Chamber of Commerce ‘reinvigorated’ for business in Carson City

Melanie Thomas (left), incoming chair of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, and Stacy Woodbury, outgoing chair, in front of a mural on the side of the chamber’s offices in Carson City on June 3, 2024.

Melanie Thomas (left), incoming chair of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, and Stacy Woodbury, outgoing chair, in front of a mural on the side of the chamber’s offices in Carson City on June 3, 2024.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Both past and future leadership at the Carson City Chamber of Commerce are fired up about the state of business in the capital city in the post-pandemic era.

In attending a multitude of business events while serving as chair of the chamber’s board of directors, Carson resident Stacy Woodbury said, “That to me is just a testament that the economy is really recovering in Carson, when we’ve had so many of those events in the last year.”

“It got pretty quiet there for a bit,” said incoming board chair Melanie Thomas, referring to the shutdown of activities in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But last year saw a resurgence of business events and ribbon cuttings, the duo said during a June 3 interview. Woodbury, 56, manager/public affairs for Southwest Gas, is handing the proverbial gavel to Thomas this month. Thomas, 51, is field operations coordinator for United Federal Credit Union.

The annual transition in chamber leadership arrives with some positive economic figures from the state. The latest report from the Nevada Department of Taxation puts total taxable sales in Carson City for fiscal year to date — from July of last year through March of this year — at $1.26 billion, an 11.1 percent increase from the same period last year.

Woodbury and Thomas discussed the role of the chamber and the future of business in the city.

“I think our chamber is a little bit different than one you might find in a really big city,” said Woodbury. “Like the Vegas chamber and the Reno/Sparks chamber are a lot of advocacy-oriented kind of activities, even more legislatively so. I think that our chamber is different because we are really, truly focused on the business community and on promoting Carson City as not just a destination, but a place to come and live and establish a business and prosper.

“I really see our business community as being inclusive of all kinds of different opportunities for people, and I think that the chamber is really focused here on making those businesses come together and work as a community.”

“I feel like the business community is ultra-supportive of each other, and the chamber kind of facilitates that,” said Thomas.

Woodbury described the COVID years as tough due to restrictions on physical meetings. She called the last year and a half, however, “a reinvigoration of the chamber.”

“This year, another thing I think that helped with our members, we were able to start offering an insurance option for small businesses,” she said.

More information about the chamber’s association health plan through Hometown Health is online:

“They are signing up, especially on the service industry side,” Woodbury said.

She and Thomas also touched on challenges in the business community. The unemployment rate in the city was 4.6 percent in April of this year and has remained near or under 5 percent since 2022. But the rate peaked at 21.2 percent in April 2020 when the pandemic hit, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Woodbury and Thomas worried about lingering effects from the pandemic on the workforce.

“One thing we talk about a lot is the job force and having workers,” said Thomas. “That still seems to be an issue for a lot of our businesses here.”

“It’s being able to recruit and once they recruit, being able to retain people,” said Woodbury, adding there’s a lack of skilled workers for certain trades.

Fortunately, the chamber has several nonprofit members and works closely with local educators in the development of workforce skills, the duo pointed out. It’s no coincidence Carson City School District Superintendent Andrew Feuling and Western Nevada College President Kyle Dalpe are among the directors of the chamber board.

“With their attendance at our board meetings and our other events, they’re able to interact with employers, and they have done a really great job at listening to employers about what training do you need for people for your businesses,” Woodbury said, noting local programs in manufacturing, commercial driving, construction management and welding.

Both women maintained chamber membership is worth it for businesses. According to Ronni Hannaman, executive director, the chamber has around 600 members. The annual cost for standard membership is $275 a year, and Hannaman said the chamber hasn’t changed the fee structure since 2007.

For information, visit


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment