After 116 years of serving Trail and district, the local chamber shows no signs of slowing down in the new year.
Besides hosting another season of outdoor markets on the Esplanade in summer 2017, chamber staff and board volunteers have a few new tricks up their sleeves.
“In order to meet our main goals we’ve refocused to more effectively serve our community of member businesses,” says Executive Director Audry Durham. “The highlights for this year will be celebrating our 116th birthday … and hosting the Healthy Lifestyle Expo on May 6.”
The inaugural expo will be held in the Trail Memorial Centre, where over two days, regional businesses will be showcased to locals and to those outside the area. Another feature will be guest Mark Cullen, a gardening guru who will visit the venue courtesy Communities in Bloom.
The third Annual Business Excellence Awards is slated for early fall, as an opportunity to showcase exemplary business leaders, Durham added.
The organization recently renewed its three-year strategic plan, which led to a refocus of goals.
“Through the process, we have been trimming down the dozen-plus activities the chamber has been working on for the past few years,” she said.
One of the first bookings to be cut was the Christmas Craft Market on Spokane Street.
“The market simply no longer fit into the chamber’s three strategic goals,” Durham noted. “Which is to maintain and enhance our role as a leading voice for successful businesses and promoting the local region for doing business; to effectively serve a community of member businesses; and to be self-supporting.”
Pulling out of the popular indoor market wound up as a benefit for the community-at-large.
The United Way of Trail & District quickly stepped in and took over the event as a fundraiser. In the first two market days last weekend, the group hosted very successful fundraising events that included 50-plus vendors and hundreds of shoppers. (The final market runs on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 900 Spokane Street)
“The market is a turn-key event and was ready for a non-profit with a volunteer based staff to take over as a fundraiser,” Durham added.
While the chamber had the option of stopping the winter markets, it’s a different scenario for the outdoor venue.
Although attendance was down mostly due to a summer of rain, net proceeds were $2,800 or half the usual, the chamber will continue with the outdoor markets in 2017.
“The chamber has a service contract with the city to provide administration and vendor booking services for the 10 Markets on the Esplanade,” Durham confirmed. “City staff put up traffic guards, electrical outlets and help with vendor setup, and both the City of Trail and the Trail Visitor Centre have information booths at the markets,” she added. “The service contract has been in place since 2012, when the markets first started and the chamber will make application to have the contract renewed/extended for 2017.”