SNOWMASS VILLAGE - In many towns, a collection of businesses often gets together in a chamber of commerce or merchants' association to promote and support the local businesses. There have been many suggestions over the years for Snowmass Village to start a chamber of commerce.
Now, a collection of Base Village businesses have put together the Base Village Merchants' Association.
"The idea was to promote vitality and unity among the Base Village merchants," said Jerome Simecek, director of operations for Snowmass Hospitality. "Whether it is special events or individual activities like music on the patios, we wanted to coordinate everyone in order to provide a better overall guest experience."
About a dozen merchants and restaurants, hospitality companies, art organizations and the town of Snowmass Village have worked together over the last year to program concerts, kids activities and other special events in Base Village. And a specially created entity of the Base Village Merchants' Association has created and managed the common-consumption area during the public concerts this winter and spring.
The members of the Base Village Merchants' Association that have participated so far include: Aspen Skiing Co., Base Camp Bar and Grill, Slice Pizzeria, Aspen Sports, Burger Bar and Fish, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's, Snowmass Bakery, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Plum TV, Viceroy Snowmass Resort and Residences, the Base Village Master Inc., Snowmass Hospitality and the town of Snowmass Village.
"We find that getting the merchants together in Base Village has been a great opportunity for us to communicate with one another and create a better experience for our guests," said Scott Calliham, co-owner of Base Camp. "We believe the coordination and joint promotion we are doing gets the word out about what is available in Base Village each week. In the long term, we welcome other merchants to join with us in order to plan and develop a larger merchants' association."
Some members of the Merchants' Association envision all businesses in Snowmass Village eventually banding together to coordinate activities and promote local business.
"It's been great to work with everyone. This creates a unified collection of individual businesses, and we can do more by being on the same page," said Deric Gunshor, senior manager of event marketing.
By working together, the Merchants' Association took advantage of a recent change in Colorado liquor laws, and now common-consumption areas in Base Village act like a "Rocky Mountain Bourbon Street" and allow guests over the age of 21 to enjoy adult beverages on the Base Village plaza during special events and concerts.
The next example of the merchants working together is this year's closing party on April 14. From 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Base Village Merchants will celebrate closing day of the Snowmass ski area with music, a common-consumption area, a dunk tank, Schneetag, kids games and special prizes.
Around the country, merchants' associations and chambers of commerce enable businesses to join together and make their hard-earned money go further.
According to Wikipedia, Marseille, France, was the location of the first chamber of commerce in 1599. The oldest chamber of commerce in the United States has been traced back to New York City in 1768.
Merchants associations and chamber of commerces are not government bodies and don't make laws or legislation that affect local business. They might lobby towns or other government bodies in order to get laws passed that are favorable to businesses.
If you are a Snowmass business and you would like to get involved in the Base Village Merchants' Association, or you would like to speak with them about a town-wide collection of businesses, contact any of the members or call Simecek at 970-924-6060.
Steve Alldredge is the former associate editor/reporter for the Snowmass Sun. He now runs a local communications company whose clients include Related Colorado. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.