GULFPORT, FL — In a move reflective of the burgeoning small business and artistic community in Gulfport, the Gulfport Merchants Chamber of Commerce announced plans to hire a full-time director of operations to steer chamber business, oversee the group’s many popular events, and grow the membership base of local businesses and artists.
The GMC has retained the services of a human resources professional to assist its search to fill the new position.
“This is a success-driven change that will grow our membership, provide more benefits and value to our current members, and proactively advocate for the GMC and for Gulfport as an ideal location to potential businesses and visitors,” said Barbara Banno, president of the board of directors of the GMC.
The GMC is currently operated on a volunteer basis by a board of directors composed of 12 local business owners, with part-time workers assisting the group’s efforts to bolster small businesses and increase tourism to Gulfport. The new position is the group’s first full-time professional role and will report directly to the board of directors, who’ll maintain oversight on funding and other decisions.
“Since the relaunch of public events post-COVID in October of 2020 with the Gulfport STRONG campaign, our monthly events are attracting more visitors and vendors than at any time prior, increasing our operating budget to a comparable level with successful mid-sized small businesses throughout the area,” said Banno. “The new position brings in someone with the time and experience to proactively and strategically manage that budget most efficiently for our members and for our events.”
Popular GMC events include Gecko World, the Gulfport Fine Arts Festival, Pink Flamingo Tour of Homes, Tuesday Fresh Market, First Friday Art Walk and Third Saturday IndieFaire.
In addition to overseeing GMC events, the group’s primary revenue source, the director of operations position also calls for someone to be an advocate for member businesses, as well as an available presence to members and visitors by working regular shifts at the Welcome Center.
For more information, visit the GMC’s website.