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What is a Chamber of Commerce?
The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce (also referred to in some circles as a board of trade) is a form of business network, e.g., a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of the businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO or Executive Director, plus staffing appropriate to size, to run the organization.
In the United States, Chambers do not operate in the same manner as the Better Business Bureau in that, while the BBB has the authority to bind its members under a formal operations doctrine (and, thus, can remove them if complaints arise regarding their services), the local chamber membership is strictly voluntary. In addition, Chambers represent the interests of businesses, while the BBB represents the interests of the general public. Chambers of commerce also can include economic development corporations or groups (though the latter can sometimes be a formal branch of a local government, the groups work together and may in some cases share office facilities) as well as tourism and visitors bureaus.