Chamber looks to fill vacancies, plan year

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce is seeking new board members while preparing its 2011 agenda.

Board Chairman Bruce Hobbs, Billie Weber and Dave Furtwangler have all resigned. Paula McLaws has joined the board, but Carol Dropla is planning to move and will resign soon, leaving a total of three openings on the board.

The board has not selected a new chairman or vice chairman yet.

In the meantime, the chamber is getting ready for its annual awards banquet on March 5, said chamber Manager Andrea Culy. With Weber’s resignation and the death of Patti Woods, the banquet will be organized by chamber board members Amy Newport, Mike Hall and Lerena Ruby, along with Culy and Hobbs, who is continuing as a chamber volunteer.

The 2011 banquet is being moved to the Sweet Home High School cafeteria in case the basketball team hosts a playoff game again this year, Culy said. Last year, the banquet had to be rescheduled when the basketball team hosted a playoff game.

The banquet can’t be bumped this year, Culy said, because the chamber is using local restaurants to provide food, including prime rib from The Point, salads from Mr. Lucky’s Deli, breadsticks from All-Star Pizza and dessert from Spoleto’s Pizzeria.

Local farms also will provide food in keeping with the theme, “Down on the Farm,” Culy said.

The chamber is taking nominations for awards until Feb. 18, Culy said. Applications are available at the chamber office or by calling (541) 367-6186.

In other areas, the chamber is upgrading and changing its website to match the style of the upcoming Sweet Home Economic Development Group website, Culy said.

Quarterly luncheons begin on Jan. 21, she said. After the City Council approved the new sign ordinance, the councilors and representatives of the chamber talked about the chamber taking the lead on improving the appearance of signs in Sweet Home.

The luncheon program will be “Creating a Welcoming Exterior,” Culy said. Economic Development Director Brian Hoffman will talk about the Commercial Exterior Improvement Program while Chris Pinto, who does design work for the chamber and local businesses, will explain ways that the Chamber of Commerce can help. Ruby will talk about window decoration, tips and signage.

The program may be especially helpful to those who may need a new sign and looking for someone to design it and ways to pay for it, Culy said.

“We’re letting them know what resources are available to erect a welcoming exterior.”

The luncheon is 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 21 in the Sweet Home Police Department conference room.

After Hours events are scheduled for the year, Culy said. The next one is Jan. 26 at Sweet Home Funeral Chapel. Those visiting will get a look at the new building.

It is co-sponsored by Laveta Ruth’s, the new bakery located across the street from Sweet Home High School, at 15th and Long.

The next meeting of the new Sportsman’s Holiday committee is 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the Sweet Home Police Department.

The last meeting was Jan. 6. Eight members showed up to talk about pooling resources to develop regional marketing and make sure Sportsman’s Holiday schedules fit together.

Events that still need volunteers include the Sweet Home Rodeo, the new street fair and Chips ’n’ Splinters.

“I just want to encourage everybody to come on Feb. 3 if they’re passionate about Sportsman’s Holiday,” Culy said.

The chamber’s 2011 coupon book and visitor guides are launching at the banquet on March 5, Culy said. The chamber is looking for participation from businesses. Participation in the coupon book is free, and the chamber is selling advertising in the guide.

For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at (541) 367-6186.