What does a chamber of commerce do?
A chamber of commerce is a voluntary association whose membership is comprised of companies, civic leaders and individual business people. At the local level, chambers of commerce strive to develop and publicize business opportunities in their communities. Local chambers of commerce offer a range of programs and services to their members, including information and advice on timely business matters, opportunities for networking and a variety of publications. Local chambers of commerce also provide their members with numerous opportunities — committees, special events and so on — in which to express their specific views and concerns.
Is the Chamber connected to local or state government?
Roanoke Regional Chamber is not operated under a government or municipality. It is a 501(c)6 organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Virginia. A chamber of commerce is a voluntary association whose membership is comprised of companies, civic leaders and individual business people.
As a tourist visiting the area, what can the Chamber offer me?
Many of the Roanoke Regional Chamber’s members provide lodging, entertainment, shopping and more while you are visiting Virginia’s Blue Ridge. You can learn more about these options by visiting our Business Directory. For the most in-depth tourist information, you’ll want to go to Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge or call (540) 342-6025.
How can the Chamber help me find employment?
You can visit the Roanoke Regional Chamber’s Community Job Network to look for your next job. We also have several members who provide employment services. They can be found in our Business Directory.
How can I get involved with the Chamber?
Roanoke Regional Chamber offers a variety of choices for you to engage in the work being done to maintain our vibrant and economically diverse community. These are just a few of the opportunities available. For a full review of what will work for you, please contact Information Services Coordinator Judy Chambliss at 540.983.0700 x100.
- Event Opportunities – Providing relationship building opportunities for our members through events and programs throughout the year including events targeted to specific markets or areas of interest, i.e. Women of the Chamber, Thursday Overtime, Business Summit and the Annual Meeting of the Membership. Learn more.
- Volunteer Opportunities – Lend your expertise to make the Roanoke Region continue to succeed through Chamber activities, committees and events. Join the volunteers already engaged in volunteer activities. Learn more.
- Member-to-Member Deals – Promote your business and services to hundreds of fellow Chamber members and potential customers through this free opportunity for all members. It’s easy – offer a discount, free consultation or any other service that makes sense for your business. Learn more.
How can I get more visibility for my business?
There are several ways in which the Chamber can help you highlight your business. In addition to sponsorships and more traditional advertising, there are some free ways that you can partner with the Chamber to increase visibility of your business, including:
- Submitting Member News – Member news is a great way to share your organization’s news, events and accomplishments on the Chamber’s social media accounts. To submit member news, please contact Communications Manager Starr Anderson at SAnderson@RoanokeChamber.org or 540.983.0700.
- Submit a Hot Deal.
- Submit your event to the Community Calendar.
How can the Chamber help me with my grand opening celebration or ribbon cutting ceremony?
Make your grand opening celebration or ribbon cutting ceremony an event with impact! Roanoke Regional Chamber offers assistance during your planning process, ceremonial scissors and ribbon for you ribbon cutting. In addition, we can provide you with a media and dignitary mailing list for your invitations and press releases. Assistance with a grand opening or ribbon cutting is an exclusive benefit for Chamber members.
Below are tips and tricks for planning a successful grand opening celebration. If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your grand opening or ribbon cutting, please contact Andrea Ferris at 540.983.0700 x104 or AFerris@RoanokeChamber.org.
Types of Events
- Ground Breaking – If you’re building a new location and want to kick start promotion early, plan a ground breaking ceremony. It’s best to already have some ground broken so that the ceremonial shoveling runs smoothly.
- Grand Opening – Your first showcase to the public as a business. Your business should be up and running at least 2 weeks prior to your grand opening. This will give you time to polish your business and to work out any unforeseen problems.
- Grand Re-Opening – If you have reconstructed, expanded, or opened a new location, now is your chance to reintroduce yourself to the public. Be sure all construction is completed ahead of time so attendees can see the finished product.
Set the date and time
Set a date that is convenient to your customers, suppliers and others. If you are having a special guest or dignitary as part of the festivities, you need to determine that person’s availability. In addition, you need to allow sufficient time to secure and deliver invitations as well as obtain other items and supplies necessary for the event. *QUICK TIP* In our experience, a ribbon cutting mid-week around lunch time is ideal for attendees. They aren’t traveling for business and will be hungry enough to stick around and enjoy refreshments and tour your location.
Timing is everything
Your grand opening should not compete with any other events. Check with civic, organizational and governmental calendars.
Consider the invitations
We suggest print or e-invitations to be sent out a month prior to the event. Include details like date, time, location, agenda. *QUICK TIP* Consider the following invitation platforms:
- Roanoke Regional Chamber Community Calendar – www.RoanokeChamber.org
- Constant Contact – www.ConstantContact.com
- Evite – www.Evite.Com
- Paperless Post – www.paperlesspost.com
Develop the guest list
Invite current customers, business contacts, the media and personal friends. Use membership contacts from the Roanoke Regional Chamber, civic organizations, trade associations, professional affiliates and governmental agencies to further develop your list. Your guest list should include a significant number of invitees to ensure a good turn out. If you are interested in purchasing a Chamber membership mailing list, call 983-0700 x100 or email FrontDesk@RoanokeChamber.org
Push the press
Compile a list of media contacts. Remember to include press wherever your current and/or potential customers reside. Let the press know if dignitaries are attending to increase interest.
Blitz the media
- Post information about your grand opening on relevant websites.
- Email press releases to area newspapers and publications.
- Contact your local radio and television stations. Include the date, time, specials, directions, a contact name and phone number. There is no guarantee that your grand opening will be covered but any publicity would be very beneficial to your business.
- Decorations – Design your decorations to attract attention to your business. Choose colors that accentuate and implement a theme to the decorations. Decorate the outside as well as the inside of your business.
- Refreshments – Decide what refreshments to serve. Your budget and the time of day should be considered. Ceremonies planned during mealtimes should have heavier offerings.
- Music and announcements – Music adds a nice touch to any event. Consider the mood that you would like to set. Don’t forget a sound system may be necessary for announcements, proclamations or speeches.