Nothing amiss about Utah trip, chamber insists

Prez: Moab retreat fits mission

It seemed a bit odd to critics of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce to see the chamber tout a recent survey by Colorado Mesa University marketing students that showed that members overwhelmingly support the chamber’s Shop Local Campaign.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the campaign or buying locally, the critics said.Far from it.

What caught their eye was a picture beneath that item in the chamber’s weekly “Chamber News” section of The Daily Sentinel earlier this week showing the chamber’s Board of Directors at its annual planning retreat at the Red Cliff Lodge in Moab, Utah, on Nov. 8.

Chamber President Michael Burke said there’s was nothing amiss about going to Utah to hold its planning meeting.

Like resorts in Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs, the Red Cliff Lodge is a member of the Grand Junction area chamber, he said.

“With Grand Junction being kind of a regional center — that’s why it’s the Grand Junction area chamber — we have a number of members who are in the region, rather than just in town,” Burke said. “A number of our members report that eastern Utah supplies them with a lot of their customers. Red Cliff Lodge has been an active member, and not only did they host us, but they did it for free. Moab is in our region.”

Burke said that when it holds such meetings, it always patronizes a chamber member, and likes to take those planning retreats out of the city because it helps board members focus on the issues at hand.

Last year, the meeting was held at Powderhorn Mountain Resort; the year before it was at a hunting lodge in Mesa County. Both are chamber members, Burke said.

“Our goal is to get a little bit out of town so that our board members are not trying to run to meetings and other things. Otherwise, you don’t have a successful retreat,” he said. “In perfect hindsight, we probably should have had a caption (in the weekly notice) that said something about, ‘Board visits chamber member.’”

Instead, the caption read “The annual Chamber Board Advance held at the beautiful Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab.”

Above it were details about the survey, which found that 85 percent of the 178 chamber members who were polled said it was significant or very important to promote shopping locally.

The survey also showed that 88 percent of the members purchase business supplies from local businesses, 93 percent saying they shop locally for their personal needs, and 97 percent utilize local businesses for their service needs.

“There’s plenty of places that I’m sure they could have found in the county,” said Anne Landman, who’s leading an effort to get chamber members to leave the organization. “Their support of local businesses basically is a fake program. It’s a hollow claim, support local business, because they don’t even support local business. Time and time again, they go out of town for what they need.”


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Anne Landman is wrong to criticize the chamber. 1.The retreat was held at a chamber member’s business, 2. Grand Junction retailers, service companies, and other businesses rely on eastern Utah residents for a growing percentage of their revenue, 3. Just look at all the Utah license plates on Main Street, Highway 6 and 50, Patterson Road, Mesa Mall parking lots, etc.

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