Tri-Village News

Chamber focused on growing events, small businesses

New president Etling takes chamber's reins

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Kristy Etling has begun her two-year term as president of the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce.

"It's a great time for the chamber," said Etling, a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Etling replaces Jill Gerschutz, who served the past two years as chamber president.

"We've been steadily growing and strengthening as an organization over the last four or five years," Etling said.

"We've got great leadership with our executive director, Michelle Wilson, great people on the board and an active membership," she said. "Our membership and our revenue continues to grow."

The continued increase in membership "is quite an accomplishment. Grandview's a land-locked community, so you wouldn't think there would be so much room to grow," she said.

"We have a lot of member businesses located outside of Grandview," Etling said. "There are a lot of small businesses in and around Grandview people don't know about, and Michelle's done a great job going to them and letting them know the benefits of belonging to the Grandview chamber."

In recent years, the chamber has increased the size and scope of the benefits it offers to members, she said.

"Social media is one of the first things that comes to mind," Etling said.

"Your business can have its own followers, but linking up with the chamber can give you so many more on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn," she said. "We're able to get your photographs and stories out to more people."

The chamber will look to build upon past success in 2014, Etling said.

"We've had a couple big events -- Digfest and Taste of Grandview -- that last year became even more successful than we could have imagined," she said. "Digfest had a more than 100 percent increase in attendance; it's just gotten so much larger. And we will be tweaking Taste of Grandview to make it an even better event."

Destination Grandview, the local convention and visitors bureau, "is coming into its own" with newly appointed Director Jessica Walli, Etling said.

"Michelle Wilson helped build that organization and set it on its own course," she said. "As Destination Grandview defines itself better, the chamber will be able to refocus its efforts on its main mission, which is to serve and promote the local business community."

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