“A ship in the harbor is safe but that’s not what ships were built for, and neither was your business,” said chamber executive director Melissa James, who was speaking Thursday night at St. Paul Convocation Center during the chamber’s annual banquet.
She encouraged chamber members to give it their all, as if they were in a nautical race.
“No one ever raced for second place,” James said. “Like Dale Earnhardt said, ’Second place just means that you’re the first loser.’ You aren’t here to be second place. You’re here to win. And the Chamber is here to be your first mate.”
She then had a few chamber members share their experiences of how the chamber has been “more than a plaque.”
Trevor Rood, owner of Foghorn Designs shared his experience of unexpectedly needing to relocate his business in a matter of two days.
“Sometimes you’re asked, ’Well, what’s the benefit of being a chamber member?’” Roods said. “You can go to the website and on there you can click on ’benefits’ and scroll through all of the benefits. But I think there is one benefit at least that is listed there.”
“We had two days to find a new location, (something) we weren’t planning on and we had to keep going. We still had jobs and couldn’t miss a beat,” Rood said. “Melissa called and (helped me find a new location). ... Melissa and everyone in the chamber were making calls. I didn’t have time and they took care of us. I couldn’t have done it without the help of the Chamber. That benefit is the their care, the quality of help that they give.”
The keynote speaker, Captain Jake Burgy, kept to the theme and motivated the more than 200 in attendance to make a difference not only in their business, but their community.
“Most of us, I think, take waves more than we make them,” Burgy said. “You must take your skills and make waves both with your dreams and your community assets.”