Debunking Myths: Facts Behind the Fiction
Myth 1: Chamber Is City Department/Part of the City
The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc., is a Kansas not-for-profit corporation founded in 1925, operated by its own board of directors, bylaws and staff. Neither city nor counties have direct control, legal ownership or management.
The Chamber does have a contractual agreement with the city of Manhattan and Riley County to perform specific services: Provide economic development assistance and attract convention business and visitors (city). Though approved in advance by the city commission, the city carries no ownership or day-to-day management control. (Similar contract with Riley County to perform certain economic development functions; relinquish no ownership nor control.)
Myth 2: Chamber Endorses/Opposes Candidates for Public Office
Long-standing Chamber board policy to neither support nor oppose any local, state or federal candidate for office. The Chamber on occasion may support or oppose local, state or national ballot initiatives, especially those that impact business.
Endorsements by National Organization
The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This entity through a separate Political Action Committee (PAC), does occasionally endorse political candidates. Our membership dues to this entity, by law, cannot be used in any part by either PAC. Our Chamber is an independent Kansas corporation, governed by its own bylaws and a board, and not bound in any way by actions or endorsements of the U.S. Chamber/PAC.
Myth 3: Chamber Incentives Only for out-of-Town Businesses
This perception is not even close to reality. The Chamber supports giving local economic incentives to local businesses far more frequently than out-of-town businesses. Over the past decade, this Chamber has supported one out-of-town business to receive local incentives.
Local Companies Create Jobs
National statistics show that 80% of all new jobs created each year come from local companies within the community. This holds true in Manhattan. ED will continue to recruit out-of-town business; priority always given to help local businesses expand and provide support to obtain local and state economic incentives.
Myth 4: Chamber Recruits Retail Business
Chamber long-standing policy holds to not recruit individual retailers to this area but will respond to market inquiries; this includes connecting retailers with local developers/realtors to find retail space, but no active recruitment.
Following Their Own Directives
Sophisticated retailers monitor demographics, market changes and product demand on monthly/quarterly basis. Decisions are based on Manhattan's market size, community potential (compare to market competition). Retailers prefer "new rooftops," which means population growth is adequate to accommodate retail business expansion.
Myth Number 5: Chamber Caters to/Made up of Big Business
The vast majority of membership comprised of small business. Manhattan Chamber strives to provide diverse group of programs and services to meet small business needs.
Chamber's 800-plus members represent 17,000 employees, include all types and sizes of companies throughout the region.
- 92% fewer than 50 FTE
- 85% fewer than 25 FTE
- 71% fewer than 10 FTE
- 54% fewer than 5 FTE
Please note: 9/10 Chamber members run small-to-midsize enterprises. Serving small business members is what we do every day.