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The Art of “Chambering”


Chambers of Commerce have been around since the 1600’s and, given their history and importance, one would think they would have inspired some terminology by describing what they do. Instead, it takes lengthy descriptions, often borrowing terms used in connection with other types of entities.

And so, we are introducing the term “Chambering” to represent the art of what we do. And “Advanced Chambering” to denote the art of doing it in advanced and truly strategic ways.

 Here are several old-fashioned definitions for the word:

 * BIBLICAL: Engaging in illicit indulgences.

 * LEGAL: Practicing under the supervision of a senior lawyer.

 * SHELTER: Providing shelter or living space.

 * FIREARMS: Putting a round of fire in the chamber of a firearm.

But we now define Chambering as “moving the economic needle” for the area a Chamber serves as well as for individual businesses.

This differentiates between an array of services most Chambers provide which have real value, but do not rise to moving the economic needle — networking, information, workshops, insurance services, and so on — and those strategic endeavors which can be seen as “moving the needle” in positive ways. This recognition of the latter facilitates a better assessment of the role and impact of a given Chamber from a basic business services provider to an impactful economic agent.

It can be seen in the sense of a needle on a gauge reflecting stronger performance and higher energy. And it can be seen in the sense of a needle sewing together a patchwork of elements to create a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. Moving the needle.

 In our case, we believe we are engaging in Chambering through our leadership in all cross-border dynamics, our effective advocacy for the North Country economy in Washington and Albany, our role in securing more than a half-billion dollars in infrastructure funding through the years, our pro-active leadership in the face of unexpected challenges — from closures to the pandemic, the development and support of our transportation equipment cluster, our development of greater tourism and visitation, and each case of direct assistance to a company or organization in solving a challenge or securing expanded business.

 And while there are elements that are a science, the interplay of diverse sectors and strategies makes Chambering, in our view, an art. 

 As we approach a new year, we commit fully not only to the concept of Chambering, but to Advanced Chambering in 2024 and beyond.

Onward and upward!

Garry Douglas is president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

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