Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the “Progress 2014” section of North Country This Week.
OGDENSBURG – As the Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce’s new director settles into the job, the organization hopes to increase its membership.
Executive director Laura Pearson took over for Sandy Porter Dec. 2. She said this year the focus will be on improving the chamber’s major events and gaining new members.
“I’m very happy to be working her,” she said. “It’s always kind of been my dream job.”
Pearson, an Ogdensburg Free Academy graduate said she is a native of the area and hopes to share the many treasures it has with the world.
“It’s a great place with a lot to offer,” she said.
Currently the chamber has about 200 members, but Pearson says her main goal this year is to increase that number. She said there are many benefits to joining the chamber that businesses should take advantage of.
“We advertise for local businesses through everything we do. We have a business directory on our website and a monthly newsletter. We have our travel tourism book and we offer members a chance to sponsor events. We even have a program to help with health insurance,” she said.
This year the chamber will host its first New York State Bass Chapter Federation Fishing Tournament. The event is expected to bring 160 anglers from around the country.
“That’s going to be huge for us. We are excited for the opportunity and we hope we can bring it back again in the future,” she said.
Aside from the tournament, no new events are being added this year, but Pearson says community members can expect the annual staples including the Polar Bear Plunge, Cabin Fever Dinner, Harvest Dinner, Car-B-Que and the Wine, Beer and Food Festival.
“In my first year I want to focus on the events we have,” she said.
Pearson said the chamber is working on a new edition of its travel tourism guide that highlights businesses and organizations within a 30-mile radius of the city. She said 10,000 copies of the brochure will be distributed throughout the state and in parts of Canada.
“Promoting tourism is a big part of what we do. We want to bring people in to St. Lawrence County and the Ogdensburg area,” she said.
Pearson is also hoping to expand the Chamber’s store, located in the offices at 1 Bridge Approach Road. Although the chamber has always offered of variety of locally themed items, she said it has never been given a name.
Paying homage to a once popular shopping street, the store will be called the Crescent. In the near future Pearson hopes to expand offerings and open the store to online purchases as well.
“We want to get more local vendors involved with the store,” she said.
Aside from its own events, the chamber also promotes Ogdensburg’s other major happenings including the Seaway Festival and the Ogdensburg Expo.
“We try to help out and point people in the right directions for those events. We always have a table at the Expo,” she said.
For more information on the Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce call 393-3620 or visit www.ogdensburgny.com