Businesses everywhere are reducing spending on membership fees and sponsorships, yet the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce continued to grow last year.

Businesses everywhere are reducing spending on membership fees and sponsorships, yet the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce continued to grow last year.

"Our chamber has fared fairly well in 2009," treasurer Jay Williams said Tuesday at the annual meeting.

Business leaders from across the Worthington area filled the large meeting room at the Holiday Inn Columbus/Worthington to hear the annual report, elect new officers, and enjoy a program called "What's In It For Me?"

That is the question that more businesses are asking as they re-evaluate allotment of their time and money.

Displays and speakers emphasized some of the advantages of chamber membership, from health insurance discounts to many opportunities to promote one's business and to network with other community members.

An audio visual presentation flashed photos of chamber members at last year's events as the song "I Want to Talk About Me" provided background.

Chamber director Kathryn Paugh talked about members and about the organization, agreeing with the treasurer that 2009 had been a challenging but rewarding year.

"2009 was a year of stretching dollars and thinking outside the box," she said.

Membership actually grew very slightly, going from 734 in 2008 to 736 last year. The Worthington chamber is the third largest in central Ohio.

Income for the year was $278,665 and expenditures $277,446, for a grand net income of $1,219. Including funds set aside for a building fund and capital improvements, the organization has a bottom line of $362,831.

Last year, the chamber sponsored 62 events, with total member attendance of 4,922. Including vendors and visitors at public events, the number was approximately 25,000.

Besides large events like Market Day, Taste of Worthington, and Reds, Whites, and Desserts, the chamber sponsors smaller events for members throughout the year. Those include after-hours social gatherings, a book club, Quick Connect, and special groups for women and for young professionals.

Elected at the annual meeting were Kay Lakhi, of The Rite Bite, chair; Shera Skaggs, of CS Graphics, chair-elect; and Paul Cynkar, of Battelle for Kids, treasurer.

Incoming trustees are Ann Baldwin, Mary Kay Cosmetics; Jeff Regensburger, Worthington Libraries; Sheila Sinno, Sinno Law Office; and Norris Woods Jr., OhioHealth-McConnell Heart Health Center.

Other trustees are Bill Alsnauer, Erin Ellis, Lynn Nadler and Tony Lordo.

Stepping down from the board at the annual meeting were Geoff Biehn, Cyndi McAlpine and Gerald Prince.