Melfort Trade Alliance Chamber AGM allows new director to introduce himself

MTACC photo The Melfort Trade Alliance Chamber of Commerce logo.

The Melfort Trade Alliance Chamber of Commerce is still establishing itself in the community as they hosted their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the Melfort Royal Canadian Legion.

New Executive director and former broadcaster Cal Gratton said he was pleased with the turnout.

“It was nice to see the business community out and supporting the Chamber,” Gratton said. “It was a brief meeting as AGMs usually go. There was great discussion as well.”

Gratton said the chamber’s finances are in fine shape despite the many challenges of recent years. HE said COVID created a “bit of a lull” for the business community, but things are returning to normal, and the new look Chamber is getting back on the ground.

“It’s promising,” he said. “It’s not as well as we would want but we are digging ourselves out of a hole. It’s going to be a good year this year.”

The Chamber currently has roughly 74-75 members, with a few more still to come. Gratton will be hitting the streets over the next couple of weeks to get local business owners to renew their membership.

“There is a lot of interest in the business community about becoming a member of the Chamber, which is great to see,” he said. “I just have to track these businesses down.”

Gratton said the business community itself is thriving both downtown and at the Stonegate shopping area.

“I have been born and raised here, essentially. I have been here all my life pretty much, and (it’s good) to see not only Stonegate really blossoming, but to see the downtown core really blossoming as well. I kind of joked last night that if you didn’t know the downtown core was blossoming just try to get a parking spot downtown at about 4 o’clock on a weekday because it’s very busy. There is a lot of great businesses in town and … downtown as well.”

The MTACC is still establishing itself after being founded as a Trade Alliance to replace the original Chamber of Commerce and eventually becoming a Chamber itself.

“When I was hired I was asked by the board to go out and just kind of drum up memberships in the Chamber and I did that,” Gratton explained. “I was hired Oct. 4 and I hit the streets shortly thereafter and I’m lucky in that I know a lot of the business owners and a lot of the business owners know me. I was able to just talk to them and ask them what the Chamber can do for them as a business owner.”

“We got some great feedback on those conversations we had and I will continue to do that as well into the New Year. There is a lot of businesses in town, to hit one business at a time it does take time to do that,” he explained.

At the meeting itself, Gratton used his Director’s Report to introduce himself to the business community.

Gratton said that these face-to-face meetings are worth it for both the Chamber and the business owner in his experience.

“To get that face to face interaction is really nice,” he said.

Gratton is using his background as a longtime broadcaster to post video updates each week on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

“We are getting a lot of great feedback on those as well and it’s just me doing what I did for 36 years just telling people what’s going on a weekly basis,” he explained.

The meeting included a promotion committee report which outlined events from 2022, membership report and other items.

The guest speaker the CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Prabha Ramaswamy, was unable to attend due to road conditions. She however will record her presentation and the Chamber will make it available as soon as possible.

As a new director, Gratton is finding establishing himself easy because of the community.

“I’m just really proud of the board of directors we have and I’m really proud of the business community,” he said. “I’m really thankful to the City of Melfort for embracing me in this new position. Not only the city itself, the residents, the business community but City Hall as well,” Gratton said.