Business

Chamber will skip events, will focus on making business better

Ending 2008 with a very weak economy and the word “recession” finally being verbalized, it is time for your chamber of commerce to make some adjustments.

In this environment, we must find new, smart ways to grow our businesses, to stay viable and prosperous. The business community must unite to help one another. Organizations, the city, and the chamber must combine now to keep this community financially stable in 2009 and beyond. We are all in this economic downturn together. And by working together we can and will be all right.

Executive Director Cathy Rigg has produced a “Shop Enumclaw First” ad and written an article about the value of shopping locally. These are just small first steps that the chamber hopes will lead to other innovative ways of driving more business to our members. Expo Center manager Joan Lewis is diligently working to bring in different year-round venues and events.

Thousands of people from outside our area attend these events. It seemed to the chamber board that our businesses needed a presence at the Expo Center. In conjunction with the Parks Department and Expo Center we are happy to announce that we now have a new two-sided kiosk installed onsite for promoting local business to their event attendees.

At our recent chamber board annual advance (we don’t call it a retreat as we look forward in our planning), the board of directors and staff reviewed our 2008 achievements and looked to the future. After extensive discussions,

your board made a decision to make a drastic change from the events-focused chamber you know to a chamber that will be more focused on promoting and marketing our business community. Starting in 2009, we will be seeking sponsors to take over the planning and implementation for the Christmas parade. The chamber will still help promote this event, of course. The “Thanks for Giving Dinner” will be incorporated into the annual auction where we will recognize our community volunteers and outstanding businesses.

Other changes may be forthcoming. The idea is to free the staff from time-consuming event planning so they can spend more of their valuable time promoting and marketing.

Something else new for 2009: we are looking for chamber businesses to host our monthly Business After Hours beginning this month. This is yet another great way to get to know and help promote business in our community.

We need signage on all of our high traffic entrance roads. In addition to the visitors who attend the Expo Center, there are thousands of people coming into Enumclaw to get Christmas tree permits, to go skiing, hiking, etc. We must motivate these visitors to take in more of the city. How do these people even know where downtown is, if we don’t show them the way? We are hoping this signage will be done sooner rather than later.

Your new highly-motivated board is ready, willing and able to make more changes to help our hard-working business owners. We are hoping to forge many more positive working relationships because we cannot get where we want to be if we are working at cross purposes. Let’s combine forces, team up and get going! If you have an idea, a suggestion or need information, please let us know. The chamber staff and board members are lookingforward to working for you in 2009.

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