The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce brings area business together with its many programs.

Corinne Minard

When Debbie Char, owner of Troy Bulk Barn & Deli, was considering joining the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce she had one concern: Did they also believe in her philosophy of better together?

“That was really important to me when I had to make a decision about do I become a chamber member or do I not become a chamber member? Because I’ve been chamber members in other communities, but this community and this chamber specifically really embrace that partnership,” says Char.

The chamber, which has 410 members, works to offer a breadth of programs and services that can serve all its members, which range from one-man operations to large corporations like Clopay Building Products and ConAgra.

“We offer the same programs and events that a lot of the big chambers do, but here in a small town with a limited staff of less than four people,” says Kathi Roetter, executive director of the chamber. The chamber offers three different types of networking events (Live at 5, Membership Luncheon and Java Jam), free online job postings through Troy Career Connect, leadership programs and more.

“The chamber has their finger on the pulse (of the business community),” says Char. “They bring things to the table all the time that sometimes you’re not even aware of.”

Char points to the social media workshop the chamber offered as an example. 

“A lot of small-business people are one-man operations, some of us are not in our 20s and 30s anymore and may not be completely up to speed on how to utilize social media to our advantage,” she says. “They held this great workshop to really tell us here’s how Facebook works, here’s the algorithm, here’s how to best to extend your reach, how to get people engaged with your business through social media.”

Another program offered by the chamber is Leadership Troy. The nine-month program has 22 participants who learn about the city of Troy while also accessing their own strengths and weaknesses. Roetter calls it the “backstage pass” to Troy, as participants get to learn about the city’s government, educational system, history, economic development and more. At the end of the program, Roetter says participants “get to provide discussion back to the city of Troy as to what they think are the big concerns in the community that need to be addressed.”

Char has no regrets when it comes to joining the chamber. “There are so many opportunities for you to connect and engage and expand your reach, even just within the community. Not just through technology. And the chamber is a good catalyst,” she says.

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