North Dundas Chamber of Commerce aims for April trade show

WINCHESTER — The North Dundas Chamber of Commerce has begun hurriedly planning for an April trade show in the arena portion of the Joel Steele Community Centre.

That’s the upshot of the organization’s latest annual general meeting, which drew about 25 member business representatives to Winchester’s Old Town Hall, Feb. 15.

The organization has not held a trade show in several years.

Chamber President Rachel Potvin, co-owner of the Maple Ridge Centre, raised the idea of reviving the event at the AGM and asked for a show of hands — with about three quarters of attendees indicating their support.

Potvin later told Nation Valley News that the Township of North Dundas has since shown eagerness to work with the Chamber on a trade show this spring and has offered the arena surface to accommodate it. “The township has been very supportive,” she said on Monday of this week.

In planning for the show, Potvin is tapping the experience of fellow Chamber member Lisa Williams of Main Street Clothing in Winchester — spearhead of that village’s successful annual shop crawl. They plan an organizational meeting next week at the Maple Ridge Centre. “Anyone interested in helping out is welcome to join us,” said Potvin, who has previously helped organize trade shows for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada in Toronto and Vancouver. She suggested it takes about three consecutive years for a show to gain momentum.

The president reported receiving “a lot of good feedback” on a survey of businesses promoted at the AGM.

Striking a bit of a new course for the organization, Potvin — elected president last year — has also proposed having the Chamber hire a part-time person to handle some administrative tasks and promotional activities. She explained that few business owners can afford to handle the Chamber’s full workload on a volunteer basis anymore. The organization, which has experienced some recent turnover at the executive level, continues to explore this idea.

In a nod to previous long-time board members, Potvin acknowledged the work of her predecessor, past president Owen Shortt, along with former Second Vice John Van Bruinessen, as well as former director Ed Puddephatt and treasurer Sandie Puddephatt — since replaced in that role by new treasurer Shawn Brownlee.

The membership was also apprised of the Chamber’s intent to refresh its website and add the option of paying membership dues electronically online. Mayor Eric Duncan, who attended the AGM, vouched for the effectiveness of the platform as a potential online accounting and payment system for members preferring to submit their annual $75 fee this way. Duncan also highlighted the recent hiring of the township’s new economic development officer, Stephen Mann.


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