Representing the fastest growing region of Anne Arundel County, the West County Chamber (WCC) has a strong focus on economic development, legislative advocacy and business promotion.
As the region continues to grow, the Chamber will maintain its focus on ensuring that local businesses and community are prepared for the opportunities coming their way. Guided by the Chamber’s core strategies, following are some of its recent successes and future plans.
The West County Chamber is your advocate at the county, state and federal level. We track legislation affecting your business and work proactively to address those issues for the benefit of our membership.
Working with our partners across the state through the Chamber Action Network (CAN) and the Maryland Chamber’s Legislative Committee, we also collaborate to influence state and regional issues that impact our community. In the past year WCC has accomplished the following.
• Successfully advocated for increased state transportation funding to alleviate congestion related to ongoing growth at Fort Meade.
• Supported changes to Anne Arundel County’s stormwater management fees to provide for increased credits for developer-provided stormwater improvements, capping commercial fees and the phasing in of fees for all payers.
• Become a charter member of the Maryland Competitiveness Coalition, founded by the Maryland Chamber to help strengthen Maryland as a regional, national and global economic leader.
• Worked with the Maryland Chamber to defeat increases in minimum wage, mandatory paid sick leave, sales tax on services and other bills that would hinder the competitiveness of Maryland companies.
• Collaborated with Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation on a retail market study of the Odenton Town Center to determine the impact that surrounding development has had on Odenton’s retail potential.
In 2014, the Chamber Will:
• Continue to advocate for effective investment of transportation resources, less business regulation, quality workforce education programs and fair business taxation that allows Maryland businesses to compete regionally.
• Formalize our advocacy process for county legislative issues and expand our legislative committee to include individuals specifically concerned with county matters.
• Integrate business community concerns regarding the Odenton Town Center Master Plan into a single advocacy document for use in seeking revisions to make it a more functional development tool.
Promoting member businesses is one of the most important things we do, and we love to give referrals. In addition to listings on our web site and in our Relocation Guide & Business Directory, we offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities, community expos and ribbon cuttings. This year’s highlights included the following.
• Doubling distribution of the West County Chamber Business Directory and Relocation Guide, and inclusion of the Chamber Business Listings in the September edition of What’s Up West County magazine.
• Providing more than 2 million web-based referrals to member businesses through the Chamber web site, with the top categories referred including banking services, restaurants, real estate developers, advertising and hotels.
• Transforming the Tour West County into the Tour and Taste West County and relocating it to Maryland Live! Casino’s Rams Head Center Stage, allowing us to showcase local restaurants and caterers in an exciting, well-equipped venue.
In 2014, The Chamber Will Also:
• Sponsor the first West County Restaurant Week to further highlight the many new restaurants — and some longtime favorites — in our area.
• Develop new branding materials in support of the Odenton Town Center to overcome misconceptions.
• Refresh our web site to provide updated information about county growth and vitality.
Things are changing fast in West Anne Arundel County, and keeping our members informed about the latest trends and opportunities is one of our major roles. From growth at Fort Meade and the U.S. Cyber Command to the development of the Odenton Town Center, we’ve got the information you need to plan for your business — and we share it with our members. Over the past year we achieved the following.
• Created a new Odenton Town Center display highlighting projects that are under construction or already completed to overcome misperception that it will never be built.
• Published business “tip sheets” with information about starting, marketing and running a business, available free through the Chamber office.
• Launched a monthly Box Talks series to educate members about effective business practices.
• Kept our members up-to-date on changes at Fort Meade, the opening of each phase of Maryland Live! Casino and the ongoing development of the Odenton Town Center through breakfasts, forums and articles.
In 2014, We Are Working On:
• Developing cyber hints to help members better secure their workplace information systems, to be shared through electronic media and short seminars.
• Expanding the topics available through our Box Talks seminars and Business Resource Center tip sheets.
• Partnering with the Anne Arundel Council of Chambers to present the 2nd Annual State of the County Address and a debate between the candidates for county executive.
When people think of chambers of commerce, they think of making connections, and the West County Chamber is no exception. Helping you find new business opportunities through networking events, committee involvement and community interaction is a critical part of our mission. This year we have done the following.
• Started a new A.M. Connect monthly breakfast mixer for members who prefer to do their networking early in the day.
• Continued to build attendance at our monthly West County Mixer, with events at member businesses such as Flats170 at Academy Yard, Gerber Collision and The Wilmer Eye Institute, as well as local restaurants.
• Provided introductions between businesses to facilitate commerce among members. You just need to let us know whom among our membership you were hoping to meet.
• Chaired the Fort Meade Community Covenant Council through its second year in support of Fort Meade, and welcomed the new garrison commander, Colonel Brian Foley, to our region.
• Continued to engage in activities on Fort Meade through our Military Affairs Committee and Fort Meade Community Covenant Council that introduce our business community to personnel and families at Fort Meade, including Armed Forces Field Day, Fourth of July Celebration, National Night Out and the Army-Navy Flag Football Tailgate Party.
In 2014, we will:
• Build on our existing networking events to ensure we offer our members the connections they need in the places they want to be, and continue to partner with other area organizations to expand our offerings.
• Reestablish the Newcomers and Community Fair at Fort Meade under the auspices of the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee.