Moving from the board of directors to lead the day-to-day operations, Richard Bond is your new man at the Chamber of Commerce. Bond was asked by the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce board Tuesday to serve as chief executive officer of the organization once current president Christi Matthews steps down at the end of the month. Bond will be interim CEO for six months.
“Christi has done a great job for three years,” said Bond. “But it appears her family will be leaving the area at the end of the school year. The board asked me to step in for a few months.”
Bond said the two new managers hired last year, Kristen Van Hoesen as membership manager and Scott Still as Visitor Center and events manager, have also been doing a great job. “I’ll be working with them, training them, guiding them on where we want the chamber to go,” he explained. “I also want to expand the educational and counseling services for our members, especially during these trying times. And third, I was asked to help recommend to the board a permanent CEO for the chamber.”
Previous board chairman Jay Jaynes, along with longtime chamber board member Sara Morgan, will take over as co-chairs of the chamber board.
Overall, the chamber appears in stable shape, according to Bond. While memberships are down about 7 percent from a year ago, that isn’t bad compared to some comparable chambers. “Keep it in perspective. Eagle is down 40 percent,” he said.
As of this week, the chamber had 328 members, compared to 341 last fall. “Since Kristen came on board, she’s added 20 new members,” said Bond. “We are now making a big push this week and next to get people to renew their memberships. We want a lot of face-to-face with businesses and board members in the next couple of weeks.”
Bond said there were about 800 businesses that have paid the business tax to either Crested Butte or Mt. Crested Butte. “We should have 500 members and that’s our target,” he said.
The chamber has several membership options. The most expensive is $295 a year for a Visitor Center membership. That allows a business total access to the Visitor Center displays and special web placement. A regular membership is $245. Nonprofits pay $100 per year. The chamber also receives $75 for each business license sold through the towns. That money is accounted for separately and is earmarked specifically for running the Visitor Centers and special events like Fat Tire Bike Week and the Fourth of July.
“I really want to provide more educational services for our members,” said Bond, “things like working more with Marilyn Laverty of the Small Business Development Center at Western State College. She is doing a seminar this month on how to improve the cash flow of a business.
“This spring we’ll be holding a tourism planning session,” he continued. “We’ll have CBMR, the Tourism Association and the Rural Transportation Authority on hand to give an idea to businesses on what to expect for the summer. On June 11 we have a ‘State of the Butte’ forum set with the mayors of both towns. And Scott Still has a lot of ambitious plans he is pursuing for Fat Tire Bike Week.”
Bond said overall, the state of the chamber is good. The finances are ahead of board projections and the board is confident. Matthews will leave the chamber March 31 and Bond will take over April 1.