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Chamber answers who do I contact?

I do a version of this column every couple years and now that summer is just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to touch on these hints again. For the two of us that work at the Chamber office, we are honored that people think we know all the answers about everything going on in our community (and more times than not, we do have some insight.) Because there are so many great organizations and resources in our area, it’s important to remember who does what and what role each organization plays so that you can connect with the right entity each time.

So here’s your pop quiz now that school is out for the summer:

1. Who do you contact to buy tickets for the Taste of Parkersburg?

A. The Chamber of Commerce

B. Downtown PKB

C. The Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB)

Answer: B

The Taste of Parkersburg (TOP) is an annual event held in the 300 block of Market Street, adjacent to the Blennerhassett Hotel. The event features locally owned restaurants and they have delicious samples of their favorite and most popular recipes, plus several wine and beer vendors are on hand too! Downtown PKB is the organizer for the Taste of Parkersburg and they are delighted to sell you tickets to this event each year (or even sell you a table!!)

2. Who do you call to complain about service at a local business?

A. The manager at that business

B. The Chamber of Commerce

C. The Better Business Bureau

Answer: A and C

On occasion the Chamber will receive calls from customers of local businesses with concerns about the service or product they purchased. We always encourage the caller to start with the owner/manager of the business to allow for faster and efficient service recovery directly from the business in question. I know of no business owner who wouldn’t want the opportunity to remedy such a situation. If you feel that your concern needs addressed in a different manner, you can also contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org or at 1-800-362-0494. They are the entity that will log your complaint and will forward to the business for response.

3. Who do you contact to be a vendor at the Parkersburg Homecoming?

A. The City of Parkersburg

B. The Parkersburg Homecoming Committee

C. The Chamber of Commerce

Answer: B

While the event takes place in Parkersburg, the Parkersburg Homecoming has a separate committee that organizes this annual event. They select the entertainment, coordinate the activities, and book various food vendors for Homecoming. You can find all the updates and contact info for the Parkersburg Homecoming at www.parkersburg-homecoming.com. If you call the Chamber office asking about Homecoming, we will direct you to this website to learn more because that’s where the most up-to-date information will be found.

4. I have family coming to town this summer. What’s going on the weekend they are in town?

A. Contact the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)

B. I bet Artsbridge has some fun music or arts activities to consider

C. Check out the Clutch MOV website and calendar

D. All of the above

Answer: D

The CVB is the resource for all things “tourist” related! They have an online calendar with festivals and fairs, plus great brochures for all the historical places to visit at their office at 350 7th Street, Parkersburg. You can check out their website at www.greaterparkersburg.com or give them a call at 304.428.1130 with questions about local attractions.

Artsbridge is the clearinghouse for arts and culture events in our community. You can check out the Artsbridge calendar at artsbridgeonline.org or give them a call at 304-428-3988 to find out all the wonderful arts events throughout our community. They just kicked off the summer with their annual Summer Music Series, held each Thursday at 7 p.m. at the City Park and the first Tuesday of each month at Southwood Park at 7 p.m.

What’s Clutch MOV? I would describe Clutch MOV as a celebration of our neck of the woods. This on-line resource launched three years ago and just recently added a community calendar. Great articles, features about restaurants and events — you will be amazed at the content you’ll find at clutchmov.com

So, now you are starting to think “what does the Chamber of Commerce do if it isn’t the place we contact for all the things above?”

5. Who do you contact if you are interested in joining up with nearly 400 other businesses in the Mid-Ohio Valley to promote a strong business climate, advocate with elected officials, become a Partner in Education, network with other business leaders at the monthly Business After Hours events, provide opportunities for professional development for your employees, attend monthly Lunch & Learn seminars, submit nominations for annual awards, and gather information to help your business succeed?

Answer: The Chamber of Commerce!

Again we are honored that people assume the Chamber does all these things in Questions 1-4, but our focus is programming and activities to make our businesses and non-profit agencies stronger and on-going entities. We organize weekly activities for business reps to network with one another; we provide opportunities for professional development for your employees. We oversee the Partner in Education program because businesses rely on a strong school system to recruit employees to the area and as future employees. We celebrate accomplishments and milestones for our members with ribbon cuttings, grand openings and annually at our Awards Banquet. We have fun with our members competing in sports competitions like volleyball, dodgeball, trivia, the Amazing Chamber Chase to encourage teamwork and comradery. We provide monthly Lunch & Learn trainings so that members learn from one another about hot topics.

And more importantly, we appreciate all of the other organizations and resources mentioned above (and many, many others that space didn’t allow us to feature this time) because they provide great opportunities and complimentary services to make our community a wonderful place to live, work and play.

Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588, email us at info@movchamber.org, or stop by the Chamber office at 501 Avery Street, 9th Floor in Parkersburg.

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Jill Parsons, MBA, is the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

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