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Steamboat Springs Chamber providing support to businesses with entire community in mind

Lauren Glendenning
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

Chamber staff at the Continental Divide Trail Gateway Community designation celebration.

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content is brought to you by Yampa Valley Tires Pros & Express Lube, Four Star Auto Repair and Fox Construction

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When an organization serves the greater economy of an entire city, sometimes its efforts can appear muddied or too multi-focused, but that’s no longer the case at the Steamboat Springs Chamber thanks to its recent evolution.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber didn’t undertake a complete overhaul, but by setting a new vision, mission and key focus areas, the Chamber now operates with clear intention.

“There was a perception that all we focused on were special events and marketing the destination,” said Kara Stoller, Chief Executive Officer at Steamboat Springs Chamber. “But we are so much more than that.”

AT A GLANCE

More about the Steamboat Springs Chamber

To learn more about membership or to simply explore what Steamboat Springs has to offer, visit SteamboatChamber.com.

The Chamber brings the community together by supporting its members and benefiting the greater economic good of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. That’s how Jeremy Behling, owner of Yampa Valley Tire Pros & Express Lube and Four-Star Auto Repair along with his wife Sarah Fox, owner of Fox Construction, see and experience this support for their businesses.

“The sense of community in Steamboat is stronger than any other place I have lived. A large aspect of this community is driven from building strong relationships with those around us,” Behling  said. “The Chamber does a great job of connecting  people and helping to foster the tight-knit community that makes Steamboat Springs so unique.”

Quarterly Steamboat Springs Chamber Business Outlook Breakfast.

Supporting the community

It’s common for a chamber of commerce to see economic development through more tangible ways such as marketing and events. But the Steamboat Springs Chamber has its sights set on the long game — taking care of its business owners and local workforce by providing valuable support that lifts the community as a whole.

From its Young Professionals Network to the Leadership Steamboat program to the Women’s Leadership Summit to its Trailing Partner program, this Chamber wants to improve the local economy in all the right ways — and specifically by supporting local people.

Behling said Sarah is in the process of onboarding a new manager at Fox Construction and thanks to the Chamber’s Trailing Partner Program, this employee’s spouse is now also interviewing for jobs in town. The program helps connect the spouse of someone relocating to Steamboat for work with local job opportunities.

“We know it can be challenging for employers trying to hire for a specific skill set from within our small community),” Stoller said. “If a business is bringing in a talented person from out of town, they might have a talented spouse seeking employment they’re bringing with them — that’s how the idea was born.”

The inaugural Thrive Together – Steamboat Women’s Leadership Summit, Oct. 4, 2018.

Enabling thoughtful growth

The Chamber’s vision is to support businesses and business growth, Stoller said.

“How can we enable our members to hire one more employee if that’s their desire? What do they need to take it to the next level?” Stoller said. “A lot of it is about two-way communication, and it’s also about ensuring we are listening and know what the challenges are for the business owners in our community.”

Behling feels the Chamber successfully accomplishes this in part by keeping such an open door for community members. He can walk into the Chamber’s office anytime and he knows everyone by their first name.

“If small businesses are having issues, we’ll talk about it together and suddenly it’s on the Chamber’s radar,” Behling said. “Like the Trailing Partner program — that was the result of sheer action. The Chamber said, ‘if that’s what you need, let’s figure out how to get it done.’”

To be that responsive to nearly 700 member businesses is no small feat. Behling said the Chamber is too humble to toot their own horn, which is why he wanted to speak out about the work they do.

“We’re all about finding organizations that do amazing things in our community,” Behling said. “A lot of people in Steamboat before us have had a lot of success and have built this community for us. It’s up to us, and the Chamber and others to keep that going to make it stronger and make it better.”


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