New year, new focus for Wilton Chamber of Commerce

It’s a new year, and there’s a new focus at the Wilton Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber, with about 200 member businesses, is dedicating the year to promoting businesses in town in such ways as increasing the presence on social media, said Debra Hanson, executive director.

“Our new directive and focus for 2017 will be to concentrate on and increase our efforts to promote and market member businesses. We have increased our presence on social media and will make regular postings to promote all types of member businesses and services in addition to announcing their updates, news, awards, and special offerings during the year,” Hanson said.

The Chamber will work to build its social network with likes and shares, and it will ask members to be more active with this as well.

“Our goal is to always add some value for our members,” said Tom Sato, president of the Chamber and owner of Wilton Hardware, downtown.

Stores downtown get attention because they are in the center of things, but the Chamber wants to help bring more customers to all businesses, even the home-based ones, Sato said.

“We want to get more people to our storefronts and businesses,” Sato said. “And with our new world of social media, help generate traffic for them. Hopefully it works. We try to stay up with the times and generate anything we can.”

In Sato’s case, he competes on two fronts, against big box hardware retailers like Home Depot, and against the Internet, where customers may want to shop for a better price on an item like a drill. But his speciality is meeting immediate needs, for people who are actively engaged in home improvement projects.

“If you are in the middle of working on your sink, you are not going to wait a few days for delivery from the Internet,” Sato said, explaining how his business keeps an edge despite the competition.

But every business is different. A clothing store, for example, is dealing with a different set of competitive forces.

The Wilton Chamber of Commerce’s statement of purpose is to help all businesses grow, Hanson said.

“Our statement of purpose is to help member businesses prosper and grow through many avenues and activities such as producing community and special events that bring customers into our town and allow members to showcase their businesses, referrals, opportunities to network at many events, educational seminars, and more,” Hanson said.

“We will continue to work closely, also, with the local press to gain exposure for our members,” she said.

The Chamber is also constructing a new website that will be more interactive and user-friendly, said Hanson, who added it is scheduled for launch in early February.