BOW VALLEY – The Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce has seen a 20 per cent increase in memberships, now approaching 300 members.
“We have grown so much,” said Sarah Freeman, executive director of the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce [BVCC]. “It is awesome. Lots of exciting things to come.”
The BVCC recently hosted its Bevvies and Businesses monthly event. In the past, the event has only been held in Canmore, but due to the increase in memberships it now alternates between Canmore and Banff.
“We are the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce so we are expanding it for local Bow Valley businesses and beyond," Freeman said. "Businesses can get to know each other because there are so many amazing businesses in the Bow Valley.”
The event is held every month, except July, August and December.
Freeman, who joined as the executive director of the BVCC six months ago, sees the organization as one that connects and inspires.
“It creates community in the Bow Valley and elevates [business] voices to be heard by different people,” Freeman said. “I find it is supportive. It gives the opportunity to connect with other people.”
With many businesses moving out of the slump created by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, Freeman said that organizations like the BVCC can help business owners see they are not alone.
“It makes our community thrive. It is that connection, that realness,” Freeman said. “We are all going through it and it creates that support in the community.”
As for Freeman's own time in the past six months, it has been busy and productive.
“It has been a learning curve and amazing to connect with and hear from all the businesses out there.”
Freeman has also expressed hope that the organization will reach 300 members soon. All new members receive many added benefits beyond networking with other businesses in the Bow Valley.
“They are put on our website when they first come in, and on our social media,” Freeman said. “There is so much added value.”
Moving forward, there are several plans for the BVCC in 2023, including more Bevvies and Businesses events, business workshops and a speaker series.
“There are so many different things happening,” Freeman said.