You have a business idea? We have Co.Starters®

co.starters logo

You have a business idea? We have Co.Starters®
By Justin Aufdermauer

There are a lot of sayings that regularly make me cringe, but not many more than “Someone needs to start a [fill in the blank] in town” or “We don’t need [this], we need [that].” Listen, this isn’t Sim City and capable entrepreneurs are a unique piece of the population. We need more entrepreneurs who have solid plans, access to capital, and the grit to tackle the risks of entrepreneurship.

Most often as a membership organization our efforts are focused on supporting existing businesses. However, last week we took a step toward begining to build entrepreneurs by hosting a Co.Starters Boot Camp. This was a two-day workshop chock full of curriculum to help aspiring entrepreneurs fine-tune their plan and determine the best way to move forward. This Bootcamp was only the third one hosted nationwide and is somewhat of a precursor for their full, 10-session Co.Starters Core program. At Boot Camp, six local aspiring entrepreneurs had what may be the most hand on and collaborative workshop I have witnessed. Attendees left inspired, and with a path to navigate many of the questions for their business ideas that remain unanswered; I look forward to seeing their progress through the built-in follow up over the next ninety days.

Co.Starters,® a national program brought to Oregon by Reinventing Rural and the Foundry Initiative, takes you from business idea to accessing  capital. The full 10-session course is a step-by-step process for testing your idea, then developing a business and financial plan. Once the program is completed, participants can qualify for a crowd-sourced, interest-free KIVA loan. What your plan raises on KIVA can be matched 3X by a community fund from Umpqua Bank – also interest free.

We are excited to work with Reinventing Rural, The Foundry Initiative, and Tillamook Coast Visitors Association to take additional steps towards building entrepreneurs by bringing Co.Starters Core to Tillamook in mid-January.

There is no fee to participate in this first cohort, however space is extremely limited and may be competitive. Those with interest can begin the selection process at

Join Us in China!

Justin Aufdermauer at Great Wall of China

While we have several important things happening right now in the community, I wanted to give you a brief update on our China trip.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to experience another culture, look no further than the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce. We are hosting an all-inclusive trip to China on April 15-24, 2017. And, there is still time to sign up!

This trip is a partnership with Citslinc International and includes stops in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzou. There will be opportunities to visit historical sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Ming Tombs, Tian An Men Square, and more. Not to mention plenty of opportunities to visit with local Chinese industries. An additional tour will take those interested to see the Terra Cotta Warriers.

This trip is perfect for all ages and we already have people signed up who range from six years in age to nearly 80 years old. You’re never too old – or too young – to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The cost is $2,299 and includes airfare from Seattle, hotel accommodations at 4- and 5-star hotels, three meals a day and professional drivers and tour guides.

I had the pleasure of taking this exact trip several years ago and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the experience. This is by far one of the most affordable ways to experience this unique country and learn more about the Chinese culture.

Citslinc Internationals only offers trips at this rate for Chambers of Commerce,. Myself and several Chamber Directors were treated to this trip so that we could experience it before offering the opportunity to our communities as a way to financially support the Chamber. The Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce wasn’t necessarily intending to offer a trip to China, however several members of our community have asked us for it so we decided to give it a go.

And it has been a great success already. So far, more than 60 people have signed up!  We have room to take a total of 80. There is a $100 discount if the fee is paid in full by cash or check. Otherwise, a $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. The remainder is due by Dec. 15, 2016.

You can find more details on our Facebook page ‘Tillamook Chamber China Trip’ or by contacting the Chamber Visitors Center at 503-842-7525 or emailing

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact us anytime at


Time to Nominate your Favorite Business

Tillamook Chamber of Commerce location

School is back in session, the days are getting shorter and there is a cold nip in the air. Yes, it must mean that fall is upon us. That time of year when we gather together with our families around our favorite foods, uphold traditions, exchange gifts, and remember what we are thankful for.

