Monday, September 21, 2009

Woodstock Chamber Postpones Expo

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce has postponed its business expo that had been scheduled for October 17-18. The announcement was made by Interim Executive Director Tom Sagendorf and is posted on the Chamber's homepage at

"As the new, Interim Director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it is my responsibility to insure that any event or publication in which we ask our membership to make an investment meets or exceeds their expectations, their return on investment. Based on the slow pace of reservations to date for the Woodstock Business EXPO exhibitor booths, I, in agreement with the Board President and Executive Committee, have decided to postpone this event which was scheduled for October 17 & 18. As this was to be the first major chamber event under my watch, I take this action very reluctantly and with no small amount of regret.

"However, I do commit to our membership that when new dates are established for the Business Expo, we will focus all our resources and efforts to plan for and host an event the likes of which we have never seen before. Tall words for sure, but I am confident that everyone involved will make it a roaring success for the Woodstock business community as well as the Woodstock residents. You deserve our best."

The business and professional tone of Tom's letter bodes well for the Woodstock business community. Tom is serving as a volunteer in his position as Interim Executive Director, giving the Board of Directors a little breathing room to continue its search for a full-time, paid Executive Director. Tom's business and management expertise is very much appreciated at a time when it is needed the most.

The Chamber's financial peril was brought to the attention of the full membership and the public recently, when the Board, before knowing of Tom, revealed its perilous financial condition. What happened was that prior Boards had continued to endanger the security of the Chamber's own headquarters on the Square by refinancing the mortgage six times in 22 years.

The original mortgage (or purchase price?) in 1987 was $87,500. The current mortgage is $188,000!!! How or why the Boards through the years continued the high-risk financial impairment of the Chamber-owned building is beyond me. How they kept it secret (or at least out of view) is beyond me. Why members did not insist on transparency in disclosure of the true financial position of the Chamber is beyond me.

The current Board has put a stop to that runaway train. Certainly, the lack of further re-financing had a lot to do with it. When you are maxed out on your credit, then you have nowhere else to turn.

Now is the time for the entire business community to gamble, if you will, one last time. Roll your dice (join and pay your dues). Support the Chamber financially. And get involved.

Tom's business experience can lead this chamber out of the woods. I have been a member of four chambers (not including my one year with this Chamber about three years ago) and have worked for four Chambers (and I never want to work for another one). The Woodstock Chamber is indeed fortunate to have Tom's leadership at this time.

Tom was retired and was looking for a volunteer opportunity. Let's make it enjoyable for him and help him return to retirement and different volunteer work that won't be a full-time, but unpaid, job.

Thanks for all you are doing, Tom.

1 comment:

The Madd Bulldog said...

DirtyGus- you order-up a booth at the Expo? Ya know- a "Gus Philpott for Sheriff" table where you can hand out all sorts of chochkies (sp?). If ya even got a temp liquor license to sell beer, I may even attend... you can then meet me- Im the big smelly fat guy who's wider than he is tall. DOH!