It was a very good year for the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce in 2017 according to Jeff Powell, the Chamber’s Board of Directors chairman, at the organization’s January luncheon when he provided a State of the Chamber update.
“I think you’ll find we accomplished a lot of our goals and met our vision of advocate, communicate, educate, and support businesses in the Mesquite area,” Powell said.
The chamber added 24 new business members in 2017 bringing the membership number to 272. Of that, 19 are premium members, up seven. Powell reported that the retention rate of chamber members is 84 percent, increasing 2.4 percent from the previous year. “We want to work to increase the retention rate in the next year though,” he said.
The chamber hosted about a dozen major events in 2017 ranging from its annual fund-raising golf tournament to a home and garden expo and customer service seminars. Small Business Saturday, Let’s Talk About Marijuana and What’s Happening Mesquite were other events the chamber sponsored for local businesses.
Powell reported that chamber members also participated in community-wide events like the Sun City Business Expo, Mesquite Police Department’s Night Out and the Mesquite Days Parade.
He also said that the chamber had taken a much more active role in events outside of Mesquite as a way to promote the city. That included the Taste of Dixie in St. George, Utah, League of Cities annual conference, the Council of Chambers under Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and the Southern Utah Coalition of Chambers.
“We have a seat at the table, a voice that is heard, and a way to be recognized outside of our area through our participation in these organizations,” Powell said.
Members of the board also served as advocates for the new city of Mesquite charter that was passed by the Nevada State Legislature in 2017, the Clark County School District reorganization, the extension of fuel revenue indexing that will generate construction money for roads in the county, and a state senate bill that will create a million-dollar workforce training fund.
Jayne Kendrick, the chamber board treasurer, reported that while the organization showed a $6,488 deficit in its 2017 spending, overall finances were in excellent condition.
Much of the deficit spending came from purchases of office equipment, Kendrick said. “Going into 2017 we had a loss of $27,000 in our budget. We knew we needed to do that to grow our chamber. We did pretty darn good.”
Net profits from chamber events totaled $31,550. The chamber’s annual visitor guide realized a net profit from advertising sales of $19,958 with $10,000 of that coming from a tourism grant.
“The balance sheet overall has increased by approximately $34,000, with a lot of that attributable to our stock holdings,” Kendrick said.
Powell said the chamber goals for 2018 included growing the membership by a net gain of 15 percent, fine tuning and raise the bar on existing events, focusing on relevant worthwhile groups and associations, and enhance the application and receipt of available grant money.
“About three years ago, the chamber almost ceased to exist. We’ve come a long way in three years,” Powell said.