Last updated 9/18/2020 at 12:11pm
Over the last six months, my knowledge of what a Chamber does has been stripped to the bare bones and mentally rebuilt. Chambers are technically described as individual organizations, known as a chapter. While the guiding principles for each chapter are different, many of their goals center around economic development, prosperity, and the community. Tourism and commerce are the primary facets for chapters as growth in both areas create employment, commerce and local stability.
I mentioned “Chamber Identity” because so many mistake chambers for government entities, they are not; chambers are nonprofits. The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, our guidelines might vary slightly from a 501(c)(3), however. chamber funding derives from membership dues, event income, programs and grants, as all nonprofits do. What the technical term did not mention is that chambers – especially in smaller communities- are the “go-to” resource for members, locals and visitors.
Let’s begin with membership. Our mission statement states “We provide leadership and act as a catalyst in creating a vibrant economic environment that supports business growth and attracts people to visit and live here.” We do this in a variety of ways with the key factor being the promotion of Borrego Springs and what we have to offer, not only to locals, but to the surrounding areas, across the U.S. and around the world. If people do not know about the area, they will not come. Marketing and submitting content ideas on a regular basis to outlets around the world keep the name Borrego Springs in the minds of writers, editors, news outlets and more.
Recently through Visit California, we had submitted storylines picked up about the Dark Sky Community in a German publication, the Sky Art Sculptures in one of Visit California’s publications and a story in the New York Times about golfing in a Dark Sky Community. Soon, we’ll be pitching storylines to select publications that center around specific adventures that Borrego offers.
Even with so much closed in the world, content is needed and as we slowly reopen we want people to think about Borrego Springs sooner rather than later. For our members, we are also here to help them learn about marketing their business and now offer many ways to do so. The Chamber Weekly, Desert Deals, Embrace Borrego Guide, social media and the website are not only used by Borregans, but also potential visitors and home owners. Again, if people don’t know you’re open, don’t expect them to stop by your store.
Borrego offers a multitude of business opportunities, so with that said we are working on a new website page dedicated to commerce and what types of small businesses Borrego needs. The Chamber often gets calls from people looking to relocate and open that small business of their dreams; we are here to help them make Borrego home. As much as we represent our members, our members represent the community and an economically healthy and vibrant community is a place everyone is proud to call home.
Now back to the term “go-to.” The Chamber is also a source for answers and requests about plumbing, electrical, building permits, shopping, government representatives, medical services, what are the library hours, where can we buy dry ice, how to get a mattress lying in the street and tennis shoes hanging off powerlines removed. Also, does someone offer transportation, can you go feed my friends cat, can I use my property for star gazing, will you check on my friend I can’t reach them, do the resorts still have water aerobics, is the grapefruit stand open and the list goes on. No matter what the request is, someone from the Chamber will find an answer and/or try to resolve the issue.
Tourists ask questions about everything from the sculptures, to the state park. Where can we stay, eat, and shop. Are there public restrooms, is there a bank, what is there to do, why is it called Christmas Circle. What does Borrego mean, do you have maps, and can we book our hotel room through you. Also, where can we camp, what is a dark sky community, are the people around here friendly because I’m thinking about moving to Borrego (we’ve had this one more than once), and so on.
The Chamber also strives to educate and offer the information and resources needed for individuals and businesses to develop action plans that represent their concerns regarding long term issues affecting the area, along with keeping government officials informed when appropriate or when they officially request area information.
We know we’re doing our job when so many “go-to” the Chamber for information and help and we’re working hard to become even better. So the next time you have a question, concern or just want to chat, visit or call the Chamber. Please, if we don’t answer leave a message because I promise someone will get back to you.
– Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce & Welcome Center