What does a chamber of commerce do?

Chamber of Commerce groups generally fall into two categories: 3C chambers and 3P chambers. Three C chambers are catalysts, conveners, and champions; meanwhile, three P chambers focus their efforts on parades, pageants, & parties.

While all chambers are different in focus, one common thread of successful chambers is that they continue to step up to the greatest challenges in our communities. We have no shortage of challenges – even with 1.7% unemployment (or perhaps in part due to 1.7% unemployment). Vail Valley Partnership’s (VVP) board recognizes the need to tackle issues that prevent business growth, including issues related to workforce housing, transportation and transit, workforce development, and broadband access. We’re working hard to be a 3C chamber.

Some background on chambers: in most countries, the use of the term “chamber of commerce” is regulated by statute, though this is not the case in the Unites States. Only trademark, copyright and domain name rules protect a chamber’s identity – only state corporation law defines their existence and reason for being. While most chambers work closely with government, they are not part of government although many consider the process of appropriately influencing public policy to recognize the needs of business to be one of their most important functions.

We’re fortunate in Eagle County to have numerous chamber of commerce groups actively working to benefit our business community. Vail Valley Partnership serves a regional role and actively advocates for good public policy on a regional & state level, while the Gypsum, Eagle, and Vail Chambers each provide benefits at a more localized level.

Like the old saying – if you’ve seen one local chamber, you’ve seen one chamber. Each group works hard to provide value to their members in different ways. It is safe to say that our valley’s chamber groups share a common belief that a strong business community is necessary to our continued success, and that our quality of life in Eagle County is driven by our businesses. Our missions, programs, events, and focus areas might vary to best serve our constituents, but our support for our businesses is consistent and steadfast.

The Partnership’s efforts in the community include three distinct yet connected roles:

  • Regional Chamber of Commerce- We work to provide the valley’s businesses with networking, educational, and collaborative opportunities with the goal of strengthening our local business community and to advocate for our business community at a regional & state level.
  • Destination Sales & Marketing- We work to promote the entire Vail Valley as a year-round destination to potential in-state, out-of-state and international visitors. We work to attract groups and meetings from all over the country to the Vail Valley.
  • Economic Growth & Advocacy- We work to ensure the Vail Valley’s economic health stays strong for years to come. We work to help existing Vail Valley businesses thrive and recruit new businesses that have the potential to support our local economy.

The question remains: are your chamber groups stepping up to the greatest challenges in your community? In the Vail Valley, collectively, the answer is a resounding yes. Vail Valley Partnership continues to focus on being a 3C chamber, focusing on being a catalyst, convener, and champion for our members and our communities. Never satisfied with good enough, we are striving to be a 6C chamber, adding collaborator, cheerleader, and connector to the list of our efforts.


Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com. Content for this column was pulled from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE)