Q&A by Loudoun Chamber President & CEO Tony Howard
Chris Charron, co-owner of 868 Estate Vineyards & Grandale Restaurant, is the 2015 Chairman of the Board and has been a Chamber member since 2003.
How long have you been a Chamber member, and why did you originally join?
Charron Consulting joined the Chamber in 2003 because we had been members of other DC area ‘Chambers’ but we found that the Loudoun Chamber was the first to treat us like human beings and not just a number and an annual membership fee.
What have you enjoyed most from being a member of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce?
My favorite part of being an LCCC member is the great friendships that I have made. It is amazing that I originally thought I joined to get business leads, but instead I have found wonderful friends who have given me great advice, assistance, contacts, and even some leads.
How has the Chamber helped your previous and current business achieve success?
As Charron Consulting got larger, my Chamber contacts were amazingly helpful as I needed to learn how to grow the company while avoiding common growing pains. If I needed advice, I could just reach out to someone I had met through the Chamber who worked at a company that had just faced similar problems. Amazingly, every one of them was open to helping. Now that we are basically starting over again with a new small business at 868 Estate Vineyards and Grandale Restaurant, I am ‘playing in a different game’ and I have been reaching out to many of the other agri-businesses and they have been equally, if not more helpful.
What would you say are the Chamber’s greatest strengths and how do these benefit our members?
The Chamber’s greatest united strength is its reputation in the region, the state, and even nationally for thoughtful, clear, sincere, and consistent advocacy for issues that affect the greater good of both businesses and the community as a whole. The benefit to the individual members is that they don’t have to learn the details of or take on issues as individuals. The Chamber is both a resource and a respected force for Loudoun’s businesses, both large and small.
Tell us about your top priorities for serving as Chairman of the Board in 2015?
My top priority is to expand on the UNITE LOUDOUN theme that was started and was amazingly successful last year. I want to have the Chamber promote how interdependent all businesses in Loudoun County are, and how helping to solve common problems together, as a united front, will be advantageous to all businesses in the long run.
Do you have any message for your fellow Chamber members?
Yes, I do. Just get involved! There is no faster way to find out how well you fit in than to sit in on a committee meeting, network at a breakfast, or grab a glass of wine at a mixer.