Members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce had much to celebrate during their annual general meeting Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Kinsmen Community Centre.
Hosting a small presentation from Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins, the chamber elected its board of directors and for the first time in many years, it has a full roster.
Jim Hamilton has stepped up as the chamber president for a third year saying he feels they are doing positive things for the community. “We’re doing some good things. Obviously, if we have more people wanting to join the board of directors, we’re going in the right direction,” he said.
He has spent some time with executive manager Les Jaster in recent months reviewing outdated chamber bylaws, which is another reason he wants to stay on. Hamilton said he hoped to fully update those bylaws in March.
Chamber initiatives appear to be going well and Hamilton said he doesn’t expect there to be major changes for 2015. Events such as the popular trade fair and Almost Midnight Madness continue to grow.
“We’re going to continue to try to raise the profile of the chamber and continue to try to improve the town’s business community,” said Hamilton.
One highlight for Jaster was when he and Hamilton travelled to Fort McMurray for the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) resolutions meeting. During the visit, a member of the ACC pointed to Ponoka’s chamber as a source of good information for hosting trade fairs.
Financially, Jaster is pleased with how the chamber did. The trade fair grossed $48,000 in 2014, up from $45,400 in 2013. Costs for the trade fair did increase in 2014 at $37,700 in 2014 compared to $31,500 in 2013.
The business awards saw some growth with gross revenue at $20,900 in 2014 compared to $19,500 in 2013.
Overall the chamber’s total revenue was $130,000 in 2014 with $129,200 in expenses. Net income was $738.
The chamber was also able to find corporate sponsorship for the Almost Midnight Madness fireworks, which helped reduce those costs.
“We came out well, a little bit of a bottom line. That’s what I like to go for,” said Jaster of the finances.
For 2015, Jaster said he looked forward to expanding on the trade fair and bring more members to the association.
“There are reasons to be a member, there’s no reason not to be a member,” said Jaster.
He looks forward to this year’s trade fair, themed The World of Super Heroes, which is set for April 17 and 18.