Ribbon Cuttings Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Chamber ribbon cutting?

A ribbon cutting is the ceremonial opening of a brand-new or newly-renovated/relocated business that has opened within the last six months. It can inaugurate an organization’s first day of business or it can take place weeks after the business’ soft opening.

Because the ribbon cutting marks a very significant moment in the business’ history, this is also a great photo opportunity. The ceremony gives the business owner or manager a chance to say a few words to those gathered. Business owners have used this time to publicly thank their financial backers, their employees, their friends and family, and/or their business partners. They also take the opportunity to talk about what their business does.

You must be a new or current Chamber member in good standing (including dues paid) for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce to participate in your ribbon cutting.

Who qualifies for a ribbon cutting?

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is available to assist with your ceremony if your business has:

  • Opened its doors within the past six months
  • Moved to a new location due to expansion
  • Has been remodeled or has expanded its current location
  • Is celebrating a milestone anniversary (1 year; 5 years; 10 years; 25 years; etc.)
  • Groundbreaking

What are the benefits of holding a Chamber ribbon cutting?

By hosting a ribbon cutting, you can:

  • Introduce both the public and Chamber members to your business
  • Announce your ribbon cutting on the Chamber’s Community Calendar
  • Familiarize the public and Chamber members with your product/services
  • Familiarize the public and Chamber members with your physical location
  • Begin a customer base
  • Generate leads and sales from attendees
  • Publish a photo of your ribbon cutting in the Chamber’s newsletter with a distribution list of about 4,000!

Is there a cost to have the Chamber participate?

There is no cost to host a chamber ribbon cutting for a qualifying milestone event.

Is the ribbon cutting my business’ event or a Chamber event?

This is your event. The Chamber will gladly assist you with the following:

  • Notify the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Ambassadors Committee members of your ribbon cutting, encouraging their attendance
  • Invite local officials on your behalf (upon request only)
  • List your ribbon cutting on the Chamber’s ribbon cutting page of our website
  • Have a member of the Chamber’s Team provide congratulatory remarks
  • Provide a list of Chamber member caterers (upon request only)
  • Provide contact list of local media outlets (upon request only)
  • Bring the “BIG scissors” and ribbon
  • Take pictures at the event and publish a photo in our newsletter, The Chamber News.

While the Chamber will extend the above mentioned invitations and list your ribbon cutting on our website, we strongly encourage you to conduct your own PR campaign to increase the attendance and awareness of your business’s opening. You should also consider inviting your business partners, financiers, contractors, employees, customers, friends, and family to be with you to celebrate this momentous occasion in your business’s history. Please understand that you should not rely solely on the Chamber to attract your audience.

What do we do?

Because your ribbon cutting is your event, there are no set rules. To make your event successful, carefully consider the following:

  • Schedule your event using our Ribbon Cutting Reservation Form at least two weeks in advance. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are usually the best days during the week for business people, not earlier than 9:00am and avoiding later evening functions. We’re sorry; the Chamber cannot assist with ribbon cuttings after 5:00pm or on weekends and holidays. Also, we ask you to please take a moment to cross-check your preferred date and time of celebration with the Grand Rapids Chamber’s events calendar to prevent scheduling conflicts with Chamber events.
  • Determine who will cut the ribbon. The owners or top executives most frequently do the honors, but each business is different and can pick whomever they like.
  • Who will be in the photo(s). Some businesses will take multiple photos with various groups of people before actually cutting the ribbon. Photos might include employees, family, Chamber members, business partners, and Ambassadors for example.
  • Your remarks or speech. This is usually done when everyone is gathered before cutting the ribbon.
  • Invite everyone you know! Invite your family, friends, past, current and potential customers, business associates (including your accountant, banker, and property owner,) suppliers, your employees, the media, neighboring businesses, and government officials.
  • Consider having giveaways, especially logo items that guests can take back to their offices. The Chamber is happy to provide you with members who can help you create gifts.
  • Food and beverage is not required, but for open house events, it makes a nice touch. The Chamber is happy to provide you with members who can help you with catering.
  • Prepare a quick speech and be sure to have plenty of brochures available.

Other details to enhance your event

Refreshments, drinks, door prizes, and decorations are optional and up to you. Many businesses add these extra touches when conducting a public grand opening in conjunction with the ribbon cutting.

A special invitation. The Chamber can sell you a member mailing list if you would like to mail an optional special invitation to the entire membership. This is especially encouraged if you are conducting a grand opening with prizes, business specials, and refreshments.

Organize a separate PR campaign. If you would like to invite the general public, you should explore other advertising avenues and/or consider sending a press release to the local media. You can do this yourself or hire a marketing company to help you with this. The Chamber can provide you with a list of the local media contacts and a membership directory to locate a marketing firm.

Complete and return the Chamber’s Ribbon Cutting reservation form.
Click here to complete the Ribbon Cutting Reservation Form.
Please note:
Pre-registration with the Chamber for Ribbon Cuttings is required with two weeks advance notice.
Events are scheduled based upon availability Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm.
Submit all changes in writing to Mark Allen.

What have other businesses done to make their ribbon cutting and/or grand opening unique?  

  • Sent a special invitation to the whole Chamber membership
  • Sent a special direct mail piece/invitation to area residents and/or non-member businesses
  • Sent a special direct mail/email invitation to local elected officials (Mayor, City Commissioners, County Commissioners, etc.)
  • Conducted a separate PR campaign to try to grab media attention
  • Invited lots of clients, employees, and/or board directors from their organization Invited corporate staff from out-of-town corporate headquarters
  • Offered complimentary appetizers and beverages from fancy to simple, from a few selections to a large buffet and/or chocolate fountains, champagne fountains, and sweets
  • Invited sports or business mascots and superheroes in costumes

There are lots of great websites that provide tips on planning and executing a great event. Google “ribbon cutting ceremonies” for the top sites.

Note: The Chamber cannot guarantee the number of guests in attendance. Pre-registration with the Chamber for Ribbon Cuttings is required with two weeks advance notice. Events are scheduled based upon availability.  Ribbon cuttings are conducted Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm.  No more than two ribbon cuttings will be conducted in the same day.

Contact Mark Allen at 616.771.0348 for more information.