Chamber can help you get plugged in locally

Guest Column

What do you get when you cross a pizza maker, a massage therapist and a financial planner?

A) 60-minute conversations about cheesy retirees.

B) Well-kneaded pie dough.

C) A Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce event (hint – it’s this one).

Hundreds of Valley businesses have long realized the benefits of joining the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce (SVCC). Many Chamber members have made lifelong friendships, and have had loads of fun enjoying fellow businesspeople at after-hours, luncheons and other events.

These days the Chamber is still having fun, but we’re also getting serious about fulfilling our mission: promoting and maintaining a healthy economic environment within the community.

The Valley is undergoing drastic growing pains: Snoqualmie is about to double its population; North Bend has been the victim of a silly water moratorium for way too long; parking and traffic snarls irritate both towns; a budget crisis in Olympia threatens our parks; and a nationwide recession creates general malaise.

Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses (and residents!) to get involved to help alleviate the pain. One way to do this efficiently is to join the SVCC. As a member, you’ll instantly have a stronger voice in the community, and you’ll help your own business in the process. Specifically, membership in the SVCC gives you a chance to:

* Network. An overused word for an underused tool. Whether you want to fill or get a job, or if you just want to socialize, Chamber events provide interactive opportunities. This is especially great for us home-office-bound folks, who need some motivation to get out of our sweatpants and rejoin society.

* Attract more customers. The annual Chamber directory goes out to more than 250 member businesses and to thousands of others in the region. Membership gets you a listing in this directory and on the SVCC’s Web site. And the monthly newsletter lets you submit news for free, or you can pay for a special full-page flyer.

* Participate in local politics. The Chamber recently launched a Governmental Affairs Committee, which stays on top of public policies that affect your business. Most importantly, it’s a bullhorn through which members can voice their collective positions regarding issues that may drastically alter the economic climate in the Valley. Recent concerns that we’ve made some noise about include the headset-while-driving requirement for cellular phones and the proposed comprehensive plan amendments. We’ll also be getting very involved in the upcoming mayoral and City Council elections.

* Get empowered to influence state and regional politics. The SVCC belongs to the East King County Coalition of Chambers, a powerful caucus that also includes Redmond, Bellevue, Issaquah and Mercer Island. An SVCC delegate actively participates in formulating positions and lobbying state officials on behalf of SVCC members.

In this time of fast-paced community evolution, we all need to contribute our talents and our opinions to ensure that the Valley stays charming and fabulous, profitable and competitive. Join the Chamber today and help us reach this balance.

Business of the Month

Congratulations to Frankie’s Pizza! Chris Garcia and his team not only serve up some of the tastiest slices this side of the Hudson River, they also generously contribute a lot of time and food to local charities and causes.

Call (425) 888-4477 for free delivery.

Chamber meetings

and events

General membership lunch: June 14, noon at the Mount Si Senior Center.

After-hours: May 29, 5:30 p.m. at Wilderness Glass.

Chamber news

Everyone is invited to our general meetings and after-hours events – please join us! For more details, please see our Web site: www.sno, or call Lisa Schaffer at (425) 888-4440.

Jennifer Lynham is co-chairwoman of the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee.