by Helen Neuharth, President & CEO, Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce
A healthy community is more than just the people who live in it. There needs to be a balance of education, housing, health-care services, city services, communication, public participation and a variety of partnerships with organizations in the community.
In my opinion, Casa Grande is a healthy community. That doesn’t mean every resident is healthy or businesses don’t continue to struggle with the onslaught of consumers buying online, but overall our community has survived many financial fluctuations in the 20th and the 21st centuries.
It is through partnerships, open communication and the support of the business community that Casa Grande continues to remain relevant. Over the years we have been and can continue to be proud of our citizens, our city, county and state elected officials and those employees as well as the many hundreds of volunteers that help support a vast pool of community-based organizations.
Casa Grande’s Growth
I arrived in Casa Grande in August 1991 when the population was less than 18,000 and membership in the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce was hovering around 200. As of the first of 2019, Casa Grande boasts a year-round population of 56,000 and membership in the chamber is more than 480 businesses.
Throughout the past 27½ years, and a population increase of more than 300 percent, the chamber has strived and succeeded in initiating and strengthening partnerships between its businesses, educational institutions, government and workforce. Our excellent chamber leadership has surveyed and listened to chamber members in order to develop programs — marketing and trusted networking services that best meet the needs of the ever-changing landscape of commerce.
The Chamber’s Role
Visitors to the chamber office often ask what a chamber of commerce does. The easy answer is that it provides marketing, networking and informational tools and resources to its members to help them grow their businesses. In other words, we have our finger on the pulse of the community and play an integral part of keeping it healthy.
I would say that’s accurate for chambers, in general, but each chamber evolves with its community and its businesses. For instance, Casa Grande is a growing, progressive community that adapts to change but still retains the ambiance of a small town. Community programs, service organizations, friends, colleagues, events and basically, fun, all blend and make newcomers and longtime residents feel at home.
That’s why, when I retire as President/CEO of the chamber on March 29, 2019, I am staying in Casa Grande. I love it here — so many great memories! And I’m looking forward to an interesting and more relaxing future. The chamber is in excellent hands. Our board of directors always sets the course of action that will benefit the chamber, businesses and the community.
Stay healthy, my friends! I’ll see you around town, but this time I will be participating in some community events instead of organizing them, and as always, I’ll be shopping local.