To gather more ideas and a new vision to improve the service the Greater Douglas Chamber of Commerce provides to the business community was the main topic at the Chamber Luncheon meeting for the month of April, which took place at the DUSD facilities on April 19.
Victor Gonzales from the Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation explained to chamber members what they are doing to possibly bring more jobs to Douglas in the future. Francisco Barrios/Douglas Dispatch
But before opening the forum, the chamber presented Victor Gonzales from the Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDC) as guest speaker, who shared information about some of the ongoing projects that will benefit Douglas in economic terms in the future.
Gonzales began by explaining that REDC focuses in several development areas, such as Business Development, Marketing Communications, Strategic Planning and currently the corporation has around 15 different active projects under review to possible bring more jobs to the area.
Then, Gonzales mentioned that speaking about business development, one of the duties of the corporation is to monitor existing businesses to see how they are doing in the area. As an example, he said the corporation is constantly monitoring the work force at the Call Center, who has become the biggest employer in Douglas, with more than 500 employees.
He also spoke about the interest of a company based in San Antonio, Texas who presented a bid for the Safeway building. According to Gonzales, the company has been holding several meetings with the corporation to see the possibility of converting the building into a multi-tenant commercial center to concentrate retail companies.
“It is unlikely we are going to see one user on that building, but it will provide more opportunities for retailers since it will be subdivided,” Gonzales said. “We should know more about this within the following 60 days as we keep working with them.”
He pointed out that the corporation has sent over 200 emails to businesses in the Tucson and Phoenix regions. The corporation decided to focus in Arizona’s businesses that are doing engineering and technology projects that can be manufactured in a border town like Douglas. Those industries involve solar energy, technology, electronics, and others.
As a result, the corporation has done three trips to Tucson and Phoenix and met with five different companies that showed their possible interest in establishing their manufacturing industries either in Douglas and/or Agua Prieta.
Finally, Gonzales said the REDC is open to interested businesses and community members in learn more about what is being done for the area and he said they are more than willing to work closely with local businesses.
Focusing on improving services
The last part of the luncheon was dedicated to discuss the results of a recent survey that was sent to several organizations and community members with the intention of knowing what they would like the chamber do for them, what the chamber should improve and what does the chamber do well.
All members agreed in the need of getting more people to work in a better way, by providing more information about what the chamber can do for them, making an strategic plan that includes marketing, block parties, mixers, shop locally campaigns, recognition of members of the month, and to look for ways to retain existing businesses in the area.
The next Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting will take place on May 17 at 11:45 a.m. at the DUSD patio, located at 12th and A Avenue. For more information, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org