Springfield Vermont – January 29, 2024 –
Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce held its 108th annual members meeting at Crown Point Country Club in Springfield Vermont. Executive Director Taylor Drinker opened the annual meeting and introduced Mike Schmitt, the Chambers 2024 President. Mr. Schmitt did a roll call of Directors and conducted the review and acceptance of last year's minutes. Sue Dana the Chamber Treasurer had the members ratify last year’s financials noting there was a larger-than-anticipated profit in 2023.
With the formal business out of the way, Ms. Drinker delivered her Directors Report for 2023. Some of her key highlights included several successful events, active work on a range of committees, and a thank you to Alice Page, who spent over 6 years at the chamber before moving on to new adventures in late 2023. Ms. Drinker gave this summary of her update “Springfield is in an exciting period of growth at this time, with a number of very exciting projects happening on many levels around town, I look forward to seeing how the next few years play out and how much potential Springfield has to offer. “
The guest speaker was Matt Dunne a social entrepreneur whose organization has several investments in Springfield, the founder of The Center on Rural Innovation @CORI, and co-founder of the Black River Innovation Campus @BRIC in Springfield Vermont. Matt spoke to the movement to bring innovation into the Lower Valley and the growth of business in the region. Mr. Dunne said “I want people in our region to see all of the positive things that are happening right now and the future growth that it is bringing. I see Springfield at the epicenter of this movement and am excited to be part of the community”.
Mike Schmitt gave his welcome speech to the members. Mr. Schmitt’s theme was about delivering value to the members. He highlighted six aspirations to achieve more value for Chamber members and the community:
Restructuring for efficiency, communication, and transparency – digitizing our processes and focusing on member value first
Value-based dues structure – enhanced services and benefits were needed
Improve the Digital Clout of Chambers Value – gain national clout via web and digital assets
Deliver information to improve your businesses – Blogs, videos, webcasts…
Up-leveling events, prizes, visitors, and publicity – delivering more publicity and retail traffic
Industry-based roundtables (Birds of a Feather) – face-to-face relevant conversations with similar businesses and industry and government advocates
Mr. Schmitt said of the evening, “There is a tremendous renaissance happening in Springfield and our surrounding communities. Some of it is unseen in infrastructure and policy development, but there is visible evidence with the recent new ownership and renovation of several Downtown properties and storefronts. I am proud that the Chamber members are helping to drive this and look forward to the next few years.”
Before closing the meeting, the Chamber announced the annual winners of its community recognition awards:
Person of the Year: Louise Peale
Selfless service to Meals on Wheels.
Organization of the Year: Turning Point Recovery Center
An invaluable resource for those struggling with addiction and mental illness.
Business of the Year: Great Northern Liquidation
Expanding the retail location into a large vacant location in the town plaza and providing many of the services lost when SEVCA closed their retail store in town.
Thank you to the following organizations for donating to the awards gift baskets!
Black Rock Steakhouse
The Richards Group
Claremont Savings Bank
Jerry Farnum State Farm
Gallery at the VAULT
North Star Health
Black River Coffee Bar
56 Main St. #2
Springfield, VT. 05156