It’s also time to pause and reflect on those in the community who have had a positive impact on our lives, and that we would like to say “thank you” to. Tillamook County has had a great deal of change and growth this year, and it’s been exciting to watch and enjoy the benefits of these new additions to our area.

Which is why each year in January, the Chamber recognizes those businesses, organizations, and people who have helped make Tillamook a special place to live. At our annual banquet we hand out awards in five categories: Business of the Year; Small Business of the Year; Development Project of the Year; Citizen of the Year; and Junior Citizen of the Year (under 20). Our purpose is to say thank you, and to let all those nominated know that we appreciate and value their time, commitment, and investment in our community.

But in order to hand out these awards, we need you – the community – to make your nominations. This is your chance to say thank you to those businesses and organizations that have made a difference in your life. Let’s let them know how much we appreciate their hard work and the efforts they make each and every day to enhance our lives.

If you yourself are a businesses owner you know that compliments and appreciation can sometimes be few and far between, but they go along way. So I’m encouraging everyone – whether you are a business owner, employee, volunteer, or just someone who calls this place home – to take some time and nominate your favorite businesses and those making positive improvements to our area.

Nomination forms are available at or at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. Applications must be in by Dec. 20, 2016.

Downtown walking maps aim to increase visitor spending

Downtown Tillamook Walking Map

Last winter, the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce was fortunate enough to receive a Tourism Promotions Grant from Visit Tillamook Coast to create a downtown walking map. Our goal was to produce a tool that would generate more foot traffic in the heart of Tillamook.

The rational behind these maps is that people shopping downtown – particularly visitors to the area – aren’t aware of how many different types of businesses are just within walking distance.

As you probably, know, our downtown has a lot to offer. From frozen yogurt to gourmet cupcakes, yarn and fabric stores, handmade soaps, florists, and vintage thrift shops… There are all kinds of things to explore and do in an afternoon.

And one thing our downtown business owners continue to be great at is interacting with their customers and making sure they know of other nearby places to visit. Now, thanks to the downtown walking map, they have a convenient tool they can reference and that helps visitors gain a better picture of our downtown.

Jackie Ripley, who co-owns Madeline’s Vintage Market Place on Third Street, said that her customers have responded positively to the new map – particularly those from out of state.

Jackie is one who has always done a great job of recommending her fellow downtown business (such as Sunflower Flats, Blue Moon Café, and the Phoenix Exchange) to her customers depending on what else they’re looking for. Now, she said she can easily show them how to get anywhere in downtown Tillamook.

And, she’s had several people in her shop who found her thanks to the downtown walking map.

Along with a printed version that can be picked up for free at the Chamber Visitor Center and different downtown business, there is also a web-based version available at under the ‘downtown’ menu.

The web-based map utilizes GPS and the location services available on mobile devices to direct mobile users easily throughout the downtown area. Users can enter their location and see exactly how close they are to different downtown businesses. It also lets user search for what type of business they’re looking for. So whether it’s a cup of coffee, a place to eat, a manicure or an ice cream cone, the map lists the different options available, as well as how far away they are, addresses and phone number. Users can click ‘take me there’ which redirects to Google maps with an exact walking route to their destination.

This new downtown walking map is a free service for Chamber members in downtown. Other businesses can have their listing added to the map for a small fee by contacting the Chamber at the email below.

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact us anytime at

BOLI Supervisor Training Comes to Tillamook

Tillamook Bay Community College

With a variety of recent changes in workplace laws, the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Tillamook Bay Community College to bring a six-part supervisor training series to Tillamook. Trainers from the Bureau of Labor and Industries Technical Assistance Program will conduct the trainings. Each session is held at the TBCC campus.

“There has been a lot of changes in workplace laws in just this year alone,” said Justin Aufdermauer, the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “We wanted to offer an opportunity where supervisors, managers, and business owners could get up to speed on what these new laws are and how they may affect their business and business practices.”

Over the course of three months, the training will focus on the basics of supervision and employment laws. Each session is three hours and addresses a specific aspect of supervision and applicable laws.

