San Tan Valley chamber shares plans to increase its presence in the community

Wayne Bachmann, president of the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce, hopes the chamber’s newly designed information portfolio will reflect a more upscale, professional look that will help drive new businesses to the community. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

Wayne Bachmann, president of the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce, hopes the chamber’s newly designed information portfolio will reflect a more upscale, professional look that will help drive new businesses to the community. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

There are changes taking place at the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce, and all are intended to benefit its members and the community.

“You’re going to see the presence of the chamber more,” Wayne Bachmann, president of the San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce, said during an interview. “We’re getting more vocal. There are a lot of good things going on and coming in the near future,”

The changes come on the heels of a more than year-long reorganization effort that officially began on May 15, 2014, when the Greater San Tan Chamber and San Tan Valley Chamber of Commerce merged. Until then, the community was served by the two separate chambers, which sometimes caused challenges, according to some local business people.

“You didn’t know which to join,” Nick Myers, owner of the San Tan Valley Water Co., said in an article in the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent about the May 15, 2014, luncheon that marked the two chambers’ first official gathering as one unified body.

Also, there was no cooperation or communication between the two chambers, Bryan McCoy, then secretary/treasurer and now vice president for the San Tan Valley Chamber board of directors, said in the same article about the luncheon.

The unified chamber has 267 members. New events, classes and offerings should help attract new members and present additional benefits to existing ones, Mr. Bachmann said.

New office, signage
To begin, the chamber will have its first office from which to work. Starting Oct. 1, it will share space with Johnson Insurance Agency Inc., at the insurance company’s new office at 2510 E. Hunt Highway Suite No. 25 in San Tan Valley.

Until then, the chamber has an online presence and by phone 480-788-7516.

JIA owner Steve Johnson is a member of the chamber’s board of directors. Prior to his joining the San Tan Valley of Commerce, he was a member of the Greater San Tan Chamber board of directors.

In addition, the chamber introduced a new information portfolio Aug. 20 at its annual meeting. The glossy cover of the color folder features the chamber logo and its slogan “Where Business, Community & Education Come Together.” Inside is a color booklet that includes membership information as well as a member roster.

It replaces the old packet, which was a folder like those used by school children with a chamber logo sticker on its cover, Mr. Bachmann said.

“We’re now looking very professional,” he said.

The chamber also is replacing its signage around the community. Mr. Bachmann said chamber board members want to upgrade the eight or so wooden signs — which welcome visitors to the community on one side and thank them for visiting on the other — from wood to metal, or another material allowed by Pinal county.

“It’s not going to be cheap but it’s going to be worth it,” the chamber president said.

The cost of the signs will be determined by the materials approved by the county, Mr. Bachmann said.

Leads groups
Next, the chamber will offer two leads groups starting this fall. At its annual meeting, the board of directors suggested the concept of networking groups for its members, which was enthusiastically received, Mr. Bachmann said.

“There are certainly quite a few opportunities to join leads groups in the area, but what the chamber brings to its leads groups is credibility and validity, especially for small businesses,” Doug Wancura of the AZ Insurance Shop, 3125 W. Hunt Highway No. 104 and a member of two other leads groups, said during a phone interview.

He said he has both received referrals from and given them to members of his networking groups.

“I’m going to refer people who I trust and I know,” Mr. Wancura said. “Now just because they’re members of a leads group they may not fall into those categories, but when we’re in the group and having a conversation I learn a lot about their integrity. It’s more personalized. That’s the value a leads group brings.”

Mr. Wancura said he hopes to have his leads group start meeting in October. A start date for the second group has not been determined.

More membership benefits
The chamber continues to promote shopping locally. It plans to start spotlighting its members on its Facebook page. In addition, it plans to again host a restaurant week to spotlight local eateries during snowbird season this winter. It also plans to present its annual golf tournament, which is tentatively scheduled for May 16, Mr. Bachmann said.

The organization also has several educational opportunities planned for its members. It is planning a class about Photoshop and photo enhancement in November and another class on Microsoft 365 software after that. The classes will be free unless their instructors charge a fee, Mr. Bachmann said.

In addition, guest speakers are scheduled for the chamber’s Lunch N Learn series, which take place generally at noon on the third Thursday of the month at Central Arizona College San Tan Campus, 3736 E. Bella Vista Road, Building A, in San Tan Valley.

Mr. Bachmann said he hopes to book Pinal County Economic Development Program Director Tim Kanavel and a county manager four times a year at the Lunch N Learns.

“There are so many things going on in the county outside San Tan Valley that affect us in terms of businesses, including progress taking place all the way to Casa Grande. It’s exciting stuff people who are business owners in San Tan Valley should be interested in,” Mr. Bachmann said.

Locally, improvements by the county to Hunt Highway are a boon to businesses, he said.

“It’s been a real positive thing. People are telling us how much easier it is to drive here. Eventually Hunt Highway will be four lanes all the way to Arizona Farms Road and it will be a glorious thing,” Mr. Bachmann said.

Phases I and II of the $9.8 million project widened Hunt Highway between Empire Road to the west to Gary Road to the east, according to a Pinal County Public Works update on the county’s website. Phase II was completed in August.

“There are a lot of good things taking place in San Tan Valley,” Mr. Bachmann said. “The future of the chamber is very bright.”

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