What is the Hudson Business Coalition?
The HBCi is a non-profit membership organization formed around the belief that a rising tide lifts all boats. Our primary aim is to attract customers and increase sales for Hudson businesses. HBCi is an all-volunteer organization with a Board of Directors comprised of Hudson business owners or managers as well as other professionals with unique skills and a dedication to Hudson. In addition, there are working committees to engage the vast knowledge, creativity and perspective of the entire Hudson business community.
How does this iteration of the HB C differ from previous groups?
For many years, small, loosely coordinated groups of individuals have operated under the name Hudson Business Coalition undertaking various efforts to build community and support the business district.
The HBC email listserv and the Hudson Walking Guide are two initiatives that were started by these groups. They have enjoyed widespread support from the business community and continue to provide a valuable service. The email listserv functions as the primary tool for sharing information and encouraging conversation among Hudson’s business community. The Hudson Walking Guide is a well-designed and beloved pocket-sized book guiding visitors from one end of the city to the other.
It became apparent to the members of the HBC steering committee who were meeting in 2015 that a more accountable organization was needed to successfully bring together businesses behind the shared goal of attracting more customers to the business district. In January 2016, the Hudson Business Coalition Inc. (HBCi) was established as a New York state nonprofit corporation with the following mission statement: “To stimulate a vibrant commercial district in the city of Hudson with programs to attract and promote a diverse mix of businesses to local, regional and international audiences.”
The HBCi is a membership organization with the primary category of member, the Proprietor Member, having full voting rights in selection of Board members and Bylaws changes. The current Board of Directors will serve until the 2018 Annual Meeting; thereafter, the Proprietor Member group will consider and elect future Board of Directors members.
How is the HBCi different from the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce?
The Chamber is a business-to-business organization whose mission statement is “the leading voice of business in Columbia County, providing advocacy, promotional and benefit solutions for its members.”
Conversely, HBCi is an association of businesses that is more closely aligned with the mission and vision of a “merchants’ association” and “tourism bureau” for the City of Hudson. Our mission statement is “to stimulate a vibrant commercial district in the City of Hudson with programs to attract and promote a diverse mix of businesses to local, regional, and international audiences.” Through the marketing and promotion of Hudson to the regional community and tourists, our goal is to directly enhance the flow of customers and sales for Hudson businesses.
We are building supportive relationships with the Chamber of Commerce as well as with Columbia County Tourism, and are excited to work together with these groups to achieve our shared goals. To this end, we are in discussions with the Chamber about a mutual discount on membership fees for businesses who join both groups.
What are the discounts offered on the Proprietor membership level?
Existing and new members of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce receive a $25 discount on their HBC membership fee. The Chamber has expressed an interest in providing a similar discount from their fee for HBCi members, but that initiative is still working its way through their governance process and has thus far not been approved.
Proprietors who operate more than one business and wish to have a separate unique listing for each business will pay $200 for the first business listing and $50 for each additional business listing. Below is an example of a business that qualifies the multiple business listing discount:
Wm Farmer & Sons
First listing for Lodging $200
Separate listing for Restaurant $50
Alternatively, a business is welcome to have a single business listing appear in multiple places on the website with NO additional fee. For instance:
Bodhi could choose to have a single listing appear in the SHOP section under the sub-categories of Health & Beauty as well as Wellness & Fitness.
Please contact us if either of these conditions apply to your business.
What can we expect from HBCi near-term and longer term?
HBCi is close to launching our tourism-focused website VisitHudsonNY.com. The website is intended to provide a comprehensive directory of retail businesses in Hudson, a calendar of upcoming events and featured editorial about what makes Hudson unique by highlighting its history, culture, businesses and people.
In the initial phase, we plan to promote the website through a combination of earned media, social media posting and digital advertising.
In addition, we’re looking at print marketing, including a new edition of the Walking Guide, as well as window decals and rack cards to promote “brand awareness” of Hudson. We’ll also seek collaboration with HBC members and other organizations by encouraging them to publicize the website through their own marketing channels. Columbia County Tourism has indicated a willingness to use a portion of their advertising to promote Hudson specifically as well.
As we build membership and more funds are available we plan to add radio and print advertising. We will also seek opportunities for collaborative advertising deals enabling us to extend discounted rates to individual businesses.
We are also considering organizing events that will attract visitors with interests aligned to the product offerings in Hudson. Ideas explored thus far include a Restaurant Week, Designer Showcase, Fashion Show and others.