Two agencies: how they differ
June 20, 2012
How they are different;
How they’re the same
Wells County Chamber of Commerce executive director Suzanne Huffman understand why people might get her organization confused with thes Wells County Economic Devleopment Corporation.
“Both organizations operate out of the same office, and we have a common goal,” she says. “Both organizations want to improve the quality of life for individuals and businesses in Wells County. It is simply through two types of complementary efforts.”
The difference between a Chamber of Commerce and and Economic Development Corporation lies in the organization’s primary focus, Huffman continues. The chamber’s primary goal is the promotion and support of local businesses to increase customers; for an EDC, it is the attraction, retention and expansion of businesses in order to increase the tax base of the community.
The Chamber of Commerce, Huffman notes, has 270 members representing 7,000 Wells County workers.
She lists these areas on which the chamber is focused:
• Being the voice of the local business community
• Creating a local environment where businesses can grow and succeed
• Quality of life issues impacting business development in our community
• Downtown development
• Small business/entrepreneurial development
• Commercial/retail development
• Keeping abreast of legislative issues that impact the business community
• Provide training and informational programs for area businesses
• Marketing the county
The Wells County EDC, meanwhile, is focused on:
• Serving as the central point of contact for all primary industry expansion and relocation projects for Wells County
• Recruitment of targeted new primary industry to the area
• Retaining existing businesses
• Business expansion and recruitment visits
• Knowledge of and access to local/state/federal incentives and how they can affect primary industry
• Being a “one-stop shop” for economic and industrial data regarding Wells County
• Providing regular updates about new programs available to industries for their benefit
• Marketing Wells County to the world.
Meanwile, there is a third organization — Wells County Revitalization Inc. — that also operates under the umbrella of the chamber. That entity is focused on:
• Improving the parks, recreation and quality of life of Wells County residents and visitors
• Downtown Bluffton and Rivergreenway beautification
• Ossian park development
The chamber leaders are currently exploring how the Revitalization arm can be expanded to allow tax deductible donations from private companies and citizens to help with Economic Development activities. u
— Mark Miller