Chamber took part in great events in 2008

Puyallup/Sumner Chamber

For the business community in Puyallup and Sumner, which works together through the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce, 2008 was a year filled with great new initiatives. Business wisdom tells us that down economic times are opportunities to get focused on strengthening connections with customers, improving products and building professional networks. Local businesses have been doing all of these things so they are poised for an economic recovery that will find them in better shape than ever. Here is just a quick summary of 2008 highlights for chamber members:

The Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce moved to a new space.

In February 2008 the Chamber & Visitors’ Center moved to 323 N. Meridian in downtown Puyallup. This new accessible, easy-to-find location immediately increased the foot traffic of visitors and people moving to the area coming to the chamber for information about our towns. As a way of introducing our members to the new space, the chamber began hosting Chamber Chat Coffee and Doughnuts in the visitors’ center at 9 a.m every Thursday. This free, networking event continues to draw at least 30 people each week and has become one of our favorite events. Starting on Feb. 6, the event will also be held in Sumner at 9 a.m. Friday mornings. The Sumner Downtown Association in partnership with the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber will be hosting this event at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites each Friday. Please make plans to join us at either location.

Two new training programs are launched.

This year brought two very different training opportunities for leaders in our community. In January 2008, the Sales and Marketing Roundtable was launched. This breakfast workshop, which is held at Mama Stortini’s on the last Friday of each month, is designed to give small businesses and entrepreneurs three to five tools they can use each day to improve their business. The Puyallup/Sumner Leadership Institute, offered in conjunction with Pierce College, which started in September, is a year long leadership program that is intended to prepare our community’s emerging leaders for roles in civic and volunteer organizations. This first leadership institute class has 13 participants from all across our community including the hospital, libraries, the police department, local businesses and school representatives. This program will be offered annually and participants are expected to be in a voluntary leadership role by the end of their year in the program.

Chefs’ Night Out delivered local culinary experience.

The first annual Chefs’ Night Out on Nov. 1 showcased 12 local chefs who each prepared a three course meal for tables of ten guests. Guests were introduced to new talent and visited with old favorites. The chamber is committed to keeping the spotlight on our local culinary talent and making sure that our community knows what eating adventures can be found right here in town. In addition to holding another Chefs’ Night Out on Nov. 7, the Chamber will be holding two new culinary events during 2009 called Moveable Feasts. Stay tuned for more information.

Bright spots are in the local economy.

In spite of the bleak economic news, the chamber has been honored to help celebrate the openings of more than 15 new businesses since October. So many new companies are opening that the chamber has added a new member outreach specialist to our team to take the lead on ensuring that all these newcomers have the tools they need to be successful. It is true that if each business can add just one employee this year, we could see this economy recover in a hurry. The chamber is working to help businesses expand, grow and prosper in 2009. A healthy business community means great jobs and stronger communities for all of us.

Sally Zeiger Hanson is the Executive Director of the Puyallup / Sumner Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at 253-845-6755 or sally@puyallupsumnerchamber.com. For more information about chamber programs, please visit www.puyallupsumnerchamber.com.