Columbus Day Weekend to a Vermont Chamber is always a significant day in our year as it represents the height of our tourist season. This is when the leaves have reached their peak of perfection and travelers from all over the world come to Vermont to partake in the beauty and tranquility of fall.

Fall also represents a time that our Chamber refocuses on organizational development and membership benefits for a new year. Here are a couple of things to keep an eye on in the next few months from your Chamber:

Coffee and Conversations: This program will better allow us as a Chamber to hear directly from our members in specific industries. "Coffee and Conversations" will be a monthly roundtable-style program starting in November where we gather an industry (dining, retail, nonprofit, attractions, lodging, professional services, education, manufacturing, health care and service/construction) for an hour in the morning over coffee and treats to hear about what's impacting their businesses, where the chamber can help and provide some additional networking with one another. We will be reaching out to our members shortly about this initiative and when your industry meets.


Membership Survey: This week Chamber members will receive a link to provide feedback to us on a variety of different topics. This survey and its results will help us a build a plan for our future and allow us to hear from our members what they're wanting and needing from their chamber.

Chamber Power Panels – As a way to supply our business members with subject matter expertise in a variety of business-related areas, we are putting together these 'power panel' talks to focus on key issues relating to our members. These talks will be led by subject matter experts who can help guide businesses through areas of development in healthcare, legislation, financing, marketing, technology and innovation, etc.)

Legislation and Business – We will be joined by Betsy Bishop of the Vermont Chamber later this month as she provides key insights into business legislation for the 2017 year. We have a great partnership with the Vermont Chamber as they have a full-time lobbying team that works throughout the year for business growth. If you are interested in attending this event please give our offices a call ( / 447-3311)

Membership Drive: Between October and November we will be having a membership drive for the Chamber! New rates! New deals! Special offerings and more! Hopefully, you've seen the work that we've been doing this past year to turn the Chamber into a next generation tool for marketing, business development and service to the community. We hope if you haven't already, you'll consider becoming a part of our great organization. To learn more go to

Chamber Media Project and New Website: Have you begun to see some of the creative content that we've started to produce? Go over to our Facebook page or to our website and check out some of the great articles being written by our Media Project team. The latest one is titled, "Pumpkin Spice Up Your Fall When You Visit Bennington!" Additionally, in the next month we will be launching a whole new website that is mobile and content friendly, robust and full of valuable information for our visitors, and gives a fresh facelift.

Regional Economic and Marketing Summit #2: In partnership with the Shires of Vermont Regional Marketing Organization (RMO) and the Bennington County Industrial Corporation (BCIC), the Chamber will be holding the second of two summits to facilitate an action plan with area-wide leaders and stakeholders to lay the groundwork for better alignment of resources. This alignment of area assets and resources will produce stronger regional economic and marketing efforts. From this summit, two work groups will form to execute on those high impact initiatives.

Fall Strategic Retreat: In spring the Chamber had its first strategic retreat under my leadership. We focused on two core challenges: how to build a strong chamber team and how to adapt to change. From this retreat we discovered 8-10 key strategies that we thought the Chamber embrace. This fall the board will gather again to identify a Chamber 2020 comprehensive strategic plan that will take those key strategies and identify SMART goals and initiatives.

Fall Restaurant Week: On Saturday, November 5th we will be launching the second Restaurant Week of the year. We have a new deal structure and are in the works with our member restaurants to have another successful week! We know that after foliage and before the holiday season, our dining establishments see a decrease in numbers. Let's help out area restaurants by giving them a special boost this fall!

Always onward,

— Matt Harrington is the executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce