I have always been intrigued with history and since I started with the Chamber 2 years ago I’ve been digging into the history of our organization. The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. The organization was officially chartered in 2003 but it was born years prior in a Merchants Association started by a handful of Spring Hill business owners. Those founding business owners recognized the need to come together and create a support system that would allow them to successfully navigate the city’s changing economy and early stages of growth. Those principles allowed it to survive the most recent recession and to currently thrive at its highest member count to date of 360 businesses.
What I find most impressive and unique about our Spring Hill Chamber is that it continues to be known for its sense of family. Chambers are traditionally known for lead referrals, professional development or advocacy, all of which we do, but they are not often known for delivering these benefits in a family atmosphere. This is what defines our Chamber and also sets it apart. I don’t ever describe our Chamber to a potential member, partner or connection without using the word ‘family’ and I often overhear our members doing the same.
Margaret Ziegler, Owner, Vintage 615
Family is the perfect word to describe our chamber for the following reasons:
- Our members are available to one another during the good and the bad times.
I’ve witnessed numerous tears of celebration at ribbon cuttings when business owners share their incredible journeys. I’ve also witnessed massive support in the form of visits, meal trains or thoughtful messages for members who have lost a spouse, are dealing with illness or have hit a rough spell. Family is always there for one another.
- Our members do not see each other as competition but rather as an extension of their network.
We may have multiple members representing similar industries but they choose to view that as an advantage. What one business offers is never exactly the same as another. A large referral base allows them to service their clients in a more comprehensive manner. Family seeks positivity, not negativity.
- Our members choose to support one another first.
Chamber members always look to fellow chamber members first to fulfill whatever need they may have, from marketing services to local gifts for clients and everything in between. They also promote one another within the community and even partner on joint initiatives. Family puts each other first.
- Our members welcome each other with true hospitality.
I’ve always told our newest members that while you may think attending an event of over 150 people can be overwhelming, I promise you will leave feeling like family. Our staff, Ambassadors and members are the best at making everyone feel at home and at reaching out to new members right away to get them plugged in and connected. Family sees new members as a gift.
While the founding members of the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce may not have deliberately set out to create an extended family of business owners, they surely left a legacy that we strive to preserve as our community grows. Our community is wonderful melting pot of multigenerational Spring Hill residents and newcomers from all over the world and our business community is just as diverse. I’d encourage you to discover our Chamber family at an upcoming event or at their place of business and ask them what the Chamber means to them. You’ll most likely hear a response that reminds you of family.
“The Chamber feels like a big family! When I need something, I don’t have to figure it out, I just find a member who is already doing it. And, members are always thinking of me and pointing me in directions or people who can help me.” Margaret Ziegler, Owner Vintage 615
- Rebecca Melton, Executive Director, Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce