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Record number of businesses sign up for Port Orchard chamber of commerce
The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce reported a record number of new memberships in July, following a slow decline that lasted several years.
“We’ve lost members, and — for the majority of those members — it’s because they’ve closed down the business, or they’re barely making ends meet and can’t pay the dues,” said Coreen Haydock, the chamber’s executive director.
But new businesses have taken their place, she said.
“There has been a trend of start-up businesses or home-based businesses; a fairly high percentage of our new memberships have come from that type of business,” she said.
The chamber added 15 new businesses in July, Haydock said.
Typically, the chamber signs up between two and four new businesses in any given month, although there may be 10 to 12 per month at the end of the year, when businesses get their last chance to be in the chamber directory.
The majority of businesses belonging to the Chamber of Commerce employ fewer than 10 people, many employing between four and six.
“We have plenty of businesses with 20 to 30 (employees),” said Haydock, but “the majority of our members are definitely small businesses with under 20 to 30 employees.”
Slightly more than 300 businesses currently belong to the chamber.
“It’s an opportunity to become part of the primary business association in the community,” Haydock said.
According to a study by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, “membership in a local chamber of commerce can significantly boost a business’s image among consumers, as well as among other businesses.”
Consumers were 44 percent more likely to rate a small business belonging to a local chamber more favorably than one with no such affiliation, according to the study.
Participants also were 63 percent more likely to want to buy from a small business with chamber membership.