Vail Daily column: The collaboration continues |

Vail Daily column: The collaboration continues

I’m a week late, but Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there.

Mothers Day got me thinking about what makes a mother proud. Many things, of course. But one thing that makes most mothers across the board proud is when their children “play well with others.” Since we’re no longer on the schoolyard, let’s call it by its grown-up name: collaboration.

A brief story about collaboration that would make any mother proud:

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing realized that they both had a “Salvation” in their respective stable of beers. Instead of squabbling over the rights to the name, they decided to blend the brews in an attempt to capture the best qualities of each. Thus, “Collaboration, not Litigation Ale” was born.

I love the “Collaboration, not Litigation” story with Russian River and Avery Brewing and think it sets a great example of how competitors can work together in a collaborative way. It’s a great analogy and learning experience and sets a great example for us here in the Vail Valley, where various business organizations have a genuine interest in the creative process for which local businesses are the beneficiaries. It’s absolutely rare for a great majority of an entire business segment or industry to be comprised of entrepreneurs who are willing to forsake commerce for the betterment of the whole, short-term economics for long-term benefit, all to expand and redefine our understanding of what a “chamber of commerce” or “merchant association” means and what can be accomplished when we, ahem, collaborate.

Cool story. But what does it have to do with the Vail Valley?

The Vail Valley Partnership, in our role as the valley’s largest business organization and the only business organization representing the entire region, has been working to create the Vail Valley Merchant Alliance. The Vail Valley Merchant Alliance is a collaborative program, led by the Partnership, which provides resources and marketing benefits to each participating merchant association and business organization in the valley. At no cost. Simply because it’s the right thing to do. The newly formed Vail Valley Merchant Alliance will also offer exclusive added benefits to businesses that are members of both the Partnership and their local merchant group.

All business groups in the Vail Valley have been invited to participate in this collaborative group effort, designed to benefit the business community. Thus far, the Lionshead Merchant Association, the Minturn/Red Cliff Business Association, the Avon Business Association, One Eagle and the Gypsum Chamber of Commerce have committed to join this collaborative effort. It is my hope that the remaining business groups in Eagle County all join the Vail Valley Merchant Alliance as well to create a true valley-wide collaboration and to help each of us better serve the business community. Stay tuned for official details on the new value added benefits available to you as a member of our various organizations.

It’s my hope that each of the business organizations in the Vail Valley can move beyond the traditional model of “competition” and instead embrace a model of “collaboration” via the Partnership’s Merchant Alliance. Maybe we can event blend competition and collaboration to create a new model of competitive cooperation. In the spirit of “Collaboration, Not Litigation” and the recognition that we’re all stronger by working together, let’s call it “co-opertition”.

As always, I encourage all member businesses to get engaged with the Partnership and to contact us with any suggestions you may have to help us better serve you. Call us at 970-476-1000 or stop by our offices in Avon at Traer Creek Plaza to share your feedback.

Chris Romer is executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership.