To all of you who were with us to celebrate 65 years at Chaparral Suites Hotel on May 11, thank you. To those who could not make it to the gala event, thank you too! All of our members are the heart of the Chamber.
These have been challenging times for Arizona businesses, but I am beginning to sense a new optimism in the air. There are new realities, to be certain, but there is also a sense that things are starting to improve. We had a strong tourism season and our hotels and restaurants are starting to report that they are beating last year’s numbers. Small business people, hardest hit as the recession has worn on, are beginning to smile again. Projects long put on hold are starting to come forward again. Banks are lending, and confidence is growing.
What does this mean for a chamber that has struggled along with the business community it serves? It means that we are looking for new and greater value, new and better ways to communicate to our members and new and better results for our members in the years ahead. It is budget time at the Chamber, always challenging and often sobering, but we are beginning to feel the optimism growing here as well.
This year, we added more than a dozen new partnerships designed to save our members money or give them skills they need to succeed. We have built discount programs, new learning opportunities and have partnered with more organizations for events and programs than ever before. We have relied on synergy, just as businesses rely on us to help them take advantage of the synergies around them.