Those interested can choose to attend only one session, pick a few, or take the entire series. Sessions build on knowledge skills attained from prior sessions, and useful reference materials and handouts will be provided.

“We want to make sure our business owners and supervisors feel supported as they navigate through these new laws,” Aufdermauer continued, “and that they come away from the series with the knowledge and understanding they need to implement best business practices.”

The first session begins Sept. 23 and the last one wraps up on Nov. 23. Each session is from 9am – 12 pm at the main Tillamook Bay Community College campus.
Attendees are encouraged to register ahead of time by contacting Tammie Samagaio at or by calling (503) 842-7525. Sessions are $60 a piece, or $225 for the full series.


Session 1 – The Basics (9/23: 9am – 12pm)

Discussion of effective supervisory practices; at-will employment and its exceptions; Civil Rights laws and protected classes; and understanding and avoiding workplace harassment.

Session 2 – Hiring Employees (9/30: 9am – 12pm)

Effective and legal hiring practices; starting employees on the right foot; employee orientation; the use of employee handbooks and policies; setting goals and expectations.

Session 3 – Protected Leave (10/14: 9am – 12pm)

Basics of family leave laws including OFLA, FMLA, injured workers and ADA.

Session 4 – Basics of Wage and Hour Laws for Supervisors (10/28: 9am – 12 pm)

Hours worked; overtime; rest and meal periods; timekeeping; and paydays.

Session 5 – Employee Management – Part 1 (11/4: 9am – 12pm)

Setting expectations; position descriptions; performance appraisals; coaching for desired employee performance; and documentation.

Session 6 – Employee Management – Part 2 (11/18: 9am – 12 pm)

Workplace investigations; conducting disciplinary meetings; termination; post-termination issues; and best practices of effective supervisors.

Hwy 101/6 Project Update

Highway 101/6 Project Information

Thank you to everyone who showed up last week for the “Meet the Contractor’ event. It was a great launching point for the 33 million dollar Highway 101/6 Project, and gave business owners the opportunity to rub elbows with the friendly folks from Oregon State Bridge Construction (OSBC) and ask some direct questions – all while grabbing a complimentary rootbeer float courtesy of Pelican Brewing Co. and the Tillamook County Creamery Association.

During the event, OSBC unveiled their two-year construction schedule. While the dates are approximate and may change under circumstances, we will be receiving a three-week ‘look-ahead’ schedule at the regular construction meetings and will keep you posted on key changes as the project proceeds.

A much-discussed topic was access to businesses during construction. It was highlighted that, throughout the project, sustaining two lanes of traffic on both Main and Pacific is a key goal. There may be temporary lane closures, but there will not be a bypass around the downtown. The couplets will flow, although parking on Main or Pacific may be removed for extended periods of time. Some side streets, such as Second Avenue where the new plaza is being built, may face extended closure while it is being reconstructed.

There is also a contractual requirement that ADA-compliant pedestrian routes be maintained through downtown. While the exact configurations of those routings remain to be determined, we will let you know as soon as possible.

In summary, the project schedule was developed in response to commitments made both to the city and business community. These include:

  • Avoiding construction that impacts traffic in the downtown couplet area during the summer months
  • When working in the downtown area, the contractor is limited to replacing the sidewalk on one side of the roadway at a time within a city block
  • Access must be provided to one corner of a city block at all times.
  • Access to business doorways must be maintained.

OSBC also recently announced that nightwork has begun at the intersections of First Street with Main and Pacific. This will continue into the next week with intersection work on Third and Pacific. The nightwork is to prepare for the new signal light installations and may involve concrete-cutting, drilling, and back-up beepers, in addition to bright lighting. It might get loud, so have patience because it will be short lived.

5 Benefits to being a Chamber Member

Tillamook River

Here is a question I hear a lot: “why should I be a member of the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce? What’s in it for me?”

