New director no stranger to Vail Chamber
Rich tenBraak knew a lot about guiding the Vail Chamber & Business Association. Now hes learning how to run it.After spending several years on the Vail business groups board of directors including some time as president tenBraak is now chambers paid director. Its not a full-time job at least the paycheck isnt for full-time work but tenBraak also has his own sales and marketing consulting company.With just a few weeks on the job, tenBraak said hes eager to keep doing the chambers main work, of serving as a conduit for information between the town of Vail, Vail Resorts and the towns business community.Its that part of the job that sets Vails chamber apart from the Vail Valley Partnership, the valley-wide business association.Theyre more of a marketing organization, tenBraak said. Were more of an advocacy group. Well get involved in issues like sign ordinances.Vail chamber board members have also split up the work of attending the myriad meetings held by the Vail Town Council and its various boards and advisory groups. Someone tries to attend every meeting, especially those that might have an effect on the towns businesses.Those businesses, like most others in the nation these days, are feeling pinched. Thats where tenBraak is taking on something of a new role, as a cheerleader to help keep the doors open at as many Vail businesses as possible going into and through the summer.Business owners are doing whats right for them, but were encouraging them to stay open, tenBraak said. People who visit Vail in the offseason are more likely to come back if theres plenty to do, tenBraak said.Looking forward to summer, the Vail chamber is also working on several events to make sure theres plenty to do, even in a fairly busy season.The chambers annual BBQ Bonanza in Vail Village has been a success, and has spawned a couple of new events in other parts of town. Lionshead will host a South of the Border event the weekend of June 20, and in August there will be a Sweet on Vail event on Meadow Drive. The events are intended to take advantage of people taking weekend road trips instead of flying away for vacations, something mountain resorts may see more of this summer. Encouraging business also means helping them find ways to reach the public. The Vail chamber is helping advise business owners about how to participate in the summer version of the Vail All the Love program. We want to make sure that no one says, I never heard about it, tenBraak said. If you have questions, just call us, and well figure it out.Its all part of providing something important to members, tenBraak said. Thats something all business organizations are going to have to do to keep members and encourage new businesses to sign up, he said.If we can show value, then people will join, he said. If they see us as an appropriate venue, theyll participate.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Vail Chamber & Business Association.What it is: A group dedicated to promoting business in the town of Vail.Whats new: The group is promoting a couple of new summer events this year, in addition to the established barbecue festival.Membership: About 180 businesses.