“What is it you actually do?” This is a question that has been heard by chamber board members on more than one occasion.
The business of your valley’s Chamber of Commerce is building community and promoting economic development; and business is good!
In February of this year the chamber celebrated its 112th Annual Chamber Awards Banquet. This black and white affair added glamour to the ballroom at Hamilton’s River Inn as tables and guests alike were adorned with a touch of gold, keeping with this year’s theme. The evening was catered by The Little Blue Joint out of Darby who provided exceptional flavor to the event in roasted vegetables, gourmet cheeses, roast beef garnished with a creamy horseradish sauce and so much more, living up to their claim of “great food in a small town.” As good as the cuisine was, the event focused on celebrating and recognizing some very deserving local businesses.
Shortly following the banquet, Hamilton was host to a couple of basketball tournaments in a coordinated effort between the Chamber and the Hamilton Booster Club. Buses carrying students and coaches from all over the state descended upon our town like the snow to fill hotels and restaurants and enjoy the use of the fieldhouse at the Hamilton High School.
Tournaments do not simply appear in Hamilton. They require hours of forethought, planning and solicitation to accomplish. They bring athletes from around the state who participate as well as their fan base to cheer them on. The planning of the tournaments is a perfect example of the coordination between the Booster Club and the Chamber and a clear boost to the economy.
In March the Chamber promoted our monthly Community Luncheon in Corvallis at Fin’s Tap House. A recently established business, Fin’s boasts an enticing patio where one can enjoy, not only libations from various local microbrews, but also a view of the Bitterroots that promises to drain the tension of even the most stressful work day.
The luncheons, merely one of the benefits of being a Chamber member, are gatherings that rotate from one community to the next each month. The noon meetings allow each person attending to share with the group the activities and purpose of their businesses, building a stronger sense of community in the valley.
On April 19 the Chamber held a Business After Hours (BAH) gathering hosted by Stockman Bank. Nearly 50 business men and women congregating to mingle and share the recent activities of their respective companies. Conversations produced the familiar din that is prolific at BAH events resisting the progression of the evening’s scheduled activity of a ribbon cutting. The crowd did eventually gather in front of the branch bank for both a photo and the sundering of the filaments that have represented the growth of countless economies in innumerable communities throughout history.
As 2018 continues, the Bitterroot Chamber will continue to promote economic growth in the valley and strive to build a stronger sense of community for everyone from Lolo to Lost Trail.
The Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce provides a monthly column to update the community on local business activity and upcoming chamber events.