Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce Announces Free Business Membership, Sustainable Tourism Approach, and New Hire
After 30 years of serving the community, the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce (RACC) is reigniting its dedication to helping local businesses thrive and supporting the local economy while also considering the importance of environmental and social sustainability.
To better support local businesses in the years ahead, the RACC has announced a complimentary Basic Membership plan that goes into effect on May 15th. The membership is designed to provide business owners with increased visibility and additional channels for sharing their news and events — including a business listing on the RACC website (RidgwayColorado.com) and the Town of Ridgway directory, a space for marketing materials at the Ridgway Visitor Center, and promotion on the RACC’s social media channels, bi-weekly e-blasts, and quarterly visitor newsletters.
“Over the past year it became clear that not all businesses could invest in a paid membership option,” said Ashley Perkins, the executive director of the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce. “By providing the free Basic Membership, businesses can be found through our website and connected through use of the town directory. This will result in better support from community members and visitors alike.”
In an effort to grow local tourism sustainably year round, the RACC is championing efforts to draw visitors to Ridgway during quieter times of the year, such as the RACC-sponsored Noel Night in early December and spearheading the Ridgway Chamber Annual Golf Open in September. They are also initiating conversations on ways to support local events like San Juan Skijoring and working to enhance the Shop Local campaign that runs from December to March.
“I often hear from business owners that they must work extremely hard during the summer months to save for the winter months when things slow down. Our hope is that we can reduce some of that stress for local businesses by following this approach and help to increase revenue during off peak season,” said Perkins, who notes that the RACC is also championing the use of responsible messaging so visitors understand the ethics of Leave No Trace and Know Before you Go tactics, amongst others. “Marketing nowadays is geared towards a visitor's safe and sustainable experience that compliments the local community and is no longer about over-exposing these small towns.”
To aid in their endeavors, the RACC has hired a new marketing and public relations specialist. Catherine Johnson with Captivate Consulting will focus on the chamber’s social media presence and be charged with the chamber’s visitor newsletters and e-blasts. She will also head up a series of business education workshops beginning in May. Johnson’s role was previously held by Tanya Ishikawa, who started working with the RACC in 2018 and is now the secretary for the RACC board of directors.
To learn more, the public is invited to attend the RACC board meetings on the first Monday of every month at 5 p.m. at the Ridgway Public Library.