Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record
SnoValley Chamber President, Earl Bell, speaks at the Aug. 9 Snoqualmie city council meeting, after receiving a community service award from the city.

Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record SnoValley Chamber President, Earl Bell, speaks at the Aug. 9 Snoqualmie city council meeting, after receiving a community service award from the city.

SnoValley Chamber president receives community service award

In March 2020, while many businesses were beginning to reel from the pandemic, Earl Bell, president of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, sat down with chamber executive director Kelly Coughlin to discuss how they could best serve the community.

The two decided that the best way to help was by providing a space for connection, hosting a weekly Zoom meeting, and allowing businesses to explain their challenges to one another.

“I distinctly remember saying this is a time when the chamber can hide or acknowledge the fire in front of us,” Bell said. “We thought the best way to serve was to listen.”

For his work leading the community through the last year and half, the City of Snoqualmie recognized Bell with a community service award at its city council meeting on Aug. 9.

At the meeting, Mayor Matt Larson praised Bell for stepping up at a time when many community leaders were unsure how to proceed, noting that all the work he did was on a volunteer basis.

“We thought, how in the world are we going to lead the community through this challenge,” Larson said. “Earl had the courage, temperament and exuberant optimism to take hold.”

During the pandemic, the meetings held by Bell and Coughlin quickly became critical in allowing valley businesses and nonprofits to innovate, collaborate and get advice. The meetings even provided services to help businesses navigate the complicated process of receiving federal funding and grants though the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program.

The meetings also provided a space for politicians to speak directly to residents in the community. State Sen. Mark Mullet, and Reps. Bill Ramos and Lisa Callan showed up to the meetings on a regular basis. King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert showed up to nearly every meeting.

“Earl is the kind of person you could celebrate on an everyday basis. He invites you in all kinds of ways,” Lambert said. “[He] has done so much for everyone in this area, and has been a real pillar in this community.”

Larson said the discussion at these meetings helped influence legislation at the local and state level. Bell said he felt the meetings were helpful in showing politicians what the pain was like at a street level.

“It was a crazy year, obviously. It sucked in a number of ways, but it warmed my heart,” Bell said.

Bell said he was honored to receive the award from the city, but said it was silly for just him to receive it, given how many people in the community showed up during the pandemic. Bell particularly praised Coughlin.

“I feel privileged to work with her,” he said. “She’s a tireless advocate and the community is lucky to have her.”

After five years at the chamber, including three as its president, Bell and his family will be moving to Arizona. However, Bell, who works as a strategic advisor and business coach, will continue to support business in the valley. During the pandemic, he learned how to perform his job remotely.

“During my first year, I was happy just to be at the table,” he said. “At the end of five years, I’m just grateful for having the opportunity to work with amazing people, and call many of them friends, and to know that the work we did positively impact the lives of our community.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

Sno-Valley Chamber CEO Kelly Coughlin; Lucas Haines, Volition Brewing owner and current President of the North Bend Downtown Foundation; North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland; Rob and Laurie Wesorick; Celeste Coxen; Wendy and Chris Stone. For information on this new venue, contact Chris Stone at chris@pearlandstonewine.com.
Pearl and Stone Wine Company opens tasting room

Pearl and Stone Wine Company’s new tasting room held its grand opening… Continue reading

Big Island Poke in Renton (courtesy of The Intentionalist Facebook page)
Small-business advocacy group wants you to try minority-owned businesses and put it on their tab

The Intentionalist is opening up $400 tabs for folks to use this weekend at select businesses.

Wells Fargo opened a new bank branch July 29 at 250 Bendigo Blvd. S. in North Bend. Pictured left to right: SnoValley Chamber Executive Director Kelly Coughlin; Wells Fargo employees David Vu, Zuleyka Corro, Chris Hansen (back row), Roselyn Osuagwu and Jacob McBride; North Bend Councilmember Mary Miller and North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record
Wells Fargo opens new branch in North Bend

Wells Fargo opened a new bank branch July 29 at 250 Bendigo… Continue reading

T
Here’s how Buckshot Honey got its name

Snoqualmie business celebrates first anniversary after opening during pandemic.

Eastside King County restaurant owners discuss challenges with U.S. Rep Suzan DelBene at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond. (Photo credit: Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
Restaurant owners discuss labor difficulties with U.S Rep. Suzan DelBene

Experienced service and kitchen staff are reportedly hard to hire as food service reopens.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Katie Podschwit, Dorie Ross, Kristen Schumacher, Heather Dean and Julie Chung, owners of Chickadee Bakeshop, Heirloom Cookshop and Snoqualmie Ice Cream are opening a new location in Snoqualmie this summer.
Three Valley businesses team up for Snoqualmie venture

Snoqualmie Ice Cream, Chickadee Bakeshop and Heirloom Cookshop will soon be opening in Snoqualmie.

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading

Fuzzy Fletcher's Buffalo Bladeworks workshop. Contributed by Fuzzy Fletcher
Former Snoqualmie mayor branches into knife making

Fuzzy Fletcher is no stranger to tools. He’s been a toolmaker and… Continue reading

Screenshot
North Bend’s Taste of Sno-Valley energy bars win award

Sno-Valley’s Cynergy energy bar won the New Product Award from the Specialty… Continue reading

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.