The Williston Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, sharing their successes from 2019 and looking forward to what 2020 will being to its members, and the city.
Chamber members joined staff, board and committee members at the Williston ARC on Thursday morning, as Chamber President Rachel Richter Lordemann shared highlights from the organization’s previous year. A by-the-numbers look back at 2019 shows that the year ended with 522 members, 80 of those being new members, and an 89 percent retention rate, up 6 percent from the year prior. Along with hosting 25 ribbons cuttings, 2019 saw 50 events hosted by the chamber, with Lordemann saying new and exciting events were already in the works for 2020, including the addition of an Oil, Gas & Energy Committee, which would not only help create new members for the chamber, but create an industry-themed event sometime during the year.
“We are heading in to this new year with a lot of excitement and new ideas,” Lordemann said. “We are ready to have a successful and prosperous 2020. Twenty-nineteen saw a lot of new and exciting things for us. We got a new location, we also added two new committees in 2019 and an exciting new event that was held in 2019 was our first membership drive, and we were very excited to get that event off the ground.”
Lordemann said another notable highlight for the year was the chamber’s continued partnership with the Greater North Dakota Chamber, attending many events with them in Bismarck throughout 2019. The GNDC also brought an event to Williston, the CEO Roundtable at XWA.
“We’re very thankful that they chose Williston as the location for one of their events, and we’re excited to continue partnering with them in the future and continue working with them to bring the needs of Williston’s business community to light on a state level.” Lordemann said.
Chamber committee members spoke on their particular successes, such as the Military Affairs Committee’s Freedom Monument, which was completed in fall of 2019. Chamber Member Relations Manager Rochelle Villa shared how important Williston’s businesses are to the chamber’s overall growth.
“The fact that we’re able to continue growing is a testament to the success of Williston’s business community,” Villa said.
Looking toward the next year, Events Manager Caitlyn Holland said the chamber is planning an event for both the spring and the fall, as well as bringing the Rockin’ Ribfest back to Downtown Williston. Holland said the chamber also took on the Women in Leadership Expo, and will be hosting that in the coming year as well. Chair Elect Tom Dickey shared the chamber’s 2020 strategic plan, which included four main tenets; Strengthen the chamber through advocacy, Maintain a compelling portfolio of programs and services, Build the regional economy through strategic partnerships and Structure the chamber for organizational success.
“There’s a lot of other chambers in North Dakota, Montana and the region,” Dickey explained. “One of the things we want to do is we want to explore the opportunities with co-membership with other other chambers, and relating groups or associations to help widen our footprint with Williston. We trying to set ourselves up for success right up front. The better marketing presence we have, the better footprint we have, more word gets out, and I would love to see everybody coming out to all the events in Williston.”
The chamber’s next big event is their Annual Banquet, being held at McCody Concrete at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17.