Many people ask what the Chamber does and honestly after working for the Chamber this past year, I’m wondering what the Chamber doesn’t do?
The Chamber is a membership based non-profit organization with a mission to engage in projects and activities that have a positive economic impact on the community and / or serve the members of the Chamber. In addition to running the day to day operations of the Chamber, we have a contract with the City to operate the Visitor Center. Our overall focus is to promote Llano, not only as a wonderful community to live but also as a relaxing destination in the hill country to get away from this fast-paced world. Llano is a place where you can shop, dine, play, experience art and history, and listen to incredible live music, in addition to a place where you can lay your weary head at the end of the day. Llano is also home to amazing attractions and events that lure thousands of people to town annually.
The Chamber and Visitor Center keep an up to date Calendar of Events, in the office and on our website. In the past year, we’ve advertised in Texas Monthly, True West Magazine, Austin American Statesman’s “Get Outta Town – Llano “ travel guide, Lakes and Hills, Hill Country Current, Texas Hill Country Magazine, The Llano News, Llano County Journal, 101 Fun Things To Do, Austin’s Real Magazine, Yellow Jackets’ Football Program, EMS Calendar, Football Schedule Poster, Texas Events Calendar, LCRA Calendar, Llano County Map, Victory Publishing, Texas Trails, Llano County Rodeo Program and hand held fans, San Angelo Standard Times and we had a remote broadcast with KITY Radio during Hunter’s Appreciation.
Google Analytics tracks the visits on our website. During the past year, 37,590 visitors have used our website to learn more about Llano and the businesses we have in town. This is 17,868 more visitors than viewed our old website the year before. In the past year, over 7,200 people stopped by the Visitor Center and we received over 2,500 phone inquires and thousands of e-mails.
On behalf of the Chamber and Visitor Center, I attended the Texas Travel and Trade Industry’s Annual Summit in San Antonio and Texas Travel Fair in Waco; the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Conference and Trade Show in San Antonio and Chamber Basics Workshop in Austin; the Texas State Fair in Dallas; as well as a number of workshops and forums relating to Membership Retention, Cost Effective Ways to Advertise, E-Marketing, Best Business and Customer Service Practices and Economic Development. I also arranged for Business Advisors from the Texas State Small Development Center to provide FREE consultation services to our area businesses.
The Marquee on the Courthouse Square has kept us busy promoting events, advertising for local businesses and welcoming new Chamber members. Other services have included Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies, Chamber Luncheons, Business Mixers, faxing, copying and selling tickets for the monthly Opry shows, the Wildgame Dinner, various church luncheons, Chuck Wagon meal tickets. In addition, we’ve been asked to sell fundraising tickets and merchandise for various groups, clubs and organizations in town. We have the task of showing and booking the Community Center and booking events for the new Llano Events Center. We gladly accepted “Coats for Kids” donations as well as donations for soldiers and donations for victims of the wildfires.
Oh yes, as far as the events in town, some people tell us the Chamber should host more events, however, each local event already has a group of volunteers and / or a Board that work hard to produce their event. We feel it is our responsibility to advertise and promote the events and assist with each event as needed or request by the coordinators. The Chamber accepts applications for the City Wide Garage Sales; host the Chamber Banquet where we announce Hall of Fame, Citizen and Educators of the Year; collect fees and distribute maps and signs for @LAST; provide sponsorship money, print programs and work a table for Fiddle Fest Contest; work a booth for the Crawfish Open; provide sponsorship money and dispense food for “Taste of Llano” as well as make copies and provide bags and Llano tourist information packets for the Bluebell Bluegrass Classic Car Show; sponsor the Rodeo Parade; work a concession booth for Rock ‘N River Fest; sponsor refreshments for the Gliders at the Airport; host our only fundraising event (Casino Night); sell meal tickets and work a booth during Heritage Day / Chuck Wagon Cook-off; provide sound equipment and pumpkin-carving judges for the Monster Mash Street Bash; host local vendors and distribute hundreds of goodie bags during Hunter’s Appreciation; in addition to publicizing local events and live music offered around town. We have a volunteer Board of Directors, one full time and two part time employees who take on all these tasks to help promote Llano.
Please feel free to stop by the Visitor Center or visit our website to find out what is happening around town. Visit us at llanochamber.org