Home Archived Articles West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce 2014 Annual Report

West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce 2014 Annual Report

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Representing the fastest growing region of Anne Arundel County, the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (WAACCC) has a strong focus on economic development, legislative advocacy and business promotion.

As the region continues to grow, the WAACCC will maintain its focus on ensuring that local businesses and communities are prepared for the opportunities that are unfolding. Guided by the chamber’s core strategies, the following are some of its recent accomplishments and plans for the future.

Advocate

The WAACCC is your advocate at the county, state and federal level. We track legislation affecting your business and work proactively to address those issues for the benefit of our membership.

Working with our partners across the state through the Chamber Action Network (CAN) and the Maryland Chamber’s Legislative Committee, we also collaborate to influence state and regional issues that impact our community. In the past year, the chamber has:

  • Secured $40 million in state and federal transportation funding to widen Route 175 between Reece and Disney roads, a notorious bottleneck;
  • Educated those running for office in 2014 about the challenges and opportunities of developing the Odenton Town Center;
  • Pushed for a concrete plan to build the county/state/private developer-led transit- oriented development at the Odenton MARC Station;
  • Encouraged a shift in spending of funds allocated by the Maryland Live! Casino Local Development Council to ensure they are targeted to new needs associated with growth in the area, not simply supplanting previous county spending;
  • Provided recommended changes to the Odenton Town Center Master Plan to the Anne Arundel County Office of Planning & Zoning to clarify the plan’s requirements and to minimize the number of developments requiring modification for acceptance.

In 2015, the WAACCC will:

  • Continue to push for successful construction of the transit-oriented development at the Odenton MARC Station;
  • Work with Anne Arundel County to identify projects to be funded through the Odenton Town Center Development District;
  • Evaluate proposed changes to the Odenton Town Center Master Plan to ensure they are consistent with successful development practices and market conditions;
  • Seek additional transportation funding for both roads and transit in support of the continued growth at Fort Meade, Arundel Mills, Odenton and Gambrills;
  • Support reduction or repeal of the stormwater fee imposed in Anne Arundel County.

Promote

Promoting member businesses is one of the most important things we do. In addition to listings on our web site and in our “Relocation Guide & Business Directory,” we offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities, community expos and ribbon cuttings. We also receive many calls and e-mails looking for referrals, and we only refer chamber members. This year’s highlights included:

  • Launching the first West County Restaurant Week, which garnered significant media coverage and increased customers for our participating restaurants;
  • Hosting our first Small Business Saturday Passport Program to encourage residents to “Shop Small” and patronize locally-owned businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving;
  • Publishing the “West County Chamber Business Directory & Relocation Guide,” and inclusion of business listings in the September edition of What’s Up West County magazine.
  • Providing more than 3 million web-based referrals to member businesses through the chamber web site, with top categories including restaurants, banking services, nonprofits, real estate developers and information technology services. This represents a 50% increase from the prior year.
  • Showcasing local restaurants at the annual Taste West County at Maryland Live! Casino.
  • Partnering with Greenberg Gibbons to expand the Annual Back-to-School Fair at the Village at Waugh Chapel, which offers the opportunity for local schools to reconnect with students before the start of the school year and for chamber members to promote their services to families.
  • Offering more than 100 sponsorship opportunities annually to suit any size business, ranging from providing breakfast for our membership orientation to hosting an event at your place of business to becoming a Platinum Corporate Trustee.

In 2015, we will:

  • Expand West County Restaurant Week to include more restaurants, with increased promotional efforts to include postcards listing participating restaurants.
  • Expand the Small Business Saturday Passport Program to include more local businesses and encourage greater customer participation.

Inform

Things are changing fast in West Anne Arundel County, and keeping our members informed about the latest trends and opportunities is one of our major roles. From growth at Fort Meade and the U.S. CyberCommand to the development of the Odenton Town Center, we’ve got the information you need to plan for your business — and we share it with our members. In the past year we have:

  • Held monthly Box Talks to educate members about effective business practices.
  • Presented information regarding the development of the Odenton Town Center to community groups, business organizations and county leaders.
  • Kept our members informed about legislation that could affect their businesses.
  • Partnered with the Anne Arundel Council of Chambers to host a reception for Anne Arundel’s new county executive and members of the county council.
  • Hosted the 2nd Annual State of the County Address with area business organizations and a debate between the candidates for county executive with the Anne Arundel Council of Chambers.
  • Kept our members up-to-date on area development and opportunities through breakfasts, forums and articles.

In 2015, we will:

  • Host entertaining economist Anirban Basu for a joint lunch with the Northern Anne Arundel Chamber and possibly another event with Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall.
  • Reintroduce Tuesday Topics breakfasts with topics such as regional growth, transportation plans, economic impact of government spending and Odenton Town Center plans.
  • Co-host an Army Birthday Luncheon at Fort Meade with our colleagues from the Fort Meade Community Covenant Council.

Continue to spread the message about the business opportunities associated with area growth.

Connect

When people think of chambers of commerce, they think of making connections; and the WAACCC is no exception. Helping you find new business opportunities through networking events, committee involvement and community interaction is a critical part of our mission. This year we have:

  • Offered monthly mixers around the area to allow our members to build relationships with fellow chamber members in a relaxed environment and provide an opportunity for our hosts to showcase their business.
  • Continued to engage in activities on Fort Meade through our Military Affairs Committee and Fort Meade Community Covenant Council that introduce our business community to personnel and families at Fort Meade, including Armed Forces Field Day, the 4th of July Celebration, National Night Out, Family Fun Fair and the Army-Navy Flag Football Tailgate, which this year attracted more than 600 people (mostly military families).
  • Offered a session on “How to Promote Your Business at Fort Meade,” to be repeated this March.
  • With the help of many chamber members, signed 70 new members in a single day, providing additional referral opportunities for our members.
  • Provided personal introductions by request to help chamber members meet other members with whom they would like to do business.

In 2015, we plan to:

  • Start a 40 Under 40 program to groom future business and community leaders.
  • Grow our Diversity Committee to provide support to minority-owned businesses.
  • Build new leads groups around area interests, with an educational component to supplement referral generation.

We look forward to helping you continue to grow your business. If you have an idea for a service that would be beneficial to you, please contact us.