A report to the communty from the Ridgway Chamber of Commerce
Ridgway Chamber-Major focus for 2015-16
The Ridgway Chamber Board held the annual Strategic Planning meeting in February to review and to formulate the Chamber’s 2015 Strategic Plan. The 2015 Ridgway Chamber Board was re-focused toward representing the Membership and Ridgway area business issues. To accomplish this goal the Ridgway Chamber focused on rebranding and marketing the Town of Ridgway and economic cevelopment for Ridgway and Ouray County.
The Ridgway Chamber Board successfully presented to the Town Council and passed resolution 15-03 to support a ballot issue, which proposed changing the lodging tax and increase to 70% the amount spent on marketing and promoting the Town of Ridgway to boost economic prosperity for our small businesses. On November 3, the 2A Lodging Tax Passed with 71% approval from the Town of Ridgway voters.
The Chamber will be presenting the LOT Report at November 2105 Town Council meeting. We are projecting an increase in marketing efforts. The increase will reflect the projected increase of $12,000 in LOT tax revenue. This will double our previous efforts. We heard you . . .You asked for marketing and now we have it. We will also be putting aside up to $5,000 to use for matching fund grants which are readily available and have never been possible before.
We will send out the LOT Report after Chamber Board approval and Town Council approval. Keep an eye out for it later in November. One of our main objectives is coop marketing efforts with our membership. We will be reaching out to you early in 2016 for your ideas, suggestions, and partnering.
The Ridgway Chamber Board is working closely with the Town to promote and support local business as Ridgway works through the RAMP project in the next two years. The Ridgway Chamber encouraged and educated our business members to participate in ongoing Town /CDOT meetings and the planning for this project. The Chamber fully supports the RAMP project and has agreed to actively promote coordination and communication during the project.
- Welcomed 25 new Chamber members. Total membership: 162.
- Successful monthly Business After Hours showcasing local businesses.
- Held grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Fiddlers Green, Cornerstone Home Lending, Glow Day Spa, and Voyager Youth Programs.
- Provided members benefits that include representation on ridgwaycolorado.com with links, representation at the Visitors Center, in the Visitors Guide, free listing on the weekly Eblast, inclusion in inquiry mailings, and email responses for visitation.
- Operate the Ridgway Visitors Center from May 1 – October 31 annually with approximately 7,000 visitors each year.
- Maintain our cooperative relationship with the Ridgway Railroad Museum to provide well-trained, friendly volunteers to greet our visitors.
- Renegotiated the lease of the property from the Town of Ridgway so that the Railroad Museum will hold the lease and the Ridgway Chamber will have an agreement to operate the Visitors Center from the Railroad Museum organization.
- Pass resolution to support the efforts of the Ridgway Railroad Museum to provide a location to display the 45-foot long Otto Mears steam-operated locomotive that is being built. In addition 270 feet of track will be laid, and a 150-foot long cover to protect the cars is planned.
- Held ribbon-cutting ceremony for the installation of “Gunsmoke and Dusty Trails” – the newest PARC sculpture – a life-size cowboy. Worked with PARC and the Ouray County. Rodeo Association to provide funding for the installation.
- Continue to work on phase 2 of visitor center grounds improvements (new gravel and planting).
- Maintain the Visitors Center as the bus stop for regional Road Runner services.
- Held volunteer training in cooperation with the Ouray Visitors Center volunteers.
- Held our own volunteer training including a trip via Dave’s Mountain Tours jeeps to Katie’s Meadows up Owl Creek Pass.
- Held our volunteer appreciation dinner in September for 38 volunteers.
- Increased revenue from inventory sales at the Visitors Center.
- Completed Ridgway area Facility Asset Mapping to attract small conferences, meeting and retreats. Shared with Town of Ridgway and OCRA.
- Published 64-page, full-color Visitors Guide and distributed 12,000 copies regionally and to the 11 Colorado Welcome Centers and neighboring state visitors centers.
