Cove Chamber grows, expands networking opportunities
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce will be holding a weekly mixer for members of the chamber and non-members every Thursday afternoon at the Chamber of Commerce offices, located at 204 E. Robertson Ave.
The noontime mixers are part of a larger effort to rebrand the Chamber and implement the ideas of the new chamber president and CEO, Greg Solomon.
The mixers, called “Making Business Happen” group meetings will be held from noon to 1 p.m. and allow members and non-members alike the chance to interact and have the opportunity to develop a relationship and do business with one another, Solomon said.
“They meet each other, they’re more apt to do business with the other,” Solomon said. The mixer also works as a recruiting opportunity when non-members come and see what being a member of the Chamber of Commerce is about.
Solomon was hired as the president of the chamber back in November and brought with him a three-page list of ideas for the chamber to implement to help them recruit and retain members and function without the help of hotel occupancy tax dollars. After having a stroke in December and being in the hospital for three months, which Solomon called a setback, he has pushed forward with his ideas and said he tries to implement around seven new ideas per monthly meeting with the Board of Directors.
When Solomon was hired, the chamber had 306 members and has grown to have just under 400 members, he said.
In addition to the Making Business Happen mixers, the ideas included the sponsoring of the Young Professionals Group, creating a Chamber of Commerce membership directory and offering members a bulk mail discount. Solomon hopes to begin hosting quarterly luncheons in the coming months as part of the list of ideas. Also included was a new website for the Chamber, set to launch sometime this month, Solomon said.
Solomon has nine years of city government experience and 24 years as president of the Chambers of Commerce of Gainesville, the Greater East Dallas area, Burleson and Hillsboro before he came to Copperas Cove. While he was president, the Burleson Chamber of Commerce led the DFW area, the State of Texas and the nation in terms of membership growth, Solomon said. The chamber was also named “National Chamber of the Year” twice and was runner-up three times, Solomon said. He added that he wants the Cove chamber to have the opportunity to compete and experience what it would be like to win that title.
In addition to the Young Professionals group meetings and mixers, which are held every month, and the Making Business Happen mixers, held every Thursday, the chamber also hosts ribbon cutting ceremonies for new members and participates in events such as the Hood Howdy, which is held twice a year in February and August. They also host the Jackrabbit Run 4 Hope, held in May; the Summer Run to Fun, held in June; the Gallop or Trot 5K, held in September; Rabbit Fest in May; and Krist Kindl Markt in December. The chamber also has several committees, including the Military Affairs Committee, which will resume hosting Military Affairs dinners, with the first dinner set for October 12, according to Solomon.
With the various mixers and networking opportunities as well as the events, the Chamber of Commerce is fairly busy.
“This is the busiest chamber that I’ve ever been a part of,” Solomon said. “I mean, not only my ideas but I actually found out this chamber was active all along, so I’m just trying to squeeze my ideas in it.”
Solomon said he will be hiring a Vice President to begin work after Labor Day, in September. They will join Solomon and the chamber staff, Rachel Kase, Jennifer Flood and Maurice Tobin, to take on some of the responsibilities of being active with so many events and networking opportunities.