The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce three-day membership drive started with a bang Tuesday, bringing in more than 200 new members to the local organization.
Teams of volunteers showed up to the chamber building in droves Tuesday morning, decked out in colorful costumes.
“Oh my gosh, it was crazy,” Kim Morris, assistant vice president of marketing and communications for the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau, said about the grand entrance that kicked off the three-day event. “Everyone went all out for it.”
A team from Allied Waste made its entrance in a pink dump truck, decked out with a disco ball and blaring music from the 1970s with team members dressed in tie-dyed gear.
Another group made up of a variety of different people showed up wearing pig noses and tails and riding in the pink bus painted like a pig that is used to promote Ben Wheeler’s Feral Hog Festival.
And another team showed up in the Smith County Sheriff’s Office’s old tank.
The Tyler area chamber holds the national record for new members recruited during a three-day drive, with 647 new members signing up in 2009. It hopes to top its record this week by recruiting 700 members.
The drive will run throughout Thursday in the chamber building’s Genecov Room, 315 N. Broadway Ave. A wrap-up celebration, with an announcement of how many new members joined, will be at 5 p.m. Thursday at Rick’s on the Square.
Tyler chamber Chief Operating Officer Henry Bell estimated that in 2009 there were nine teams and an estimated 250 volunteers.
This year, there are 12 teams that are rotating to work three-hour shifts.
Jessica Bravo, representative of Your Chamber Connections, reported that a typical chamber membership drive does a good job when 150 new members are recruited and a phenomenal job if 300 new members. Your Chamber Connections works with cities of all sizes and Tyler has by far the highest number of volunteers and involvement, she said.