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Snohomish chamber refocusing with future plans

Michael Whitney photo

Snohomish Chamber director Nancy Keith presents at the Jan. 16 chamber meeting.

SNOHOMISH — Changes are happening at the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce.
Its membership is growing, and it has ideas for adding more workshops and eventually creating a permanent business development hub.
It’s also bowing out of running the Easter Parade after 41 years as well as retiring the annual GroundFrog Day celebration after this weekend. The all-volunteer organizers of Kla Ha Ya Days are stepping up to run the Easter Parade.
Chamber director Nancy Keith and president Bill Webster II outlined the plans during a “State of the Chamber” presentation at last week’s monthly chamber meeting.
The Easter Parade is being handed to Kla Ha Ya Days’ all-volunteer group of organizers.
In 2023, the chamber added 77 members, launched a quarterly workshop series and more. They will continue running the fall car show, the monthly Engage Snohomish networking event and smaller lunch meetings.
It’s launching a Monday morning motivational speaker event which starts Feb. 5 with Sara Centanni, a life coach.
The chamber also hopes to create a young professionals group, Keith said.
The chamber’s membership is currently hovering around 260 members.
Keith said the chamber is handing off the Easter Parade because its resources are being stretched thin.
“We’ve had a large influx of businesses (...) and that’s our mission is serving the business community, and with our staff resources, we had to make decisions,” Keith said.
The chamber’s president Webster also happens to co-lead Kla Ha Ya Days, the weeklong summertime shindig. Keith said Webster felt the Easter Parade was a good fit for the group.
The chamber started the parade in 1981 in part to feature businesses. Keith said this year’s parade won’t feel any different than past years. Midnight Cry Church will continue its bonnet contest, she said.
In five years it wants to create a permanent space. The space would include an area for helping entrepreneurs get off the ground.
Ideas are still being bounced around, but Keith said “what we’re wanting is a space for chamber offices, a place where we can have board meetings, smaller workshops and potential space where we can do a business incubator.” It also might function as a city visitor’s information center, like what Monroe’s and Sultan’s chambers do.
“It’s a lofty goal but we’re excited to move in that direction,” Keith said.
More immediately, the chamber is preparing for its annual Wine Festival March 2 which is one of its big fundraisers. Ticket sales are going well, Keith said. Last year had more than 600 attendees and it raised about $25,000, she said.
The chamber conducts monthly meetings and quarterly workshops.
Past quarterly workshops have discussed business coaching, media coaching and entrepreneur business management.
This year’s slate will be all different topics, Keith said.
Monthly member meetings are the third Tuesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Snohomish Faith Church, 1220 22nd St. Lunch is $25.



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