(Atlantic) Six months after unveiling a three to five year Strategic Plan, the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce is ready to launch their first project mid-June.
“One of our top priorities is to increase Local Option Sales Tax receipts because our membership has told us repeatedly that there is a need for more shop local education to ensure success for their businesses,” Chamber President Chip Hansen said.
The Chamber’s plan states they will spur an increase in local option sales tax receipts by 20 percent in the next five years through strategic marketing. Executive Director Megan Roberts said the goals associated with the new priority include developing a local branding concept for general maketing of the community, updating the AtlanticIowa.com website and developing key relationships between partners for the campaign.
“The last time the Chamber took this on was in 2005-2006 with the +5 Grow Atlantic Campaign, and it is again a piece of the plan for growing local sales,” Roberts said.
According to the Iowa Department of Revenue payment history records, receipts have nearly doubled since the tax was adopted in 2001. A proven success, the previous +5 Campaign showed receipts were up nearly $100,000 during and after the campaign versus the more common $11,000-$20,000 annual increase in years prior.
Roberts stressed the importance of reinvesting in promotion to continue the trend. The City of Atlantic Community Promotion Commission currently receives 7 percent of the receipts to use for “external marketing.” Supported projects have included beautification efforts, holiday lighting and marketing, tourism marketing and events such as Little League, Coca-Cola Days & Museum and the Spring Garden Seminar that bring visitors to town.
“Because the greater Atlantic area doesn’t have a marketing arm or convention and visitors bureau, the task of marketing the area tends to fall to the chamber and tourism groups,” Hansen said. “The Promotion Commission is a partnership of these entities and truly serves our community and businesses.”
Other than the Community Promotion Fund, LOST funds are allocated through a city resolution stating 25 percent to Recreation Center Fund, 40 percent to Capital Improvement Streets, 28 percent to Sales Tax Progress Fund including Industrial Development, Housing Development, Commercial Development, Sidewalks/Pathways and Bull Creek Storm Sewers.
Hansen said the increase in LOST receipts benefits many groups including local businesses. He also said the other three Chamber priorities being tackled include increasing membership, volunteerism and legislative awareness.
“We took a look at what our members were asking of us and the focus and direction of the Chamber, and set priorities based on what they want to see for the Atlantic Area,” Hansen said.
June 12, 2013