Chamber still in the swing after 110 years

By Geoff Lee

September 15, 2016 12:00 AM

The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 110th anniversary with a 1940s' themed ball at the Stockade Convention Centre on Sept. 30. The event will feature live swing band music and retro style clothiing.

Music from the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Andrews Sisters will help the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce celebrate its 110th anniversary.
The Chamber has chosen a 1940s-themed ball to mark the milestone at the Stockade Convention Centre on Sept. 30.
The throwback ball was the brainchild of the Chamber’s member relations committee as a fun way to party with some historical perspective in mind.
“Obviously it’s not 110 years, but it’s just a little bit of an historical theme and a really fun era,” said Serena Sjodin, the Chamber’s acting executive director.
“We’re just about as old as the City of Lloydminster.”
The Chamber dates back to 1906 when it was launched as the Lloydminster Board of Trade serving the small interprovincial border villages of Lloydminster.
The early Chamber was made of prominent business owners and citizens who strove to improve “both Lloydminsters” for the benefit of business and prosperity for the community.
Sjodin noted the anniversary will also help to put the spotlight on what the Chamber does today and where it’s heading especially this fall.
“October is a crazy month for us, the whole fall is actually pretty crazy for us,” she said.
The Chamber is hosting the Indigenous Economic Partnership Oct. 12-13, the municipal election debate on Oct. 18 during business week, followed by its business awards, the Celebration of Business Excellence on Oct. 20.
“Then we also have our Christmas Expo which we hold on Nov. 18-19,” said Sjodin.
“We have a lot going on—there is a lot more stuff that the Chamber does and spends a lot of time planning.”
Over the years, the Chamber has typically been run by volunteers, but Lloydminster has been able to step out of that mold to the benefit of its members.
“To this day, we are very proud we have four and a half paid employees, so in the Chamber world, we are actually a very progressive Chamber,” said Sjodin.
“We have a large staff and we do a lot when it comes to the networking and political advocacy and helping to grow our local business.”
Time hasn’t eroded the relevancy of the Chamber that advocates to municipal, provincial and federal governments on behalf of its member businesses.
“Our over arching areas are networking, so we try to provide our members with an opportunity to meet and mingle with others in the business community,” said Sjodin.
“We usually hold one networking event a month—that would be our Chamber Connect.”
The Chamber also offers its members a variety of discount programs such as a fleet fuel discount program and a group insurance program.
Sjodin said the Chamber is also a supporter of community involvement.
“We just really believe that a strong and healthy community equates to a strong and healthy business community,” she said.
The economic downturn has reduced Chamber membership to about 550 this year, but Sjodin says that was expected.
“Some businesses are struggling a little bit so we understand that we have lost some members, but we’re still doing good through the economic downturn,” she said.
Sjodin noted the Chamber held a summer membership drive in June to sign up some of the new retailers that have opened up in the city in the past few months.
As for what the future of the Chamber will look like, Sjodin said it’s a tough question to answer especially with ever changing technology.
“As a Chamber we’ve really got to grow and evolve with the times,” she said.

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