After 65 years, the Castle Rock Chamber is here to help more than ever.
In 2020, the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce marks its 65th year as an organization, but the coronavirus prompted the chamber to celebrate the accomplishment in a more subdued way.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the chamber goes forward, using more creativity to run our organization in 2020 and 2021 and beyond,â€ says Pam Ridler, Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “Figuring things out differently will be our mantra for the future, as we help our 500-plus chamber members find solutions to get through this pandemic and get back to normal.”
Ridler says during the height of the pandemic in April 2020, the chamber began hosting virtual meetings to telecommunicate with members. That kept member businesses up to date on town news, and one call even featured more than 170 participants.
“We also hosted a virtual business-after-hours session in late April,â€ she says. “In some cases for the future, maybe one or two new programs we introduced will continue after everything becomes normal again. We will eventually resume our in-person get-togethers, but we will also focus on hosting occasional, interesting virtual meetings.”
Ridler says the coronavirus changes how the chamber thinks about the future in many ways.
“For instance, we can’t do a yearly plan anymore – we must make our plans in about 90-day chunks, just in case another problem might occur,â€ she says. “We will also keep in close contact with legislators in Denver to help our businesses with any issues they might have to get rolling again.”
Ridler points out that 65 years ago when the chamber formed, Castle Rock was primarily a ranching community with only a handful of small businesses.
“I don’t see a whole lot of difference in what the chamber did back then compared to today, except that the membership numbers are now higher,â€ she says. “Business owners and managers still ask the same questions. How do I move my product? How do I find customers? What are the best ways to market? How can I expand? That’s where the chamber can be so helpful, especially these days. We are here to help now more than ever.”
And although the celebration this year will be somewhat restrained, Ridler is still proud of the chamber’s 65-year milestone.
“There are chambers around us that aren’t even 10 years old, so we have a long-standing history of focusing on being a champion for initiatives that make Castle Rock a beautiful, thriving community,â€ she says. “We do a lot of small-business assistance to help them succeed, and we are big with political advocacy that helps our overall economy. In addition, we are thinking more regionally, working with other chambers and economic development groups to tackle important regional issues like water, transportation and affordable housing.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Castle Rock area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Castle Rock, CO.