Business is booming in Bastrop, and the thriving city is making history once again. The Bastrop Chamber of Commerce achieved the prestigious Accreditation with Four-Star Distinction from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the first time in the organization’s history. With this distinction, the chamber is one of 199 accredited chambers in the United States and just 44 in Texas.

Chamber President and CEO Becki Womble said the application was an enormous undertaking, and the accreditation achievement is a testament to the board’s strategic planning and years of hard work.

“When somebody invests with the Bastrop Chamber, their investment dollars are being spent very wisely,” Womble said. “We can prove that with this accreditation.”

In Womble’s nine years with the chamber, she’s seen the organization grow from a small, hometown chamber without set policies to a midsize chamber with thought-out best practices and a strategic plan. From the get-go, her priorities were clear: strategize, organize, and optimize.

“The board definitely wanted to move in an advocacy direction,” Womble said. “They wanted to be the voice of business.”

While the chamber supports a thriving business community in Bastrop, Womble said it’s about more than business—the chamber is a network of communication and collaboration designed to benefit all Bastrop citizens.

“The chamber is about a greater community good,” she said. “I spend a lot of time promoting just that.”

Some of Womble’s advocacy work includes sitting in on months of developer meetings to help the city get a better B3 code that is more friendly to businesses and commercial development. She has also spent time educating voters on the importance of school bonds and sharing economic development information.

“It's about building the intangible things,” Womble said. “We connect businesses to each other and recommend our business community, but it's [about] the things that grow a community for everyone. We’re a glue and a connector.”

Over the years, the chamber has served the community in different capacities. From 1989 to 1995 the chamber was the economic development arm of the city of Bastrop, and from 1993 to 2016 served as a visitor center. In both cases, the chamber worked hard to establish separate, professionally run entities. In 1995, chamber staff worked to get a tax-funded economic development corporation called the Bastrop EDC with a mission of economic and workforce development. The chamber was also the driving force behind the creation of a destination marketing organization called Visit Bastrop which was established in 2017 and focuses solely on tourism.

“Identifying needs in the community is what the chamber does best, and the chamber has a visionary board with a dedicated, experienced staff who care deeply about Bastrop,” Womble said.

Bastrop’s chamber is dedicated to elevating the entire city, Womble said.

“It’s not just about the business community,” Womble said. “If somebody just wants to get involved and make a difference in their community, we can plug you in somewhere. Whether it's working with the chamber or other organizations, people working together can benefit us, from our school district to city government. Doing our part is what will make Bastrop prosper even more than it is now.”

The Bastrop Chamber of Commerce is located at 927 Main Street, Bastrop. For more information, visit the website here. To get connected with a chamber member, email [email protected] or call 512-303-0558.

The above story was produced by Senior Multi Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.