It's nice to feel part of something, and that is how people feel with the feedback that is being heard about the newly reorganized Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. After hearing from members and the community on what they envision in their chamber of commerce, they really listened and rolled up their sleeves.
With a majority of all new board members led by chamber President Craig Stevens, they have forged ahead, accomplishing a long list of tasks.
With limited resources, such as the vacancy of an executive director position, chamber administrator Adrienne Relyea has been holding down the fort with only one other employee, Jenni McGrew. Jenni's salary is paid by ROOST (Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism), representing Saranac Lake on the Essex County side. Bob "Soot" Zatorski is also backup if Jenni is out. Still, this is a small staff to handle more than 1,500 visitors using the chamber a month.
They are playing a strong leadership role in collaborating with the various groups such as municipalities, neighboring chambers and local leaders in the fields of tourism, arts, wellness and events. They are inviting everyone to give the chamber a second chance by being involved and engaged in its direction.
The atmosphere at the chamber is reflected in the energy of the staff, the board and its members as being much more open and inclusive to ideas and solutions. You can see evidence of this renewal everywhere, such as the new www.saranaclake.com website by board member Sandra Hildreth in coordination with the Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau (ROOST's other name). You might have met Dick George, who has come in person into your business to ask you how the chamber can help. You probably met a new board member and other members at a chamber mixer or discussed the visitor guide, map and numerous other projects and events they have going on.
They all put in long hours as a volunteer board and a staff of two. As the chamber staffer Jenni summarizes her day, "It is like herding cats and wearing different hats." Yet they all seem to embrace it with a contagious positive spirit that Saranac Lake is known for.
We encourage everyone to support the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce in its new endeavor because these people have shown they are making a sincere effort to help their members, visitors, and businesses to build a thriving place to play, work and stay. Give them a call at 518-891-1990 to become a chamber member, or help by volunteering.