Chamber underscores city’s attributes
After nearly three months on the job as Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce president, Bill Grant believes the organization is heading down the right track.
The local group sponsors numerous activities in the city. And one of the major undertakings is a booth at the Kansas City Home and Garden Show this week at Bartle Hall.
"I've been very pleased with the level of participation and monetary support that we've received to do the home show," said Grant, who is general counsel at First State Bank and Trust. "I think everybody is very excited about the potential returns from that. It takes some time and a lot of people's work and a lot of organization."
Last year was the first time the chamber sponsored a booth at the annual show. That endeavor was termed a success, and this year chamber members want to build on that strong showing, Grant said.
"I think the big picture, long-term results that we're looking for are to help put Tonganoxie on the Kansas City metro map," he said. "We're trying to do what we can to ensure that the people in the Kansas City area most of whom have heard of Tonganoxie know where it's at and know that we're very close in miles and time to a lot of the main attractions that the metro has to offer. That was the theme we started last year, and we're sticking with that this year on a more focused basis."
Working under the theme of "Conveniently Country," the home show booth will feature details about housing available in the city, along with financing packages for home purchases.
"We've changed the focus in terms of providing specific information about what living opportunities there are in Tonganoxie," Grant said. "Our goal is to see if we can't convince some people that coming to Tonganoxie and supporting the local community with their tax dollars and local spending would be a beneficial thing."
Other chamber activities include annual events, such as a St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, both earlier this month. Each June, the chamber sponsors a one-day festival, Tonganoxie Days.
"Beyond that, we then will turn our focus on trying to increase our membership levels, increase the amount of participation in the chamber itself among the business community with an eye toward being able to generate enough revenue so we can continue to operate the chamber office," Grant said.
"That office fields lots and lots of calls, both from individuals and from businesses, asking for information about the area. Ultimately, we'd like to accumulate enough resources to begin looking at the possibility of being a little more active on the economic development front."
But the immediate challenge, he said, is to bolster membership both among Tonganoxie businesses and companies that are based elsewhere, but do business in the city.
"What we're trying to do is develop a strategy that would provide more fundamental local visibility for the chamber and our members," Grant said. "What we'd like to do by doing that is go to the local business community who are not currently members and say to them that your participation is important, look at these benefits that your membership is offering you."