Chamber works to revitalise Traralgon

The Traralgon Chamber of Commerce is reinventing itself after experiencing a massive drop in membership over the last five or eight years.

Traralgon Chamber of Commerce president Luke Henderson is leading the way to reinvent the local business network after experiencing a massive drop in membership over the last five or eight years. photograph cher jimenez

Traralgon Chamber of Commerce president Luke Henderson is leading the way to reinvent the local business network after experiencing a massive drop in membership over the last five or eight years. photograph cher jimenez

Chamber president Luke Henderson said the network was climbing back to relevance to recover lost membership and attract local traders to join.

"We're seeing the Traralgon tribulations of the chamber," Mr Henderson told The Express.

From 140 members during the chamber's peak five or eight years ago, membership dropped to just 47 last year, according to Mr Henderson.

He said membership had climbed to 65 following a breakfast meeting organised by the Victorian Small Business was held in Traralgon.

"We've had some natural drop offs, probably the chamber's not being as active or as relevant as they were previously, [we're] working very hard now to try to ensure that all our members have some real benefits by being part of the network," he said.

Mr Henderson understood traders wanted value for their money.

"We know that we need to be better at engaging people," he said.

To that end, the chamber offered members the Latrobe City Gift Card that enables transactional-based businesses to have connection with more than 100 shops across the Valley.

Mr Henderson said the chamber has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce to give members automatic membership into their state counterpart and access to training sessions.

He said the chamber ran huge events such as the Traralgon Summer Nights Festival and other sporting events "to make sure that Traralgon is a destination town for all events to attract more people into our area".

Mr Henderson said a very active committee was campaigning with large sporting groups to get them into holding their events in the town.

"We have an action-based committee now and that's one of the biggest changes that we wanted," he said.

He said the advent of online business, "the ones you can't see and feel," was a huge challenge for local traders.

"They're the ones that people walk into and ask for support for local events, they're the ones sponsoring local sports [and] local groups and what we hope back in return is that people asking for that support will then support us back."

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