Montrose chamber announces plans to close

The Montrose Chamber of Commerce has announced plans to soon close, bringing an end to an organization that’s operated for 130 years.

The chamber announced in a news release it will close May 24. Members will receive a refund for any unused portion of their annual membership by the end of May unless they direct their dues to be donated to the 970Studio or Montrose U programs.

According to the news release, the chamber board of directors voted unanimously to end operations based on a number of challenges:

The dissolution of the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism in 2013 and its supporting revenue structure, leading to a dramatic reduction in revenue the chamber was never able to replace with a membership model.

A succession of four executive directors in four years and shifting priorities that made it difficult to increase the chamber membership base.

Difficulty retaining necessary talent at the staff and board level to sustain a successful organization.

Chamber membership has declined nationwide, board members said, because business owners can network on LinkedIn and Facebook and choose from thousands of educational opportunities online.

According to the news release, board members said they hope the mission of the chamber continues in other community organizations, businesses and nonprofits. They said they plan to continue the  970Studio and Montrose U,  although the organization of these programs will change as the chamber disbands.

The 970Studio gives high school students business mentorship and gives businesses access to marketing services. The Montrose U Leadership Class is designed to develop community leaders through a nine-month course.

Board members also praised Juliet Carr, who took over as executive director of the Montrose chamber in 2018.

“I loved being a part of bringing back the Montrose U Leadership Class to our community the last two years. The engagement of those participants has been one of the best parts of coming back to work for the chamber,” Carr stated in the news release. “I have also really enjoyed working with the student interns at 970Studio and connecting those students to the businesses and organizations that need their expertise.”