63 Years of Service
Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce is a provincially incorporated not-for-profit corporation. Although the Chamber existed as an organization prior to August 29, 1957 – the date we were granted Membership in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) – we were incorporated in Ontario on October 31, 1975. The signatories to the Articles of Incorporation were George Kadlecik, Peter Haist and Donald Southcott.
We average 180 members from the area, including Grand Bend, Forest, Thedford, Arkona, Port Franks, St. Joseph, Zurich, Hensall, Parkhill, Goderich, Exeter and all points in-between.
By joining the Chamber, you have access to an array of opportunities and benefits, below are just a few of what the Chamber has to offer you:
- Networking – with fellow Chamber businesses at Chamber events, such as Breakfast with the Mayor, Spring and Fall Members’ Mixers, Fall Golf Tournament, Annual General Meeting and Celebrate the Season Dinner & Awards Night.
- Marketing & Advertising – through this website and the tourism-focused website (www.itstartsatthebeach.ca), print publications (i.e. the area’s official visitor guide – It Starts At The Beach, Members Directory), having your promotional materials on display at the Welcome Centre and included in information packages, member event sponsorships and coop advertising opportunities
- Priority Referrals – of your business to residents, fellow Chamber members and area visitors. We serve about thousands inquiries annually, from tourists seeking places to stay, play, dine and shop to cottagers and residents seeking home and garden services – we are the first call people make when looking to make contact with a local business.
- Affinity Program Discounts & Preferred Pricing – through your Membership with us you access a number of affinity programs that can save you money on business service basics, such as Constant Contact (online e-marketing service), and shipping with Purolator’s new Chamber Progam.
- Group Benefits Coverage – for you and your employees through the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan which offers Life and Disability, Health and Dental, to Business Overhead coverage and Critical Illness Benefits.
- Advocacy – through our membership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and through our efforts to work locally in the interest of the economic health of the community.
Participation in the Chamber of Commerce
Your Chamber is what you make of it. The best value for your Chamber membership dollar is to get involved, be informed and help make our Chamber strong. How do you do this?
- Come out to member events, bring your business cards and socialize.
- Read the emails we forward along to you from various government bodies, the OCC and of course our own member communications to stay informed about what’s going on at your Chamber and in your business community.
- Make sure the Welcome Centre is fully stocked with your promotional materials and take the time to review your listing on this website and the ItStartsAtTheBeach.ca website to ensure what we’re saying about you is up-to-date and accurate.
- Sponsor and donate – whether that’s an event sponsorship, silent auction or prize table donation – not only does your donation and sponsorship support the Chamber as an organization, but these activities help promote your business to others and keep your business name forefront.
- Encourage other businesses to join the Chamber or at least attend a member event as your guest!
- Consider becoming a Director on the Board.
In practice, we provide several Member events throughout the year that offer business-to-business networking opportunities. We encourage Chamber Members to work with and purchase products and services from fellow Chamber Members. This is our practice as well (we purchase products and services from Member businesses).
Member events include: Breakfast with the Mayor (February), Annual General Meeting (February), Spring Members’ Mixers (March & April), Fall Golf Tournament (September), Fall Members’ Mixer (October) and Celebrate the Season Business Awards Night (November).
In addition, we work to build good relationships with area government, such as the Municipalities of Lambton Shores, South Huron and Bluewater. We have hosted public meetings to assist the Municipality of Lambton Shores in garnering public input on a variety of issues including parking, pedestrian safety and traffic congestion. We have provided formal statements from the Chamber on beach usage, tourism services and challenges faced by the business community and worked to help local Council understand the issues facing the business community.
Tourism & Visitor Services
In addition to events and services for our Members, we also provide Tourism & Visitor Services to Lambton Shores and the Greater-Grand Bend Area. This includes running a year-round Welcome Centre, promoting the area Ontario-wide through marketing and advertising campaigns and publication of print materials (including the area’s official visitors’ guide) as well as online through with a tourist-focused website (itstartsatthebeach.ca).
For more information about our Tourism Services, read our latest Tourism Report for Lambton Shores.