It’s a valid question. If you’re spending money on any service, you want to know that it’s working for your business and making a difference. So here are five benefits your business could experience right now by being a member of the Chamber today:

  1. As a Chamber member, we are here to be the best resource possible for you and your business. Admittedly the Chamber cannot help you with everything, however we are positive we can help point you in the right direction. Although we will help anyone and everyone, being a member clearly puts you at the top of our to-do list. We partner with different agencies to bring business development trainings to our area and will be expanding this service over the next year. And, in the near future we will be offering assistance to help member businesses write and obtain local grants. As a member you are the first to know about these programs and will receive discounted registrations, or be able to attend for free in some cases.
  2. Enhanced Livability. The intangible benefit of becoming a Chamber member – yet the most beneficial – is being the financial support that allows the Chamber to continue to do the work in the community that we do for the good of everyone. This includes organizing events such as the Cork & Brew and the June Dairy Parade. It means designing the downtown walking map and new Tillamook Living Calendar. It also means addressing community needs – like working with ODOT on local traffic issues and organizing the downtown cleanup. There are a significant number of things the Chamber is involved in that enhance the livability of our community. A financial contribution in the form of Chamber membership supports all of these things and more. Together we are making our community a better place to both live and spend money.
  3. Having an Advocate. You’re probably too busy to keep up with everything that happens in government – both locally and statewide. And that’s OK. Being a Chamber member means you always have an advocate in local and state-wide government issues. We work to create a balanced dialogue between government and the business community. We always advocate for free enterprise and oppose new taxes and fees that are aimed directly at businesses. You can rest assured that you will have a voice in issues that affect you.
  4. Direct referrals. It may be hard to believe in this Internet age where Google is a household name, but often when people are looking for a particular type of business, product, or service they contact the Chamber. We get calls from people every day inquiring about potential vendors. A primary group we hear from are local businesses asking if anyone in the area provides what they are looking for. We may be a small community, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows everything about the business community and what is available. As a Chamber member, you have more opportunities to gain these valuable referrals, both from the Chamber directly and other Chamber members.
  5. Indirect referrals and visibility. Not to devalue the last point, but membership is relatively inexpensive, averaging from $195 to $330 per year. The amount of visibility you receive online and in print is the best exposure you can spend your advertising dollar on. We say that with confidence! Your business is included in three different online directories, receiving tens of thousands of visits. This helps your own business website retain a higher listing on Google searches. Our membership directory is also printed in 100,000 visitor guides each year, and we have another local publication in the works. And for those who thrive from tourism, don’t forget that Chamber members can display their marketing materials in the Visitor Center. We love knowing that whether you provide a local service or a tourism-related service, we are your best investment dollar for dollar.

Those are just five ways you generate more income for your business by being a Chamber member. I would love to talk to you more about other ways the Chamber can help your business thrive. If you have questions or would like a membership application please email us below.

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact us anytime at



Welcome to the Dairylands

GoTillamook Dairylands

If you haven’t visited our website,, in awhile, then I encourage you to check it out soon. We just completed a massive, comprehensive redesign that will better serve our community and those visiting the area.

In fact, was redesigned with the visitor in mind. We needed a venue where we could share experiences available in our region. If someone is looking for great fishing, the best place to go for breakfast, a rigorous hike or a unique family adventure, they can find all that information in an easy-to-navigate website. Because the last thing we want to do is make it harder for our visitors to find the information they need. If they’re looking for a hotel number, website, directions or prices we’ve made sure that information is easily accessible.

In addition to being easy to navigate, highlights the lifestyles and attractions of our region in a visually appealing format. We’re showcasing the very best that Tillamook County has to offer with bold, vibrant photos. These are photos of our business owners, our families, our favorite activities, and of course our beautiful scenery. We believe this visual approach tells our story better because visitors will know exactly what to expect when they get here: they can expect friendly faces, plenty of things to do, delicious food, and new friends.

We’ve also added a link on the homepage that links to our Tillamook Living calendar. The Tillamook Living calendar is a one-stop shop for meetings, events, classes, performing arts, and more. It will eventually be fully integrated across the county so that you never miss what is going on in the area.

