New controversial website targets GJ Chamber

By: Alicia Gentile Email
By: Alicia Gentile Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce has been the center of controversy. From City Council elections to boycotting Chamber businesses and now a new website has been unveiled and it doesn't paint the group in a positive light.

A new website is up, www.gjchamber.info. The website is a spawn of the Facebook group, "Rein in the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce".

The webpage is a very close resemblance to the Chamber's actual website which is gjchamber.org.

The Chamber has caught the attention of Anne Landman, who has been residing in the Grand Valley for 31 years. And that is why she created gjchamber.info.

“People should know what the Chamber is doing and what their personnel have been doing and what the members of their board are doing," said Landman.

The website lists all of the businesses in town that are not Chamber members. And Sal Iadicicco feels the website may hurt small business owners like himself, who are in the Chamber.

“I didn't join the Chamber because of its lobbying policies or any of the political activism that they do. It was more on being able to position myself around like minded business professionals," said Iadicicco.

And Matthew Cesario's store Triple Play Records was listed on the website as a Non-Chamber business, but he feels it was misleading.

“We are very diverse in what we sell and very independent in what we stand for and we don't feel like we need to be on one side or the other," said Cesario.

But Ann says the intention of the site isn't to boycott small businesses.

“We don't want to hurt small businesses, we like small business and a lot of us are small business owners," Landman.

The site suggests the chamber is losing members, but Diane Schwenke, the CEO, says that is not the case.

“Overall, for about the past year, we've been pretty steady in terms of membership, we're down from 2008 and 2009, just like businesses overall are down in terms of their customer base, but overall we've been pretty steady," said Schwenke.

And Landman says the creation of the website is a cry for change in the Chamber.

“We've been trying and trying to get through to the Chamber and so this is just one more avenue that we're trying to get their attention and tell them what we feel they're been doing wrong," said Landman.

“All of us should be concerned right now with the businesses of the community and promoting job growth," said Schwenke.

Triple Play Records business logo was removed from the gjchamber.info's website today. And the website creator, Anne Landman, says she has reached out to the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce with no success.

All she wants out of the situation is to speak with the chamber to try and resolve their differences.

And Grand Junction Chamber CEO, Diane Schwenke, says she is concerned about the websites having a similar URL, but does not feel it will affect internet browsers from locating the Chamber’s actual website at gjchamber.org.


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