Kevin Hargreaves Pan Handles Cornwall Ontario City Council Looking for Break On Home and Trade Venue Fees

jg2CFN –  In a shameful and embarrassing move the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, led by Board Prez Kevin Hargreaves pan handled City Council asking for a break in fees for the use of the Civic Complex for its Trade Show.

Boggling.   Having spent a brief time on the board and now refusing to be a member myself until there is a house cleaning I was as stunned as many local business people to see the Chamber take such an action.

While Mr. Hargreaves, a local business owner himself might point to the $300K spent over the years renting the Civic Complex what about what was taken back by the chamber in earnings from their shows.

Why should tax payers financially support a group that refuses to look in its own mirror and instead of cronyism and corruption rights itself?

The first time I ran for election on the board of the chamber I was notified of my loss.  When asking for the vote totals I was told.

“We don’t give those out.”

That practice has changed, but sadly far too many others have not.   The Chamber relied for decades on income earned from their franchise of the Motor Vehicle office, literally as monies from Chamber activities and rentals from the tenants in their building didn’t show a profit.

The Chamber has done little for small business locally.   Most people I’ve spoken with echo the same thing which is why many are no longer members, which is that the Chamber does nothing for them.

Mr. Hargreaves asked for a 30% discount as he’s worried about viability.    Maybe the chamber should instead change their leadership?  Maybe manager Lezlie Strasser simply has been ineffective?   Maybe, just maybe if chamber staff spent more time working with membership and supporting business the numbers would be different?

Having run over 200 successful events this scribbler can tell you the same old same old doesn’t work for events.   Even if successful you always have to be upping the ante.   Speaking to several businesses recently about the Spring and former Fall show the same complaints occurred about not having any real attraction and the events being poorly promoted.

This year’s show will probably be one of the worst in Chamber history.   The Chamber’s Biz Fest event also was a money loser.

Maybe it’s time for the culture of “Clique” that runs the chamber to change?   Maybe it’s time for some of these petty little people that feel so entitled that they have the balls to ask the city to force taxpayers to pay for fleas to simply look in the mirror and realize why  the public truly doesn’t support them?

Like this scribbler has written many many times before.  When people truly work together you get better results.   The politics of exclusion, cronyism, racism, and intolerance just don’t cut it.

And from the sounds of Mr. Hargreaves whining, neither does the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce.

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James Moak


  1. I stopped going to these “shows” several years ago because I refuse to pay retailers to simply view their products.

    Now I guess they’ll get my money indirectly by having tax dollars subsidize their “show”! This from the same people who say the taxes on their businesses are too high!

    Simply amazing!!!!

  2. Same here. I love these types of shows, but not the ones in Cornwall….no draw, no innovation, no imagination. As above I will NOT pay for products available on shelves. There has got to be more to it. You are right Jamie, new blood all around will make Cornwall better.

  3. Ridiculous! That show is the Chamber’s cash cow. How many vendors times $1000 plus. Thousands of people paying a few ? bucks to get in. Screw them.

  4. Personnaly, I quit going years ago ! I found it highly repetitious, air-conditioners, siding & window co’s, inter-locking bricks etc.
    Their was no thought process used whatsoever, in the planning. No companies, with brand new items, were there to promote their new products ? I much rather go to Ottawa & see their Shows, as most have company reps to talk to you about their products. Yes, they charge also, however, I feel that I’m getting more from the retailers there (information-knowledge-selection), than here in my own Town ? The money charged by our Chamber is shameful, it should be free. I’m not a cheap person, but I can walk into any of their stores, at any time
    and see the same ol stuff. IT”S THE SAME OL THING !
    A “RESOUNDING NO” , to the proposal of cutting the Chamber a sweet-heart deal ! The Prez, should have been “gonged” at the gate ?

  5. Mr Hargreaves might better represent the membership by promoting education on better business strategies that do not include trying to have the taxpayer underwrite their shortcomings ! If the membership cannot afford to promote themselves at this reasonably and competitively priced venue then reexamine your business plans and models. Do not try to squeeze the costs from the taxpayer spent the energy and time on simply winning us clients and consumers. Really, Mr. Hargreaves, how embarrassing for you and your credibility and for the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce not being competent enough to reach a different conclusion.

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