The Hope Chamber of Commerce is looking to the future with fresh eyes and new perspective. In a recent interview, Chamber President Jake Miller spoke about the organization and their hopes for its future.
What was it about the chamber that appealed to you to get involved?
"For me, it was being involved. I've always felt a connection to Hope but wanted to give back to the community in general and thought the chamber was a good fit for me."
How would you describe the momentum the Chamber has established recently?
"According to the people we have talked to excitement is the best term I could use. They're excited to see a chamber that is wanting to be involved, asking questions of local people and getting feedback. They're just excited it is something that is there, not going away and is active."
In the day-to-day, what do you enjoy most about your work with the chamber?
"Just talking to people. As a chamber person, you are stopping by businesses and have the mindset that you can do as much as you can to support the local businesses. I really like it because day to day I'm talking to people and getting feedback and not just superficial but getting involved to know people."
Going forward, how do you envision the revamping and evolution of the Chamber to meet the 21st century?
There's a big shift with the millennials coming in as business owners. Some of the things we are trying to implement are simple networking events. We want to be a connection hub for the Hope area where people come for contacts. We also want the young business owners to be connected not only through social media, but face-to-face. The biggest hurdle and approach we want to take is keeping the people connected and our businesses local."
What do you hope the chamber's role is in speaking to those outside of the community?
"Hope is a unique place and we are trying to get people to come check us out. Everyone always either knows someone who has lived in a small town or has themselves, so it seems everyone can connect to an area like Hope because of its closeness and its personality. We want those people to come check it out and see what Hope has and hopefully it turns into kind of a tourist spot so people will want to come back and check us out again."