your potential clients don't hear, "Oh, he's here somewhere, running around with his head cut off!"

Google Yourself: You can imagine our surprise when we Googled the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce and it brought us to the Rolla Chamber with a St. Robert address. In addition to links to your own websites, search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, lead you to online business listings which include maps. It is your responsibility to update contact information and locations. Most sites will lead you through the process and it literally takes minutes and can provide you with that much more business and feedback information.

Coupons, Coupons, Coupons: Coupons are often the simplest, most cost-effective way to get your business name in front of a consumer. They are inexpensive and even when they are not used they are often items that people pick up, hold on to and give more attention. The Chamber offers its members the opportunity to post coupons through our website, free of charge, if you aren't already taking advantage of this benefit there's no better time to start! Members are also welcome to include coupons in the Chamber's Newcomer packets.

Network: By recognizing and respecting the true power of networking you open up a virtual world of free publicity. For example, you attend the Chamber luncheon, you visit with two other business owners you are not familiar with who then return to their offices and tell a fellow employee about your business, who then goes home and tells their spouse, who goes to work the next and…well you get the point. The key is being confident in what you are doing and not being afraid to show-off your business. No one can sell you better than you can!

For the Consumer: Don't be afraid to speak up about your transactions. Whether you have a good or bad review, visit the Better Business Bureau website and leave your feedback. You can also leave comments on both Google and Yahoo and write letters to business owners. There's no telling, you might help a dedicated employee get a promotion or raise by sharing your experiences.

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Veteran's Memorial

Release Date: 6/24/2009

The Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the building of the Veterans' Memorial to be placed in the Veterans' Cemetery in the Fort Leonard Wood-West Waynesville Area. It has been a long time in the making but ground has been broken and the Memorial is only steps away from fruition.
The Chamber began working on this project in 2004 and since then the location and design has changed. When it was decided that the Memorial would be placed in the Veterans' Cemetery we were genuinely honored that all those names and good wishes would be viewed and visited by Veterans and their families. Through negotiations with the Missouri Veterans Commission an estimated of $50,000 and a cap of 500 bricks was established. The Chamber's Military and Government Affairs Committee began fundraising efforts to meet that goal and after only a few short years succeeded.

Currently the Chamber, and community, has raised the funds needed but we are 85 bricks shy of meeting the 500 total. On July 15th the Chamber will be wrapping up the brick portion of the Memorial and while 415 bricks is an impressive amount, it is our goal that no brick goes empty. This is the final stage of this project, once the bricks are ordered no additional bricks can be placed at the Memorial.
These bricks not only make up a large portion of the Memorial but they also serve as tributes of gratitude to the veterans who have dutifully served their country and the many sacrifices made. We are asking our community not to let this once in a lifetime chance pass them by, bricks are $50 a piece, with your choice of inscription (within the designated space). Purchase your brick before July 15th by visiting the Chamber office at 137 St. Robert Blvd., Ste. B or call (573) 336-5121 for more information.

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Shop Local

Release Date: 4/17/2009

Throughout the country, neighborhoods are coming together and finding ways to support each other and one of the biggest grassroots efforts making a comeback is shopping local. It sounds like a simple enough concept, but in truth it goes so far beyond that, that the full effects of this 'simple' act are often overlooked. Sure shopping local helps support area businesses but it also keeps government moving forward, strengthens community spirit, helps reduce our carbon footprint, and keeps our community alive!

Every dollar you spend is taxed in one way or another, so why not keep those tax dollars local? We are fortunate to live in a community that is continually experiencing growth. Just think what would happen if our cities were to lose tax revenue? New infrastructure would come to a halt, maintenance would suffer, and our neighborhoods would literally go into disrepair. Shopping local keeps your tax dollars in your community. Think about that the next time you want to drive somewhere down the road to go shopping.

Speaking of driving down the road, shopping local saves you gas and lessens the negative environmental impact of the food we eat. According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, "Food, Fuel and Freeways" by Rich Pirog, Timothy Van Pelt, Kamyar Enshayan and Ellen Cook, the average apple travels approximately 1,500 miles just to get into your shopping cart. Let us not add more miles to that number.

In 2003 the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine commissioned a case study that found that every dollar spent in a locally owned business had three times the impact as that spent elsewhere. Speak to any of our area non-profit organizations and they will tell you the truth in that statement cannot be reiterated enough. Some of our largest area donors and supporters are our own neighbors who give because of what they get back in both business and spirit.

These are just a number of reasons that inspired the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce to create our own shop local program called, "Buy Chamber First."

As part of the 'Buy Chamber First' Program the Chamber has begun offering its membership coupon opportunities through the Chamber website. They have also begun selling official 'Buy Chamber First' shopping bags, available at the Chamber office for $5 each. The over-sized blue tote with the Chamber logo and 'Buy Chamber First' slogan are great ways to show your community pride and spirit as you shop local.

In the coming months the Chamber hopes to offer more ideas, concepts and programs that help to support our community and the 'Buy Chamber First' Program. For more information about this program or to submit your own ideas please contact the Chamber by visiting us at 137 St. Robert Blvd. Ste. B, calling us at (573) 336-5121 or e-mailing us at info@wsrchamber.com.

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Basket Auction Behind the Scenes

Release Date: 3/17/2009

We are officially in our new offices and just in time! March brings one major event to the Chamber and that is our upcoming Taste of Pulaski County and Basket Auction. This event is the Chamber's largest fundraiser of the year and we really strive to make it a fun experience for everyone who attends. There is a lot of work that goes into making sure everything goes off without a hitch. Besides the usual advertising and logistical preparations we also keep our staff and Ambassadors busy collecting donations, setting up the Community Center, providing entertainment and getting menus from participating restaurants.

The Basket Auction really begins in January when we begin advertising the event, notify restaurants and soliciting for basket donations and sponsorships from our membership. (For the record, ANY business in Pulaski County can take part in the Taste of Pulaski County and Basket Auction, you don't have to be a Chamber member.) As February rolls around and we're securing the details of the event, things at the Chamber office are put on standby (to some extent) until the big day is closer at hand.

March is when the real fun begins! Once restaurant registration is closed the menus are sent to the printer so that work can begin on the event directory. Next thing on the list is the collection of basket donations. This is just one-way Chamber Ambassadors play a tremendous role. On a fateful Friday, Ambassadors take their lists and begin stopping by all our donating members, picking up their baskets. I have to tell you being at the office is both fun and hectic at this time. Because while it's exciting to check out all the great donations it is also hard to keep up with checking them off, typing up descriptions, and also going over what is yet to come in. Once everything is accounted for the basket run-down is sent to the printer to complete the event directory.

Once the big day arrives, for us staff the main focus is just getting through it with all our t's crossed and i's dotted. Invariably things always seem to go just as planned, if not better. We owe the success of this event to our community, our membership and our Ambassadors.

This year, despite everything going on in the financial world, the Chamber is optimistic that the Taste and Basket Auction will be as successful as ever. The theme for this year is "A Day at the Circus!" If you're in the neighborhood on March 28th, and hungry, stop by the St. Robert Community Center! For $10 an adult and $5 a child (12-5 years old, 4-under free) you will be treated to a virtual all-you can eat buffet (including drinks) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. courtesy our area restaurants and you'll also be entered to win door prizes awarded throughout the event. Chances are you'll be signing up for your auction paddle once you look through all the unbelievable basket packages we'll also be offering. Hope to see you there!

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