2018 Year in Review


March 10, 2019

last year in review - 2018

The Board of Directors of Waitsburg Commercial Club would like to acknowledge and thank the Waitsburg Community for supporting this Chamber of Commerce and Waitsburg Businesses in 2018.

It has been a busy year promoting our City and continuing our mission of business retention and tourism.

In January 2018, we started the year completing our Waitsburg promotional pages in the Walla Walla Visitor Guide. The Visitor Guide prints over 30,000 copies annually and is distributed to Boise, Spokane, Seattle, TriCities, Portland and throughout the Northwest. In addition, Commercial Club uses the Guide as a tool for business recruitment and advertising our businesses and community to visitors. The Guide travels with our board for distribution wherever we travel, coast to coast. As we attend meetings and events, it is handed out and displayed on conference and exhibit tables, open to the Waitsburg pages.

Other promotional material is kept updated and handed out in many of the same venues; our Waitsburg  Meeting Planner Guide, our Waitsburg Overnight Rental Brochure, and our Waitsburg Celebration Days Program.

Commercial Club interacts throughout the year with many Waitsburg, Dayton, Milton Freewater and Walla Walla organizations which provides us opportunities to share Waitsburg information and utilize a synergy of community resources throughout our Valley.

In January,  we attended the Visit Walla Walla Annual Meeting,  learning about and interacting with the successes of our valley’s lead tourism agency. In addition, each month we attend Waitsburg City Council Meetings, Historical Society Meetings, Celebration Days Meetings, Walla Walla Chamber Business Meetings, Port of Walla Walla Economic Development Meetings, and Community Council Events such as the Blue Mountain Regional Trails Meetings. The Commercial Club Board meets the last Thursday of each month for lunch; Meetings are open to membership and interested community members. On January 31, we promoted and help host Whoop Em Up Wednesday.

February 2018, we took to the road to promote Waitsburg Celebration Days and its Brewfest at the Palouse Cabin Fever Brewfest. February, also, saw us co-hosting the Celebration Days Coronation Dinner as we crowned Makenna Barron Celebration Days Queen; Makenna hit the ground running for a whirlwind of parades and rodeos promoting Waitsburg  from horseback. Closing February activities was the Columbia Hospital Ribbon Cutting for the new Physical Therapy remodel at Dayton General Hospital.

March 2018, Commercial Club participated in the WSDOT Hwy 12 informational open house in Touchet and the Dayton Chamber Brix and Brew. The month ended with our Board Meeting and planning session for our Community Service and Annual Meeting and another great Whoop Em Up Wednesday. This month we partnered with the Union Bulletin to feature Waitsburg Overnight Rentals in the 2018 Hotel Wrap which goes around the newspapers that are delivered to the hotels in the area every day; 100 papers everyday for nine months out of the year.

In April, 2018, we participated in the Annual Community Meeting as a member and Board Executive for Blue Mountain Resource Conservation and Development. This was the month we, also, had our Commercial Club Annual Meeting where we announce our Community Service, Business of the Year, and Employee of the Year Award; honored this year were Laht Neppur, BA Keve, Justin Gleason and Mike Hubbard. In addition to attending many other monthly meetings, April is the month Commercial Club, as a member of the Celebration Days Committee, starts hunkering down for next month’s event with planning sessions:  ATV; Antique Auto Show planning; Brats, Beer, Band and Bonfire; Brewfest; Cowboy Church. Many of these require appearing with other Celebration Day Planners at Columbia and Walla County Commission Meetings for permissions.

May 2018, we visited Chelan on behalf of Community Council and the BMRT Stakeholders Group to Support Andrea Weckmueller Behringer as she accepted an award from the Association of Washington Planners for the extraordinary effort she led in bringing a diverse, community wide group of people together to successfully plan a regional nonmotorized trail system from Dayton to Umatilla County. From Chelan, we traveled from Brewery to Brewery in Central and Eastern Washington advertising and inviting participation in our Waitsburg Celebration Days Brewfest. Many of our businesses and members of our executive board and membership participate in the Celebration Days organization and events. For the Eighth year, the third weekend in May event was an unqualified success thanks to the planning of the Celebration Days Committee. May is a busy event month, starting with the Lions Club Annual Rib Feed and ending with the Touchet Valley “Pig Roast” Celebration of Sobriety. 

In June, we had a wrap up party for Celebration Days. In addition to our regular schedule of community meetings, we participated in the Columbia County Community Health Conversation. This year, we extended our help to promoting the Waitsburg Fair, well planned and organized by Chair Sandra Farley. We finished off June, co hosting with Town Hall, the first Candidate Forum of 2018 featuring all candidates in our local voting district.

July starts preparation for the Blue Mountain Resource Conservation Annual Swim the Snake, cohosted by Commercial Club, planning and permissions are organized and finalized for the August event. Commercial Club was invited to be a part of the Community Council Topic Selection Committee and spent many hours and several meetings successfully advocating, with other participants, for the topic of “Affordable Housing”.  July 21, Commercial Club, with our Event Assistant  planner, Beka Adams Compton,  took our traveling dog and pony show to the Blue Mountain Station Foodstock where  we hosted the Beer garden. A Port of Walla Walla Economic Development Meeting and another fun Whoop Em Up Wednesday ended our month.

August 11, 2018, we cohosted the 6th Annual Swim the Snake with the Blue Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Council at Lyons Ferry helping to check in 35 swimmers and kayakers. An additional 100 or more people watched the event from the Snake River’s shores. Other regular attendance at community and valley meetings continued ending with our Board Meeting.

