CHAMBER WEEK: Langley president touts educational advantages

Membership has its privileges, as close to 1,000 members of the Langley chamber can attest.

by Bob Groeneveld/Special to the Langley Advance

President Jack Nicholson believes the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is more than a local voice for business.

“We want to be supporting business and being their voice not just in local community government,” he said, “but also at the provincial and federal level.”

In Nicholson’s view, the chamber epitomizes the idea of strength in numbers. He made the comments ahead of Chamber of Commerce Week running today (Feb. 19) through Feb. 23.

“If some of our local businesses are trying to tackle… tax changes, then if the chamber can bring all those voices together and assist with them, then that’s one of our purposes.”

He said it’s “just trying to bring the business community together as well. Doing advocacy on their behalf, but also being their voice in convincing people to shop local, and what that means to the business community – and your community, as well – by keeping all those dollars here.”

Nicholson would like to see the two political Langleys more effectively promoted as a single, cooperative business entity.

The benefits of chamber membership go beyond that advocacy role of liaising with governments and promoting the general benefits of local business, he said.

“If you’re coming out to our meetings or any of our dinners or gatherings, there’s also a significant advantage of networking or meeting people who you wouldn’t ordinarily see in other circles,” said Nicholson, who in addition to his president’s role with the chamber is chief executive officer of the Otter Co-op.

“Not only are you finding new customers, possibly, but you might also be finding that supplier who you didn’t know existed for whatever product you were looking for, or a service. You could meet your next business partner at the chamber.”

There’s also the chamber’s Coffee & Conversation featuring face-to-face time with local leaders of government.

“So, there’s good opportunity for our members to have access to our politicians that they might not have if they’re not part of the chamber,” he boasted.

For Nicholson, education is an important part of what the chamber has to offer.

“That’s why I originally joined the chamber, just to take advantage of some of the courses, and things that aren’t necessarily available if you’re one small business on your own,” he said.

Nicholson is eager to spread word of those advantages to more people.

“A big piece of it,” he said, is letting people know the value of being part of the chamber.

“There’s the membership benefits, insurance plans, gas plans, etc., that people are able to take advantage of if they’re part of the chamber.”

But there’s more, he expounded.

“It’s everything together: the networking and the education opportunities – which are next to free for members. Especially if you’re a small business and you want to take a course on, say, governance or something. How would you go out and do that on your own? But if there’s 10 small businesses that are registering together, I think that’s a great benefit of belonging to the chamber.”

The chamber is currently teetering at about the 1,000 member mark.

“We’re trying to get over that 1,000 members,” Nicholson said. “We’re right around a thousand – we get 12 on and 12 off. Colleen and the team in the office, our hired team, have done a good job in starting to focus on retention.”

To find out more about the chamber and its benefits, visit www.langleychamber.com or call 604-371-3770.

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