And finally, last winter we received a Tourism Promotions Grant from Visit Tillamook Coast for a downtown map. There are print versions available at the Visitors Center and local businesses, and a web-based version can be found under the ‘downtown’ menu on The web-based map utilizes GPS and the location services available on mobile devices to direct mobile users easily throughout the downtown area. The goal is to help visitors discover more things to do in our downtown.

As with all websites, is not stagnant. As information and needs change, we will work to continually build and adjust this website to best suit the needs of our visitors.

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact us anytime at

Tillamook Living Calendar

Tillamook Living Event Calendar

Almost since the day I was hired as Executive Director of the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce, members of the community have been asking for a calendar of all events that spans the entire region.

I know what you’re thinking: we already have calendars that do that. True, we have calendars. There are several out there that offer information about local events, meetings, volunteer opportunities, and more. However if you’re not checking all of these calendars then you are missing a lot of great opportunities to explore new things, attend a local government meeting, or learn a new hobby.

What I’ve learned through listening to people and organizations is that we don’t need another calendar – we need an integrated calendar.

That’s where the Chamber’s new, community-wide calendar comes in. Currently located at, this calendar will not only be cohesive, it will also soon integrate with other calendars across the entire region and be available in multiple locations.

What that means is when an event is entered into one of the pre-existing calendars, it can automatically show up on the Tillamook Living calendar. Or, when you submit an event directly to the Chamber’s calendar, it will populate the other calendars across the county. Now, no matter where you go to find information on what is happening in our community, you won’t miss a thing.

The Tillamook Living calendar is a one-stop shop for meetings, events, classes, performing arts, and more. The search function allows you to narrow your results by a specific organization, type of activity, or by date and time. If you’re only interested in family-friendly activities, or live music, you can search specifically for those.  What about a local author reading in the area? Or a photography class? It’s easy to narrow your search to only see what you’re interested in. And, it’s fun and simple to use.

Submitting an event is just as easy as searching for one. All you do is click on the ‘submit an event’ button and fill out the form. You can select more than one category that describes your event so it will show up in the proper searches. You have the option to upload a photo, a link to your website, or a Google map link. If it’s a reoccurring event, fill out the requirements under the ‘reoccurrence rules.’ It’s that simple.

While this calendar is still a work in progress and is not yet fully integrated across the county, you can still visit it at to search for things to do and/or upload your events.

If you want to install this calendar on your website or integrate your current calendar please let us know. The calendar is open for everyone and we look forward to forging lasting partnerships for the betterment of the region.

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact us anytime at

Welcome to Chamber Chatter

Tillamook Chamber Downtown Cleanup

The Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce has been a staple in Tillamook County since 1931. We are the largest network of businesses and organizations in the county.

But what exactly does that mean?

It means we are a community; a community of business owners, entrepreneurs and organizations who all want a robust and vibrant community for our citizens. We have more than 280 members in the Chamber who actively work together to create this type of business community. We are always growing, improving, and learning from each other.

When people think of the Chamber of Commerce they may recall the Tillamook Bay Run, or perhaps they’ve attended our awards ceremony in January. What they may not know is how myself, the Chamber Board of Directors, and Chamber members are constantly advocating for economic growth in Tillamook County.

With this new column, I will be bringing you weekly updates about the Chamber and the things we are involved in within the community. You’ll learn about new developments downtown, new businesses, and you’ll learn about the tools and resources that we offer our members to help them succeed. You’ll read more about our events, and what being a member of the Chamber means. I’ll share with you some exciting updates we are working on at the Chamber that will help visitors to our community experience more of what we have to offer.

The idea behind Chamber Chatter is to better inform our readers about the many ways the Chamber is involved in the community, and how we continue to be a leader for economic growth and vitality in our county. This column will be your “go to” place for Chamber news and information.

Speaking of which, stop by and see us at the Tillamook County Fair on Aug. 10-13. Each day our booth will feature one of our Chamber-member businesses, as well as information about the Chamber and some brand new apparel.

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact me anytime at