The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce is embracing its mission to promote economic growth in the Mohawk Valley through a variety of programs and initiatives designed to help businesses succeed.
Helping businesses find funding for startup and expansion is one of the ways that the chamber promotes growth. Through the Downtown Association for Business, the chamber has its own loan pool that helps to finance businesses in downtown Amsterdam, New York. It also administers the loan pool for the Gloversville Economic Development Corporation, facilitating the needs of businesses in this Fulton County city. Applications continue to come in, despite the pandemic.
“People right now aren’t being hindered by the coronavirus,” said president and CEO Mark Kilmer. “They are looking at expanding new businesses now,” he said.
Another way that the chamber fosters economic growth in the region is through its tourism promotion. It markets both counties through the “I Love NY” program. One of the highlights of this promotion is the annual Walleye Challenge on the Great Sacandaga Lake, an event that attracts fishermen from about 17 states around the country. According to Kilmer, the event brings about 5,000 people to Fulton County along with over half a million dollars of revenue. In 2020, organizers expanded the event to include the “Walleye Awakening” on the night before the main event, where people braved cold temperatures to listen to bands and watch fireworks.
The chamber successfully lured a crew from the TV show “Fishing University” to the area to film three episodes. “Fishing University” airs on the Outdoor Channel Plus. The producer was pleased with the fishing and the beauty of the region’s 44 lakes, but he was particularly impressed with the people, Kilmer said.
The chamber’s tourism promotion has a positive economic impact. “When people walk away from those events, they have a good feeling about Fulton County,” Kilmer said, noting that they might consider moving their families or businesses to the area.
“Everything that we do promotes economic development one way or the other. Our mission is to promote economic development—to be the voice of business and tourism development for the growth of the community and the region,”