In 2012, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. merged to become a single entity. At the time, the group decided to change its name to the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
And nearly four years later, the group remains a single entity, but will change its name in December to the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC, to reflect the organization’s deep roots in the region.
CEO Dirk Draper says the name change is to clarify what the organization does and who it supports.
“It’s totally about name recognition and brand identity,” he said. “Every community in America has a chamber — people instantly know what that means,” he said. “They don’t know what a business alliance does — or what it means to the community.”
The goal is to make the organizations aims and aspirations more clear, he said. It becomes official in mid-December, with a new website — coloradospringschamberedc.com, which is not yet active.
“When businesses move here, they want to join the chamber,” Draper said. “Whenever we get a new commander at Fort Carson or one of the Air Force bases, they ask about the chamber of commerce, firs thing. That’s why this is important — it’s about clarity.”
The name change will also launch a new website for the city’s main business retention and recruitment organization, he said. The group has been working with Development Counsellors International, a national marketing and public relations agency that specializes in-place marketing for tourism and economic development.
The Business Alliance announced the name change at its annual gala, but Draper said the economic development group wasn’t going to launch a big campaign.
‘This is just about clarifying who we are,” he said. “We’re clarifying who we are, who we support. It’s about recognition.”
In a press release announcing the change, Draper said the group did market research and polled its members.
This isn’t a decision we made lightly,” he said. “We have consulted marketing and branding professionals, stakeholders and members. The unifying message they’ve told us is that ‘This is the right move, and now is the right time.’”
The business group also awarded several local people for their contributions to the business community at the Saturday night event.
Pam Shockley-Zalabak, UCCS chancellor, earned the Business Citizen of the Year award. Altia, a software firm, was named Company of the Year and Blue Dot Place Apartments received the Community Investment of the Year award. Lee Spirits, a local gin distillery, won New Business of the Year, while Hal Littrell received the Military Affairs award of Excellence. Littrell is a retired banker with deep roots in the community, including involvement with the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Mike Hausman, co-owner of Campbell Homes also received the special recognition award.