Enumclaw chamber has a busy year | Column

What a year 2008 has been!

At the Enumclaw Visitor Information Center, our staff and 20 volunteers mailed relocation and informational packets on Enumclaw nationwide and handled more than 3,000 phone calls answering an array of questions from directions to Mount Rainier to local business inquiries. Our Web site has had approximately 500,000 hits in one year alone. We helped more than 4,000 visitors and chamber guests from Enumclaw to Seattle, across the United States and around the world.

The chamber Web site provides member information, a current monthly newsletter, weather forecast, community calendar of events, community links for Enumclaw and neighboring cities, clubs and organizations including youth groups, places of worship, school district information and more. Chamber members also have access to the site for posting e-coupons, Hot Deals and job openings.

We produced the new Enumclaw street map and have distributed thousands of copies of the Enumclaw Visitor Guide and Business Directory.

Community events we participated in included the Fourth of July Stars and Stripes Celebration, the New Teacher Welcome Breakfast and the Teacher Retirement Tea, Stratocruisers Hot Rod and Collectible Car Show, downtown trick-or-treating, holiday garland and the recent 27th annual Enumclaw Christmas Parade.

We also participate in a small business start up orientation every quarter, hosted by Green River Community College and aimed at helping entrepreneurs get their new business under way.

Thirty new members have joined the chamber in 2008 to date, bringing ourtotal membership to 251 businesses. We hosted numerous ribbon cuttings for new businesses, monthly business breakfasts featuring a variety of guest speakers, the “Vegas Night” dinner and auction, King County Fair Business Expo, Chamber Golf Classic, political candidates forum and the Thanks for Giving Dinner honoring Enumclaw’s Hometown Heroes.

The Wes Borreson Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in memory of our long-time volunteer and educator in Enumclaw. Three $1,000 scholarships were awarded to EHS seniors pursuing a business degree.

We continue to represent this community by serving on committees or boards for the Chinook Byways, Enumclaw+Black Diamond Tutoring Program and the Enumclaw Community Enhancement Foundation.

In conjunction with the Enumclaw Police Department, we created a “Crime Stoppers” reward program to assist with the arrest and conviction of incidents affecting our businesses such as burglary or graffiti.

The AAOA Benefits Program was adopted and provides a suite of benefits for our members including merchant discounts, communications, business services and healthcare programs. This provides value to businesses of every size and with exclusive member savings, programs and promotions on a variety of products and services, small businesses can stay competitive.

The chamber and Enumclaw Expo Center are working together to entice visitors from Expo Center events to come downtown, to see what the rest of Enumclaw has to offer them as our guests.

As a founding member of the South Sound Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition, we represent approximately 3,000 businesses that employ more than 117,216 workers in the South King County and North Pierce County region. Our focus has been on transportation, business competitiveness, taxes and education and workforce development.

A special thanks to The Enumclaw Courier-Herald for allowing us this avenue of communication in the Business Focus each month so we are able to share important information with the community and businesses.

Thank you to all the businesses, organizations and individuals throughout this community who have helped us on our journey through the year. Looking ahead to 2009, we will continue to show our commitment to providing leadership and service to area businesses and our community through communication, promotion, education and public service, just as we’ve done for the past 106 years.

The chamber staff and board of directors wish you a very Merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year in 2009.