Jane Sharpe, executive director of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, chats with incoming President Jonathan Greenan (centre) and outgoing President Patrick McSweeney. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
SUMMERSIDE – The Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce posted a deficit this year for the first time in a number of years.
It was announced during the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Monday that the organization is in the red $21,898 for 2013. It had posted a surplus of $12,510 in 2012.
The loss was attributed to a declining membership and lower than expected revenues from the Chamber’s flagship event, the Showcase.
Patrick McSweeney, outgoing Chamber president, told a crowded dinning room at the Loyalist Lakeview Resort that as a result of this shortfall, 2014 will be a rebuilding year for the organization.
To that end, said McSweeney, the Chamber will not be holding its annual Trade Show in 2014, instead taking this year to reevaluate the event.
Showcase made $22,583 in 2013, down from $34,000 in 2012 and down significantly from the revenue the Chamber reaped from the event at its peak.
“Even though it showed a profit – in our minds, the amount of time and effort we put into that event – it wasn’t a success,” said McSweeney.
He also said that despite the loss, the Chamber is still in a good financial situation overall with more than $230,000 in a contingency fund, amongst other assets.
He added that through a number of factors, including an increased membership drive, and the stabilization of the position of executive director (there were three in three years), the financial position for the Chamber should start to improve throughout 2014 and into 2015.
“I think we’ve got a great new executive director in Jane (Sharpe) and we’ve got some great plans for the future, so I think because of that in, Jonathan’s hands, things will turn out very well,” said McSweeney
He was referring to Chamber President-elect Jonathan Greenan, who will be a sworn in at the 114th President’s Annual Dinner, being held Feb. 20 at the Loyalist.
Greenan’s nomination as incoming president was officially announced Monday.
Greenan, a lawyer with the firm Key Murray Law, said he’s looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“We’ve got a great business community in Summerside and we’ve got a great business history in Prince County, and I’m looking forward to joining a long-line of successful chamber presidents,” he said.
Jane Sharpe, who joined the Chamber a little under a year ago, said she too is looking forward to working with Greenan and the membership to reinvigorate the organization.
“I think we all know that we’ve got some challenges, and we think we can fix things. We’re pretty optimistic,” she said.