Sadly, this week the Quirindi Chamber of Commerce Industry and Tourism declared it is in suspension, with all financials to be locked into a holding account from September 30.
Although letters and reminders of Monday nights General Meeting were sent to members, the meeting hosted only eight participants including the Executive members.
The Chamber has been forced into suspension due to a lack of Executive members meaning it can no longer operate according to its constitution.
Second Vice President Sarah Winston-Smith see’s the Chambers suspension as a blow to the business community.
“I am a supporter of enhancing our very important locals businesses, however, the Chamber does not have enough people on the Executive to have a corum and we have suspend it to retain the funds, website, contact information and all the hard work done by previous Chamber Executives.”
Derek Tink who was present at Monday nights meeting as a representative of the NSW Business Chamber said Chambers in smaller towns go through cycles of growth and decline.
“Gunnedah Chamber disbanded 7 years ago is now reforming, Moree is reforming after suspension, there are no set trends across Chambers it depends upon the members of the business community and the time they have to volunteer to keep their local Chambers going.”
The suspension means the Local Business Awards and Christmas in Quirindi; normally hosted by the Chamber can no loner be run.
“The biannual Business Awards have been a gala event, where people running and employed in our local businesses are rewarded and acknowledged for all they give to the local community. It is devastating that we are unable to host this years event due to not having enough Executive members,” said Chamber Treasurer Kerry Challenger.
The Chamber Executive has made repeated requests for people to join the Executive over the past 8 months.
“As well as sending letters and emails of request, we have been personally asking business people around the town to join the Chamber Executive, however, feedback has been that they are struggling to keep their own businesses afloat and they don’t have the time to spare away from their own business,” continued Kerry Challenger.
“Long standing business houses have had their turn on the Executive and have given it their all in the past, it is disheartening for the Chamber to head into suspension, especially when we all need business interaction and professional ideas to inspire and keep local business expanding,” said Sarah Winston-Smith.
The Quirindi Chamber has not sent out any letters for membership renewal for its 109 current members.
“We have elected to pay our membership to the NSW State Business Chambers so that our existing members will have access to information and resources offered by the NSW Chamber for the next 12 months,” said Sarah.
Local business owner and previous member of the Quirindi Chamber Executive, Lorraine Reilly who attended Monday nights meeting acknowledged times in retail were tough for local businesses.
“It is sad the Chamber is no longer operating as it is an important part of local business networking and business growth. Times are tough at the moment for business and it is a shame to lose the opportunity to showcase our businesses and build on ideas from one another.”
The Chamber has elected to hold their Annual General Meeting on Monday September 16, and all interested members of the Chamber are encouraged to attend.
“We have accounted funds for any outstanding Shop Locally Vouchers, however, once the financials are closed on September 30 the money is locked away and Shop Locally Vouchers can no longer be offered by the Chamber. This is another blow for local businesses,” said Kerry.
A Special Resolution can be called to reform the Chamber, however, it requires a full Executive to do so.