Sand Springs reaching out to small businesses

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. -- The Chamber of Commerce in Sand Springs launched an initiative to support their small businesses.

"They are the backbone of America and what makes us work," Kristen Valentin, President of the Sand Springs Chamber, said.

The Chamber of Commerce connects businesses with advertising opportunities and ways to get involved around town, but the price tag to join is in the thousands.

"A lot of the large corporations were part of the chamber, but as a small business, you had to kind of decisions do you want to pay your electric bill or join the chamber," Lisa Miller, owner of Yellow House Market and Boutique, said.

Small business owners, like Miller, let Valentin know that for years they wanted to be involved but just could not swing the bill.

"It is important that you nourish them and you let them know they are important to you and that they are not a place on the downtown square," Valentin said.

After speaking with chambers in other cities, like Jenks and Muskogee who have several small businesses, Valentin came up with a plan.

Businesses with fewer than 10 employees that have been around less than five years can join for $12.50 every month.

"This gives us a voice in Sand Springs just like a large industry has," Miller said.

So far, the small business initiative that was launched in April has 10 members.

Wednesday, the group met for their first lunch and learn. It allows small business owners to network and hears from speakers.

The first speaker talked about loans to small businesses. In the future, they plan to have people speak about taxes and marketing.

Hearing from experts on these topics is very beneficial for owners who are trying to juggle all of the responsibilities of running a successful operation.

"As I have grown and my business has grown, I've gotten to know other business owners in town and become involved in the chamber," Miller said. "It has given me more knowledge and wisdom on how to grow my business and how to invest my money."

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