New chamber’s board leader will work with other chambers


A new Huntersville Chamber of Commerce is forming, with former Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain at the helm of the organization. How political it is is anybody’s guess, but board members include former Town Commissioner Jeff Neely.

The new chamber, a registered non-profit, comes out of the Huntersville Connection, a roundtable group organized for area destinations and venues.



Asked if she will run again for public office, Swain said: “I just don’t know how that applies to this at all. You need to know that giving back is something I believe in. That is what is important overall.”

In addition to Swain and Neely, board members include Raquel Crespo, assistant general manager of Birkdale Village.

Swain directed that Crespo respond to Business Today’s questions “because she is president of the Huntersville Connection Board.” Crespo responded in very general terms.

Q: What is the purpose of the new chamber?

RC: The purpose of the new Chamber is to continue the trajectory of Huntersville Connection. In the past eight years, Huntersville Connection has been meeting monthly with small business owners and other entities with the objective of developing relationships and partnerships. We have focused on a sense of community, creative marketing efforts and exposure to what this area has to offer. Rotating our meeting locations has been great for keeping our participants informed.

Q: Do you have a ‘critical mass’ in mind for this year? 

RC: Our goals for membership are simple at this point: We want to transition slowly while we maintain the foundation we have. We made sure to stress to our surrounding Chamber leaders that our intent is to work together. We believe strong Chambers indicate a strong economic environment.

Q: What will dues be like? 

RC: Our Board of Directors is finalizing the dues structure, but our objective is to have a cost-effective structure that will be amenable to small businesses and a good investment to larger corporate entities. We want to be able to provide our members with services, exposure and assistance.

Q: Is your target market retail, or venue-driven, or B2B or a combination of the three?

RC: Because we have been successful with a mix of entities, we will continue to grow in that direction. There is a value to businesses learning from other entities about best (and worst) practices. And there are so many partnership opportunities when there is a large variety of business entities.

Q: What role will advocacy play in the new chamber’s mission?

RC: The Huntersville Chamber has been and will continue to be an advocate for business. What we have found is that information and access to resources are the best weapons for business in future planning.


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