Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce highlights success at annual meeting

Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce highlights success at annual meeting

The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, begun in 1898 by a group of downtown retailers, recently held their 105th Annual Meeting and Celebration.

The luncheon meeting, sponsored by General Electric, was held in the Holiday Inn’s ballroom and featured Vermont’s Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development Kevin Dorn as the keynote speaker. In his speech, Dorn recognized the Chamber for their leadership and noted the Chamber’s role in the recent addition of the Continental Connection daily passenger airline service from Rutland to Boston.

The Chamber announced the recipient of this year’s RRCC Business Person of the Year Award, which went to R John Mitchell, publisher of the Rutland Herald and the Barre Times Argus. Chamber Executive Tom Donahue made the announcement along with Chamber President Tim Kononan, Vermont Speaker of the House Representative Walter Freed and Secretary Dorn. In his remarks, Donahue noted Mitchell’s long standing support of downtown Rutland, including the newspaper’s 38,000 square feet of manufacturing space in downtown and their 114 employees.

To highlight the Chamber’s special performance at the Paramount Theatre, a surprise call was placed by Donahue to motion picture icon Mickey Rooney. Rooney and his wife Jan spoke by phone to the audience of 240 business people by broadcasting the call throughout the room. Donahue presented a PowerPoint presentation to the audience highlighting the many Chamber accomplishments last year.

The presentation included the Chamber’s active involvement in Montpelier, daily business promotion and referrals (13,000 phone calls), website activity at rutlandvermont.com (2,635,225 hits), regional promotion through the Crossroads of Vermont Partnership RMO including regional magazine distribution and visitor center operations, 24 special events and business networking opportunities including their flagship events the 10th Annual Business Show with over 90 exhibitors, the ski industry celebration; Winter In August at the Diamond Run Mall and the 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza at the Vermont State Fairgrounds.

In addition, Donahue mentioned the great success they have had with the member-to-member discount card (over 100 local discounts) called the Perk Card. Last year, 17,500 cards were distributed to employees of the Chamber’s 600-member businesses and organizations. Legislators,

the Chamber staff, and past and present members of the Board of Directors were recognized at the meeting as well as several past recipients of the RRCC Business Person of the Year Award that were in attendance.

At the end of the planned 90 minute meeting, a 50/50 raffle was held to benefit First Night Rutland, door prizes were awarded and Chamber President Tim Kononan adjourned the meeting to music by the DJ; all in exactly 90 minutes.

Copyright Boutin-McQuiston, Inc. Dec 01, 2003

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