- Fully optimized website. Increased visitation to the website.
- Introduced the idea of an Iphone app for tourism marketing to the Town Council. Council is funding the project and the Chamber is working to provide content and photos for its creation.
- Maintain and update ridgwaycolorado.com. Updating posts and articles to increase google status.
- Applied new reciprocal linking for businesses on the website.
- New host, Peak Media, was hired to provide faster page load time, better security and back up.
- Optimized web page on colorado.com. Top visited website for tourism. Added photos and content. In the process of additional optimization requiring more marketing dollars.
- Publish weekly the Eblast newsletter to 800 recipients.
- Facebook presence increased.
- Maintained presence on Film Colorado web site and share liaison that sits on FCFO board.
- Inclusion and maintenance of all events on Ouray County Community Calendar. Administer data for membership.
Professional Development & Industry Memberships
- The Chamber Board of Directors are active with community organizations and act as liaisons with the Creative District, Mainstreet Program, Weehawken, Region 10, Four Corner Film Organization, PARC, Sherbino Theater, Voyager, Uncompaghre Watershed Partnership, Park Committee, and Fairgrounds committee.
- Chamber Board instituted quarterly meetings with the Ridgway Town Council as a forum for discussion and collaboration with the Town on Town and business issues. 2015 subjects discussed were signage, low-cost housing, the upcoming RAMP project, and marketing dollars.
- Requested NS received additional marketing money from the Town of Ridgway to provide immediate optimization of ridgwaycolorado.com. Town Council allocated $1,700 to these efforts.
- Hosted the Ouray Chamber Resort Association in Ridgway at a joint meeting to discuss common interests. Sent regional marketing message to OCRA for County-wide marketing efforts.
- Joined in the application with OCRA for the Ouray County marketing grant from the Colorado Tourism Office. Provided in-kind service hours and developed two projects, which were reimbursed. The first was printing 5,000 True Grit Walking Tour rack cards for distribution and the acquisition of a MacBook, hard drive and editing training to provide action videos for marketing the County.
- Chamber President presented at BOCC meeting the critical importance of properly staffing the Ouray County Fairgrounds and Event Center. As an important and valuable county asset for meetings and events, it demands attention be given to having enough staff to properly promote, market and operate the property. The BOCC agreed to the recommendation and added staff.
- Requested that the Town schedule a workshop for businesses to provide additional information regarding signage regulations in Ridgway. The Town Manager invited all interested parties and scheduled this workshop in July.
- The Chamber provided two volunteers to administer the business survey as part of the efforts of the Main Street program in accumulating business operation data.
Local & Regional Collaboration
- Put on Annual Golf Scramble fundraiser event at Divide Ranch and Club. Raised $7,000.
- Creation of a Ridgway Adventure Base Camp and Guide Accelerator Coop through the efforts of a Chamber Board Director. Efforts will include asset mapping of outdoor adventure, organization and training of existing and potential new service guides, creating action videos to promote the area and activities, and the possible inclusion of a large, nationally sponsored biking event in August 2016.
- The Ridgway Chamber is pursuing the acquisition of a raffle license in order to be able to promote a UTV / mountain bicycle give away raffle in 2016.
- Supported Becker Doyle Associates in the implementation of the successful Home Tour Fundraiser.
- Supported the efforts of a Chamber Board Director’s creation of True Grit Movie location plaques throughout town. This included studying locations, designing plaques, funding, and placing.
- Created True Grit movie Walking Tour which has 9 trained volunteer guides and started operation July 3 with weekly tours. To date 15 tours have operated and included __________ participants.
- Chamber Board Director is working to investigate the creation of a John Wayne Museum. She has met with John Wayne organization in California and submitted a proposal to Ralph Lauren to provide funding to do a feasibility study for the museum.
- In planning stages for a New Year’s Eve Casino event with music, food and Monte Carlo-style gambling as a year-end fundraiser.