By Brian Buethe, President, CEO, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development
October 2021 Newsletter Article
Grimes Area Chamber of Commerce was officially formed in 1995. At that time, Grimes had a population of 3,490 people. Just five years earlier, in 1990, the decennial census indicated that 2,690 people lived in the community. In just five years, the population of Grimes had grown by nearly 30 percent. At the time it was remarkable to think that this small community could experience so much growth in such a short period of time.
Like the population growth, the number of businesses continued to increase in the 1990’s as well, which encouraged community leaders at that time to form a more formal organizations to benefit the local business community. It wasn’t the first time that businesses had worked together for the good of the community, but it was the first time they were organized as a non-profit business organization. During the late 1980’s another group of community leaders, with some crossover representation from the Chamber group, would meet to discuss economic development challenges and opportunities. Then, about the turn of the century, the economic development efforts and the Chamber merged their efforts and laid the groundwork for the organization now known as Grimes Chamber & Economic Development (GCED).
What started as a handful has increased to roughly 300 businesses and organizations who call themselves Members of Grimes Chamber & Economic Development. It is governed by a dozen representatives from the membership. Like the businesses it serves, the organization is always evolving to best provide value to a diverse array of investors. While some basics tenets of operating a successful business remain the same (i.e., hard work, good service, etc.), many things have changed (i.e., new laws, supply chain progression, online reviews, etc.) since GCED was first formed.
The organization must remain focused on being aware of what businesses are dealing with regularly, so that we can take steps to make the business climate conducive to success. To that end, we work with many partners. We advocate for our members. We organize events that allow members to engage other businesses (B2B), organizations, and the public (B2C). We help to educate and inform our members of important news and information that might help them make better business decisions. We try to tackle the issues of the day (workforce and regulatory issues as examples). And yes, we still host business networking events, groundbreaking ceremonies, and ribbon cuttings.
This work has always been important, and it will remain to be important. The work we do benefits all businesses, whether they are a member or not. When we are successful at growing the workforce or impacting legislation, all businesses win. If you are a non-member Grimes business, please know you are invited; you are welcome. The more involvement we realize, the more we can accomplish for the good of EVERYONE in the community.
Learn more about GCED at www.GrimesIowa.com.