Some business owners in the Orchard Park industrial area have been feeling frustrated, and the Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce (SWCC) is looking to help turn that feeling around.

Past Chair of the SWCC Hayley Poirier said the SWCC was not aware of this feeling until recently, but now that they are aware, they hope to get involved and help these businesses get the support they feel they need. She said one of the main ways the SWCC can help is with communication to the town.

"We call ourselves a conduit, a conduit from the businesses to the municipality to ensure that the message is getting back to our leaders to ensure that it isn't just one voice coming forward, but several voices coming forward."

Communication plays a big part in how the SWCC hopes to support the industrial area businesses, as some of the concerns are outside of their scope of operations. However, Poirier added that's only one of the ways the SWCC hopes to help, as she mentioned several things like social media promotion, weekly news letters, and running events. On top of that, the SWCC is always open to suggestions from business owners themselves.

"We love fresh new ideas, and that just sparks new ideas for us. If somebody brings forward an event idea that we can get behind and help run, we will. If we don't feel we can run that event we will be there to support it through advertising or other ways."

The frustration felt by these businesses is something the SWCC takes seriously, and Poirier said it's also a sign they need to work harder to address these concerns.

"We've always got room for improvement to help support all of our members and all of our future members as well, including Orchard Park and our other industrial areas."

"The voice is not strong enough yet, we do need to get better at what we're doing as well."

Advertising was a big focus for Poirier and the SWCC, which brought up the long-running conversation of having a big sign placed on Highway 1 to support Orchard Park industrial area businesses.

According to Poirier, it's something both the SWCC and the Town of Strathmore support. However, since it's a sign on the highway it falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Town's immediate control, and there are regulations that must be worked through with the Alberta Government. 

Finally, Poirier said they will lobby and work with any businesses in Strathmore, not just their members. While their goal is to increase their membership and help support businesses that way, the SWCC is happy to hear how they can support businesses throughout the entire community.

"You don't have to become a member. We want to hear the voices of what we call future members."

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