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Snoqualmie Valley Chamber to change focus

The Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce is hoping to improve its service by cutting back on some events and focusing on helping its local business members.

"It's with an eye toward what our business members need and what we've found is that all our businesses are busy," said Larry Brown, president of the chamber. "We don't believe that we do them a great service by giving them more things to do."

Brown said the chamber has evaluated all the activities it hosts throughout the year and asked how much benefit each event provides to the business members.

"If it doesn't provide a whole lot of benefit, while it may be a fun event or an event with broader community value, we've decided to cut it," he said.

Among the events being cut are the "Santa Breakfast," the annual "Monster Mystery Madness Auction" and the "Bite of the Valley." Brown said another sponsor may take over for one or more of the events.

"There has been some interest expressed, particularly with respect to the Santa Breakfast," he said. "I would expect that will continue with another sponsor."

The chamber will put most of its focus on the "Tour de Peaks," which will become its signature event, Brown said.

"We have retained a marketing consultant who will help us turn this into what we hope will become one of the largest events in the Valley," he said. "It will expose lots of people to the Valley and draw tourists in. We want people to come out here; we want them to experience this area and spend their money."

Brown said the goal is to double ridership this year for the bike race and to double it again next year. Last year's Tour de Peaks saw about 320 riders from all over the Puget Sound area. The bike ride takes place on Aug. 6 this year and features two 31-mile routes (or a combined 62-mile route), an eight-mile family route and a 14-mile mountain bike route.

The bike ride supports the purpose of the chamber, Brown said, which is to develop a healthy economic environment within the Valley.

"It's really to make sure that businesses thrive so that people who live here can work here and people who work here can live here," he said. "Our emphasis has always been to make it known that we have a lot of great businesses here and there's no reason to go outside for your services."

Brown said another idea he has to support local businesses is to create a business incubator. It would provide a place for businesses to get started in a central location where certain services would be provided, such as reception.

"That's something I would like to see off the ground," he said. "We're putting together a committee to explore that."

For information about the Tour de Peaks, visit www.tourdepeaks.com. For information about the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, visit www.snovalley.org or call (425) 888-4440.

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