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Chamber of commerce drive seeks new members

by Susie Vasquez

Dressed in a red zoot suit, Jimmy Cusano led the cheers at the Eagles Lodge on Wednesday as business people hunkered over their phones soliciting for a Carson City Chamber of Commerce membership drive.

Volunteers work in shifts and are under the gun for a couple of hours during this three-day effort, which ends today at 3:07 p.m. The Chamber’s goal is 200 new members and by Wednesday afternoon, they’d gathered more than 140.

“We need to increase community awareness of the Chamber. The community needs to increase its business strength, especially now,” said Tom Jones, owner of Carson City Florist. “I’ll always be a member. It helps business so much. It’s a good thing. It really is.”

“The chamber is a great place to meet with other businesses,” said Bill Fergus of Irwin Union Bank. “We have a great lobby that works on education, transportation and government affairs affecting business and it’s usually the first contact for new businesses that want to move here. As a banker, I want to be part of that.”

Cusano, who’s employed by a company called Your Chamber Connection, works to bolster Chamber memberships nationwide. He lauded Carson City’s chamber.

Its Web site, which lists every member free of charge, receives about 10,000 hits a month, providing the type of community connection that has become increasingly important following the Sept. 11 tragedy, he said.

“People are going back to what worked in the good old days. Those being seen are chosen,” he said. “The chamber is about business people coming together and getting things done. Carson City’s chamber has an excellent reputation – the best in the state.”

The Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1945 and represents more than 1,100 members in the business, professional and manufacturing sector.

Make that more than 1,200. Maybe more than 1,300.

Contact Suzie Vasquez at svasquez@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.