By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
The newly-formed Isle of Palms Chamber of Commerce is looking for potential members who want to “invest in what we’re doing,” according to President Katrina Limbach. “We encourage everyone who wants to fulfill our mission to join,” Limbach said shortly after the Chamber’s first membership meeting on April 26. She said around 50 people attended the gathering, and others reached out after the organization used email to contact everyone who has a business license on the island. Limbach added that one of the goals of the Chamber is to have at least 100 members by the end of this year. To be a founding member, businesses or individuals must contribute $2,500 to the cause during the organization’s first three months. Silver memberships begin at $250 annually, while gold and platinum members will pay more and receive increased exposure. Limbach said only those who live or have a business on the Isle of Palms can be voting members, though anyone is eligible to join. “We don’t want to put up any roadblocks,” Limbach said. Prior to the membership meeting, most of the work of establishing the Chamber was done by its officers, which, along with Limbach, include Vice President Ryan Buckhannon, Treasurer Sandy Stone and Secretary Scottie Frier. For the time being, the Chamber will continue to be an all-volunteer organization, though Limbach said a part-time administrator probably eventually will be hired. A brick-and mortar building is also a possibility someday, but Limbach said that for now, the Chamber is considering sharing space with a business or another organization. At a May 10 meeting, Chamber officers decided it was time to “go out and hit the pavement and let everyone know what we’ve got brewing,” Limbach said. “We spent three or four hours brainstorming future ideas,” Limbach pointed out, adding that the Chamber is looking for volunteers to help plan future events.
The Chamber is determined to cooperate with the city of Isle of Palms and other organizations on the island. For instance, it will partner with the Exchange Club in putting on the annual Connector Run Oct. 1. The Chamber will hold its regular meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
Limbach said Frier, the organization’s secretary, will be tasked with finding keynote speakers for each meeting. For now, however, the Chamber is focused on attracting members.
“We’re putting events and the fun stuff on the back burner,” Limbach said. “We’re going to take our time. This is too important not to.”
The Chamber’s website, which is expected to be active soon, is IOPchamber.com.