Canton Chamber of Commerce to hire part-time executive director
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 6:58 am

To The Editor:

I am writing in regards to an article that was recently published in North Country This Week (Sept. 20-26) titled “Village, Town to Keep Chamber Funding Static” to clarify and provide further information on the chamber and the background of the funding request.

For many years, the Canton Chamber of Commerce has strived to provide support and leadership to the local business community while enhancing the quality of life in the community. It has done so by organizing and hosting numerous community events and by providing a range of services to its member businesses.

This programming includes, in example, the annual Winterfest celebration, holiday events like Phantoms in the Park, prize giveaways, Canton gift certificates, and joint marketing opportunities. It has done all this thanks to the dedicated work of part-time Executive Director Sally Hill. As the only employee of the Chamber, Ms. Hill is retiring at the end of this year, and the Chamber of Commerce has organized a search committee to fill her position when she retires.

The chamber was approached via letter by Village of Canton Mayor Michael Dalton on March 31, 2017 requesting a meeting. The letter suggested that the Village and Town leadership and the Canton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meet and discuss the future of the chamber with the coming position change.

In the letter, Mayor Dalton stated “several thoughts come to mind as I think about an agenda: sharing the vision for the Chamber and new leadership; evaluation of local participation in the Chamber; changes on the municipal website; funding needs to enhance Chamber operations. These are just a few areas I think could benefit from thoughtful discussion.”

The Chamber Board was also advised that additional funding might be available from the Town and Village in order for the Chamber to expand its activities with an emphasis on marketing for the Town and Village. We saw an opportunity with the meeting to further discussions regarding funding to potentially move the Director’s position to full time, thereby increasing our capacity to do what is needed for the community and businesses.

After this meeting, we were directed to think of where we wanted to go with the Chamber and put together a formal request that would be reviewed by both the Town Council and Village Board at their next meeting. The Chamber accordingly put together a vision for the work of a full time director and how it could enhance our efforts to support the Canton community. We were all set to continue with a part-time director position and envisioned increased business relations and community marketing as focus areas if the Director position was funded to full-time levels, thus gaining more membership and increasing revenues.

While the Chamber Board’s proposal for a full-time executive director, which it submitted to the municipality in response to its request, was not funded, the Chamber will continue to provide valuable services to support the community. A part-time executive director position has been posted on our website at http://www.cantonnewyork.us/chamber/.

Jessica Zuhlsdorf

Canton Chamber of Commerce president