Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Chambers are on the right path
Vail, CO, Colorado
Something good is coming out of this recession for the business
Call this the thinnest of silver linings, but I think it will prove significant in the longer run.
Key business organizations are beginning to work better with one another. A lot better. At least that’s what I think I’m seeing.
At the core of this development is the principal chamber in the valley acting consistently with its still-newish name: Partnership.
I had a ringside seat to those halcyon days when the Vail Chamber and Business Association and the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau were at each other’s throats enough so that the Vail Town Council chose a third party to run its visitor centers. Yes, there was more to it, but I see the eye-rolling event as emblematic.
Meantime, the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce consistently rebuffed a perhaps overly aggressive Vail Valley Chamber with all the scorn a second-class citizen could muster.
I found it all quite ridiculous and once pissed off my publisher of the time by writing about the chamber “wars” in a column headlined “Tempest in a thimble.”
Nothing like a little economic pain to change things completely. All these organizations were humbled, their more combative leaders replaced, and scary new challenges surfaced to make a mockery out of whatever need these groups felt to compete with one another. Oh, and the merchant pass that provided easy funding vanished with the Epic Pass.
Under Michael Kurz and then really pushed by Chris Romer, the Vail Valley Partnership is truly living up to its name to be a real partner with the other business groups as well as other community organizations.
Rich tenBraak is guiding the Vail Chamber in much the same spirit, and the now all-volunteer Eagle Valley Chamber has its arms wide rather than elbows out.
I realize I’m as competitive and occasionally combative as anyone, but this is good stuff.
The Eagle Valley Chamber might have suffered most of all, going deeply into debt last year. So it was great to hear recently they clawed out. And as a (poor) member of that board myself, I was really proud of our leaders who pulled this off.
Let me cheer hard for a moment and exhort everyone to keep on this path. All the groups will accomplish a lot more working together than hanging apart, to borrow from Ben Franklin.
He was right about a much bigger challenge then. It’s still the truth now. ꆱ
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