Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York

New chamber director recounts activities since taking over


MASSENA - It’s been a busy three weeks since Kathy Kelly-Ori took over as the new director for the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce.

She updated board members Thursday on her efforts in membership, tourism, marketing and education possibilities for chamber members.

One of Ms. Kelly-Ori’s responsibilities as chamber director is to find out their member’s needs, why they belong to the chamber, what their partnership is with the chamber and what they’re looking for in their membership.

“I spent a great deal of time (Wednesday) and met with 15 members. I got a lot of insight into their thinking (on how to improve the relationship between the chamber and members),” Ms. Kelly-Ori said. “Most of them said we’re doing fine.”

But, she said, there was always more the chamber could do to assist its members. While the chamber offers the same benefits to all of its members, one of her initial goals is to see where their biggest segment of membership lies, whether it’s a one-person home-based business, a business with one to 14 employees or a larger organization.

“Where is the greatest need, where is the biggest population we serve,” she said.

But, no matter what the size of their business or needs, Ms. Kelly-Ori said, “The chamber, I believe, should serve as what brings them all together.”

One of the benefits she suggested they might be able to provide is a quarterly “Business Before Hours” event at various locations. That would give chamber members a chance to network over breakfast.

“We could open the doors at maybe 7:30 and have coffee and a pastry,” she said.

She also has a mock-up for a proposed coupon book that could include offers from local merchants to entice visitors to their stores, as well as a list of summer events and concerts.

On the education front, Ms. Kelly-Ori said she would like to offer members a series of educational seminars on topics that affect them. That’s one of the reasons why she wants to get a handle on where their biggest segment of membership lies, she said - so they can concentrate on the largest needs.

“That’s another benefit to our members,” she said.

In addition to addressing membership needs, Ms. Kelly-Ori has also been devoting time to tourism and noted that an increased social network presence has contributed to an increased number of hits on the chamber’s website. Among its social network efforts is a chamber page on Facebook.

“A phenomenal number of hits come from our social media,” she said, noting the number of website hits had nearly doubled over the past year.

And, although the chamber hasn’t done any advertising across the border, Ms. Kelly-Ori noted that 20 percent of the hits on their website are from Canadians.

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