Henderson Chamber reaching for 1,100 members

Henderson Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Scott Muelrath said his organization is always seeking to expand to reach more individuals and business owners.

As membership tops 1,050, Muelrath said he’d like to hit the 1,100 mark this year.

“What makes us unique is how we can personally serve our members,” he said. “We treat everyone as a personal member and figure out who they need to meet and what they look to achieve in the organization.”

Q. What are the benefits of becoming a Henderson Chamber member?

A. Though everyone joins for their own reasons, networking is big part as well as advocacy so the small-business voice is heard in larger organizations, and access to people, decision makers and other business owners.

Q. What are some of the chamber’s recent accomplishments?

A. We’ve grown more than 10 percent over the last three years. We’re achieving what our goals are as an organization and our members are finding a return on their investment, which is the most important measurement an organization such as ours could have. I’m not sure if anyone else in the valley can claim similar growth that we’ve experienced and we’re very proud of that.

We’re also pleased with our event attendance, which ultimately means we have an engaged membership. At our mixers and breakfast events, we’ve continued to increase attendance by 10 percent to 15 percent on a year-by-year basis.

We’re also very involved in the legislative session. We recently met with Gov. (Brian) Sandoval to discuss his business license fee plan. (Sandoval is seeking a new business license fee based on gross receipts to raise about $430 million over two years to pay for his proposals to improve public education in Nevada.)

The Henderson Chamber of Commerce has not taken a formal position as of yet. Like everyone, we are waiting to see the actual bill. Our constituency, small business, believes that improving education, along with reliable accountability, will strengthen our economy in the long run. As such, we are working to lessen the impact of the proposed business license fee structure on small business.

We’ve been pleased with some of the legislative happenings to date, but there’s still three months to go. So we’ll see how things continue to transpire up north.

Q. What do members have to do to remain active in the Chamber?

A. If they don’t come or participate in some way than we usually see them drop. If they’re not finding the ability, time or delegate to attend things, then they’re active only in the sense of paying dues and they’re not getting a return on investment on their memberships. To be active, we want to plug you in and get to know you, which is what makes us unique.

Q. How does the chamber go about recruiting new members?

A. A lot of it happens by word-of-mouth when satisfied members refer other businesses to our organization. We also have a sales team that recruits from the predictable outlets such as the business license list, but our main growth is from referrals.

Q. When it comes to recruiting members, do you have a quota of particular businesses you’d like to have represented in the chamber?

A. While we certainly have some big gaming support, we’re truly the small-business chamber in Southern Nevada. We do stay focused on that and representing that niche of the business community.

Q. How does the chamber remain relevant in the community?

A. On an advocacy front, we’re very involved in Carson City, with our local leadership and the city of Henderson. We also know all the players in town but at the same time have to pick our spots because we’re only a team of eight here so we have to selectively decide where we’ll extend our energies and resources. We’re the second-largest city in the state and are the chamber for the city of Henderson, which is relevant on its own. Just in how we go about our programming, advocacy and choosing our response keeps us relevant. As long as we’re delivering a return on investment for our members then we’re relevant and our growth will speak to that.

Q. What’s in store for the chamber this year?

A. The next few months will be dominated by the legislative landscape but it’s also our 70th year. Not a lot of people know we have that tenure in the valley.

We’re also in the middle of completing our “I Can Be” program where we work with local high schools and bring in business owners to meet with ninth-graders. The students are able to meet with industry professionals in their chosen career path, which opens their eyes to career options. It’s a unique program that we do and it’s important link to our community.

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