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Latino Chamber ready to start paying its dues

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Less than a half-dozen meetings into its existence, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County has selected its four officers, has incorporated and is working on obtaining status as a nonprofit trade association.

And starting next month, the organization will become officially dues-based.

“We haven’t been collecting the past several months because basically we’ve been gearing up,” George

Harbison, vice chairman of the new chamber, told attendees at the group’s October meeting last Wednesday night. “From now on, I think we’re far enough ahead and we’ve got enough things

in place that we need to start having our members paying our dues.”

Miguel Medina, chairman of the organization, said 10 people already have paid to become members, and eight of those have paid the entire one-year fee of $120. Monthly memberships are $10.

“If you could pay for three months or six months or even a year, it would be easier for us to get started,” he said.

Longmont Free University, 505 Main St., is going to donate an office to the chamber, which Medina said will be staffed by volunteers, at least at the beginning.

He said he recently approached the Boulder County commissioners with a request for a grant to help the chamber get started, and he’s still awaiting their decision.

Approximately 20 people showed up for last week’s meeting, and Medina expressed some disappointment that more people weren’t there.

But as more news articles about the group appear and more people hear about it through word of mouth, Medina said he expects more people to embrace the idea. He got a call from Greeley last week, he said, from someone asking about the organization.

“I know there’s big, big interest in this,” Medina said.

While the group has yet to formally elect a board, it does have officers and several committees.

Aside from Medina and Harbison, the other officers are Margarita Salomon, secretary, and Edgar Sanchez, treasurer.

“For the bylaws, we’re basically in a rough draft stage, because there are still some things that need to be worked out,” said Marie Aragon, who has volunteered to serve on several committees, including the steering committee that is charged with drafting the
chamber’s bylaws and mission statement.

That statement, approved Wednesday night, notes that the group is for both Latino businesses and those who serve the Latino community — meaning anyone is welcome to join the chamber.

Harbison said that early next month, he and another chamber representative will visit the Longmont chapter of the League of Women Voters to give a presentation.

“They’re tracking us,” said Harbison. “They want to know the history of the Latino chapter; they want to know what obstacles were put in our place, what our plans are.”

Ultimately, the group hopes to attract as many of the 500-plus Latino businesses in Boulder County — 90 of which are in Longmont — as possible.

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.