by Andrew Rudansky
New board member and chair of the membership committee Kelly Connaughton of the the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce thinks 2012 is the year chamber members can expand their business.
In an effort to facilitate this economic growth, the chamber has begun a new promotions and marketing campaign for Sag Harbor.
“In the past people have rightly asked what has the chamber done for businesses in the area,” said Connaughton. “We are trying to show what we can do to better serve our community.”
The first chamber promotional event is set to kick off this week, when the “Bag Lunch Series” begins this Friday, April 13.
The series will run every Friday this month, April 13, April 20 and April 27 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. It is free for members of the chamber, while guests are invited to attend for a $25 donation.
“We ask that people bring their own lunch, that way it keeps it simple. It keeps the focus on the meeting itself,” said Connaughton, “and it can be fun, you can bring whatever you want.”
Connaughton said the lunches will be a more casual event than the traditional chamber dinners.
“As a new member I started coming to the [chamber] dinners; I liked them but I noticed the same faces coming to the dinner every time. It would be the same 30 or 40 members,” she said.
Connaughton thought many of the members might not be coming to the dinner and evening cocktail events because of the late time and more formal setup.
“This in particular is meant to give our members some practical skills and knowledge to grow their business this season,” said Connaughton. “We have incredible speakers and the event gives attendees an opportunity to network.”
The chamber hopes the informal question and answer series, comparable to an afternoon lunch break, would be more accessible; attracting new members while helping existing members become more involved.
While the chamber does have over 250 member businesses, Connaughton said that not every business on Main Street is a member.
“All of the lunch discussions will be very casual, the audience will lead the discussion,” said Connaughton. “All we are trying to do is create a forum.”
The first of the lunches will be held at Phao, located on 29 Main Street in Sag Harbor and will feature guest speaker WPPB radio host Bonnie Grice. She is scheduled to give a presentation about increasing a business’ public profile within the community entitled “Connecting With Your Community: Public Radio speaks to All.”
The following Friday, April 20 the chamber hosts the second lunch at Sen at 23 Main Street. Digital media experts Linda Miller, Matthew Iscoe and Jim During will give a talk named “Expand Your Business: Leveraging Free Digital Media.”
Miller and Iscoe, both of Hamptons Creative Group will talk about the wide range of free digital promotion available.
Branding specialist and Huffington Post columnist Robbie Vorhaus will be hosting the third and final event of the series on Friday, April 27. The lunch will be held at Bay Street Theatre. The topic of Vorhaus’ lunch will be “Creating, Building and Sustaining Your Personal Brand.”
He will focus on communicating the “story” of a brand and how it can grow a small business. Connaughton said not only the brand of the business, but the brand of the entire chamber and village can draw business into the area.
“We are looking at other ways to support Sag Harbor,” said Connaughton. “All of the businesses here have Sag Harbor in common, that is our common brand.”
For more information about the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the Bag Lunch Series please visit www.sagharborchamber.com, or call Kelly Connaughton at (917) 715-4116.