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Engagement & Opportunity key River Region Chamber of Commerce efforts in 2019

LAPLACE — Stacey Scott loves seeing surprised expressions when she drops in on local businesses on behalf of the River Region Chamber of Commerce.

Scott explains her position as membership engagement coordinator, a new push by the Chamber to connect individually with member businesses and remind them of benefits at their fingertips.

Membership engagement has yielded impressive results and set the stage for a successful 2019, according to Scott.

“I’m looking to reopen the doors of the Chamber with an overflow of new members,” Scott said. “The buzz is out. I’m getting calls from people I’ve never heard from before.”

When Scott visited St. John Physical Therapy in LaPlace, she learned the business was hiring and reminded staff to submit a job posting to riverregionchamber.org. Within a day, the posting was online and accessible to a vast network of members.

Rebecca Norris, on top the truck, looks over Chassity McComack, from left, Stacey Scott and Robert Tamplain during a Chamber community event.

On a separate visit to Maison Décor in Boutte, Scott discovered a store full of hidden treasures and helped the owner post nine “hot deals” to the chamber website.

“This is a new position that is very much needed and very much necessary,” Scott said. “Sometimes people change positions, things get a little shuffled and you forget all the benefits that come with your membership.”

Chamber ambassadors help the effort by facilitating face-to-face interaction with member businesses and introducing Chamber benefits, which include discounts, business counseling, educational workshops, networking and advertising opportunities.

New ambassadors for 2019 Ali Vicknair, Dayna James and Robert Tamplain were at the Chamber office for a Valentine’s event Thursday, where they greeted business owners and presented information about joining the Chamber.

Refreshments and promotional giveaways from member businesses were also offered.

Vicknair, representing Advanced Marketing & Promotions and PJ’s Coffee of LaPlace, compared a chamber of commerce to a network of salespeople working for a common good.

Ali Vicknair and Robert Tamplain, back, stand behind Dayna James and Stacey Scott at the River Region Chamber of Commerce office in LaPlace.

“The more the Chamber grows, the more other businesses in this parish will grow,” Vicknair said. “We’re used as the faces around the parish to help sustaining businesses gain clientele and draw in newcomers to the best kept secrets of St. John. That face-to-face interaction is key to turning potential business into closed sales.”

Tamplain, outside sales manager for Bayou Ford, said his new role as an ambassador is the same as his daily work responsibilities. A native of St. John Parish, Tamplain is active in community organizations including Rotary Club of LaPlace and the St. John Parish Business Association.

“I’m very involved, engaged, embedded in every organization I belong to, so becoming an ambassador seemed like a perfect fit,” Tamplain said. “The business leads you meet through the Chamber are quality leads. You’re meeting the movers and shakers of other businesses.”

Tamplain and James, one of the founding ladies behind United Front Transportation Services, said community engagement has introduced them to a wide array of new faces.

“I’m born and raised in St. John Parish, and I’m meeting people I never would’ve met if I wouldn’t have joined the Chamber,” James said.

James, who was also recently named a River Region Chamber of Commerce board member, said the community should take note of scholarships and other opportunities for high school seniors offered by Chamber member businesses.

Also new for 2019 are board members Diane Jackson with The Slone Group, Eric Brown with Valero, Rene Ockman with IMTT and Scott Burton with Cox Communications.