September found Commercial Club in Hood River promoting Waitsburg, Celebration Days and the Brewfest, and Swim the Snake with save the date cards handed out at the 75th Annual Roy Webster Channel Swim and to breweries in The Dalles, Hood River and John Day. We set up our Commercial Club Booth at the Columbia County Fair and won a red ribbon for our display promoting Waitsburg events and businesses. In the months prior to September, we promoted and helped advertise the Historical Society Fall Festival on September 16 and helped man the coffee/souvenir booth where we displayed our promotional products for distribution to participants

On September 18, we helped co host the first Whiskey Canyon Tuesday Prime Rib Sandwich Day with live music and great food. On September 22, under Ruth Peterson’s guidance, helped set up tables and service for the Lions Club Salmon Bake. September 23 found us in Portland at the Bloody Mary Festival handing our Save the Date cards for Celebration Days and inviting participants to our Brewfest. On the 26th, we hosted another Whoop Em Up Wednesday, followed by next day’s Commercial Club Meeting. The Columbia Hospital Board held their Board Meeting at Waitsburg Town Hall with Commercial Club acting as host on the 27th , ending our month.

October found us once again at Blue Mountain Station Oktoberfest Beer Garden promoting Waitsburg and Commercial Club. Commercial Club sat on the nominating committee for Community Council Board and suggested Randy Hinchliffe for the Community Council Oversight Board. October 16, we hosted another Whiskey Canyon Prime Rib Sandwich Tuesday with live music. In October, Commercial Club paid for and partnered with Ski Bluewood and the Walla Walla Choral Society to feature our member businesses on their web page, tv kiosks at the lodge and the Choral Performance Program. We met other Community Members at the Columbia Fair Arena to judge and select our new Celebration Days Royalty, Rebecca Holderman.  Our month ended with Boo Grass at the Plaza helping with fundraising serving wine and beer and Which Witch Wednesday at the Whoop.

A Community Council Full Circle Celebration kicked off November followed by Blush Salon’s Holiday Open House and Commercial Club Pop Up Event Downtown. We also did much advertising for our Magical History Tour which featured and promoted our Museums and local businesses. Joy met with Deb Fortner for a Sherwood Trust interview project for her Sherwood Trust Leadership Conference project.  Commercial Club had worked with Lydia Caudill of Sherwood Trust to nominate  community members for participation. The rest of the month was planning with Community Members and businesses for our Waitsburg Hometown Christmas.

And here comes the holidays with a community wide celebration, Waitsburg Hometown Christmas, on Saturday and Sunday, December 1&2. Sponsorships were received from Banner Bank, Dr. Randy and Becky Pearson, Waitsburg Times, and Lane Hill of Ten Ton Press. Waitsburg Hometown Christmas is a major budget expenditure of Commercial Club and is supported by dozens of community helpers.

One of several webinars happened again in December, including several Downtown promotional webinars throughout the year with the Milton Freewater Downtown Association. The Walla Walla Chamber Business After Hours Event yielded another of the many business leads and assistance requests Commercial Club receives throughout the year. Whoop Em Up Wednesday Spaghetti night and Holiday Sing Along was cohosted followed by Stocking Stuffer Saturday on Main Street. We finished our year with an early board meeting and quieted down to celebrate with our families.

For 2019, we are continuing our Program of Work and working to complete projects started in 2018. Thanks to a donation from Brooke Mikesell, Blush Salon, we will keep white lights on our street poles throughout the winter. Our mural project will go out for community funding. And we will work with the City of Waitsburg to create a community market in the lot between the Whoop Em Up and the old Anchor Bar. We have Wayfaring banners to be installed on street poles directing people to our museums, Fairgrounds, and Main Street.  A brochure rack has been given to us by the Port of Columbia and needs to be installed on Main Street. Our new web page will be completed and our Facebook promotions will continue to support our community and events. A new Facebook page “ What’s happening in Waitsburg” has been created for posting of positive community information. 

An inventory of business locations and info is provided to interested business owners; we have Port of Walla Walla handouts of our Waitsburg Business Park and, in 2017 and 2018, provided many informational tours to prospective businesses. We are working to secure shared office space for interested vendors and businesses. In  addition, Commercial Club invests much time and effort in promoting our event venues to meeting and event planners.

Commercial Club will continue to publish promotional material and provide PDFs of those materials for informational downloads. We will continue to support community events and community organizations. And through our Chamber meetings and workshops, we will continue to provide information and support to our business community. And we will continue to positively interact with our city and our valley’s economic development and non profit organizations.

Commercial Club has represented the Waitsburg Business Community as a 501C6 Chamber of Commerce since 1903. We support a vast program of work, our office space, phone, insurance, and promotional and event efforts with grants and local monetary support.

This is what we need from you, our business and community members- that you continue to endorse us through Annual Dues and event participation. And that you communicate your needs and wants via messages, emails or meeting attendance. We are sure that among our complete annual program of work, you can find much to support.

Thank you,

2018 Board

Joy Marie Smith, President

Terry Hofer, 1st Vice President, Antique Sales

Valerie Mudry, 2nd Vice President, Whoop Em Up Cafe

Brooke Mikesell, Secretary, Blush Salon

Fred Gonzalez, Treasurer, Silver Star Construction

Bill Rodgers, Director, Bill Rodgers Photography

Bev Rising, Director, Banner Bank

Patricia Sacha, Directors, Hidden Valley Farms

Randy Hinchliffe, City of Waitsburg

2019 Board

Joy Marie Smith, President

Brooke Mikesell, 1st Vice President, Blush Salon

Valerie Mudry, 2nd Vice President, Whoop Em Up Cafe

Jamie Allen, Secretary, Waitsburg Grocery

Fred Gonzalez, Treasurer, Silver Star Construction

Bill Rodgers, Director, Bill Rodgers Photography

Bev Rising, Director, Banner Bank

Patricia Sacha, Director, Hidden Valley Farms

Randy Hinchliffe, City of Waitsburg