Sycamore Chamber receives $40K from city for tourism, marketing efforts

Executive Director of Sycamore Chamber of Commerce Rose Treml talks with 3rd Ward Sycamore Alderpersons Jeff Fischer and Nancy Copple, as well as 4th Ward Alderperson Virginia Sherrod, after Sycamore City Council voted to award the chamber a $40,000 donation during the July 17, 2023 City Council meeting

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Chamber of Commerce this week received $40,000 from the city of Sycamore to aid tourism and marketing efforts in town.

The City Council on Monday voted to award the Chamber a $40,000 donation – the same amount the city has donated to the organization since deciding to reduce funding in 2020.

The Chamber’s annual funding from the city grew from $15,000 in 2002 to $55,000 in 2015. In 2020, the yearly donation was reduced to $40,000, Sycamore Chamber Executive Director Rose Treml told city officials Monday.

The council approved the donation unanimously.

Treml, a 21-year Sycamore Chamber employee, said the city’s donation allows the Chamber to operate its Discover Sycamore website as a tourism and marketing effort aimed at bolstering commerce for local businesses. The website has generated up to 6,200 users a month, and about 92% of that internet traffic comes from users outside of Sycamore, Treml said.

“This also means our current marketing strategy is working. We also host six dedicated social media platforms that target visitors,” Treml said. “The cause of this day-to-day upkeep of the website along with hosting our social media platforms is human capital. And to do that we have a dedicated employee, our Events and Marketing Director Shelby [Crackel], who spends 76% of her time on that. Annually, that comes to about $38,000.”

Treml said that if the Chamber were able, it could easily spend $80,000 annually on marketing Sycamore as a tourism destination.

Sycamore Mayor Steve Braser questioned whether the Chamber should do more to support the city’s farmers market – which he said had five tents the Tuesday before the meeting. Treml said the number of vendors has been affected by recent incidents.

“Two of our vendors had heart attacks, one of them was in a car accident. There are things like that that we can’t prevent. One of the farmers actually got T-boned two weeks ago,” Treml said. “So we do have vendors coming. We’ve had anywhere from seven to 15 signed up.”

Braser said that was “pretty sad” and then asked what the Chamber does that the DeKalb County Conventions and Visitors Bureau doesn’t.

Treml said the money given to the Sycamore Chamber is spent in, on or for Sycamore’s benefit.