Chamber News: Riverside Floral grows in-home business to full-scale storefront

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

Much like the plants on display in its windows, Downtown Tillamook’s newest store has a backstory rooted in growth.

What started as a seedling position as a wedding florist for a few friends flourished into a full-fledged business run out of a home. Then it grew more, moving into a back room at another downtown business until finally blossoming this fall into its own, stand-alone brick-and-mortar store.

“When I moved here in November of 1982, downtown was huge. Ever since then, it’s always been something I wanted to be involved in,” said Leilani Martin, who recently celebrated the grand opening of Riverside Floral, her new storefront at 2014 Second St. The locally owned florist and home décor store gives life to Martin’s years-long dream to run her own downtown business.

Leilani Martin, center, celebrates the ribbon cutting ceremony for Riverside Floral surrounded by her family, staff and partner vendors.

“I felt like we could really use another gift shop downtown,” Martin said. “And now, with everything that’s going on with the pandemic and staying indoors more, people can visit us to buy houseplants to bring a little bit of the outdoors in.”

Hooked on flowers

Martin’s time working with plants and flowers dates back several decades. She said she’s always been interested in learning about plants and flowers, and she’s an avid owner of houseplants herself.

“I just think it’s really interesting to learn about what each different plant needs to grow best,” she said.

She started helping with the floral department at the Tillamook County Fair in 1996, and she’s spent the last six years as one of the department superintendents. Her official foray into the floral business, though, happened in 2010.

“A friend asked me if I could do the flowers for a wedding, and I said yes,” Martin said. “After that, another friend asked. And then another. It kind of snowballed from there, and I got hooked on it.”

For several years, Martin created wedding arrangements through an at-home business she called Riverside Floral. Occasionally she sold houseplants and other floral products at regional retail bazaars. She also worked as a local beautician, a career she’s held for 40 years.

However, as she gained a reputation for beautiful arrangements, her floral business grew — and she began to look for a way to expand upon that interest.

Riverside Floral offers several different species of houseplants, ranging from flowering plants, leafy greenery and succulents. Owner Leilani Martin often provides caretaking advice for each species as customers check out.

She found a larger home for Riverside Floral last year, when she moved into a back room at West Elliott Boutique, a clothing store run by her extended family. Although the new location was a great start, Martin dreamt of growing even larger.

“At West Elliott, I didn’t have a cooler. I could have installed one, but I just felt like I needed more room,” Martin said. “When the space on the plaza opened up, and it had so much light, I decided to give it a try. I knew the houseplants would love those big windows.”

A new adventure

As Martin arranged to start her first brick-and-mortar storefront, she consulted her support system for advice. She said her husband, Jim, played a huge role in supporting her decision to switch directions from primarily styling hair to focusing on florals.

“At times, he’s not always so sure, but he’s always been a good support,” Martin said. “This is a new adventure for me, and I couldn’t have done this without him.”

Martin also relied on Sue Petty, one of her business mentors. The former owner of La Tea Da, Petty advised Martin to include home décor and gifts at her shop to help support sales.

Martin reached out to a few long-time friends and family members who she worked with at the bazaars to bring in additional products. Her partner vendors include Linda Masterson, who sells furniture; Nancy Reddekopp, who crafts birdhouses and signs; and Pink Eggert, who makes signs; and Stephanie Lewis, who offers vintage vases. The shop also stocks stationary, jewelry, throw pillows and blankets and other home goods.

“Having the gift shop is a new experience, but it’s a good fit,” Martin said.

The Riverside Floral storefront showcases a varied stock of houseplants, florals and home décor items arranged in realistic home setups, like the fireside living room setup shown here, to inspire interior design ideas for shoppers.

As her shop takes root, Martin hopes to further grow its offerings. She envisions a once-a-month event where shoppers can stop in for their morning coffee or a light lunch while they browse the stock.

She also looks forward to partnering with other downtown businesses and organizations, including the Tillamook Chamber of Commerce.

“As things start smoothing out, I’m excited to become more involved with the Chamber and other businesses to make downtown more supportive for our customers,” she said. “And I really want to hear from the customers as to what they would like. I just want to give back and add to the vibe in Downtown Tillamook.”

Hot off the press: Tillamook Living Magazine is officially in circulation

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

The second edition of the Tillamook Living Magazine arrived at the Chamber last month, and it feels like it’s all I’ve been able to talk about since. I see so much potential in this locally produced lifestyle and relocation guide, which is available through the Chamber and at several of our member businesses!

As you may already know, the Chamber started publishing Tillamook Living last year. The idea for the magazine was born out of several conversations with local businesses, organizations, real estate agents and other community leaders about how we could highlight our community to attract and retain talented workers, as well as help newcomers settle in as they moved to Tillamook.

This year the magazine went through a major redesign. We started from scratch, rewriting all the content, refreshing photos and constructing a totally new layout. Yes, it was intimidating to look at a blank sheet and build a 60-page publication. But the final product is a seriously impressive resource that the entire Chamber team can be proud of.

As part of the redesign — and building off my own background as a local reporter — we added space for six short articles that tell a deeper story of Tillamook.  I really love these articles, which cover everything from one resident’s discovery of outdoor recreational opportunities right in her backyard, to the reason why our county fair is better than the rest. They showcase the values and personality of this community in a way that an informational blurb about local services can’t. They add the “lifestyle” content to this lifestyle and relocation guide.

The plan is to change out those articles each edition of the magazine. That means there will always be something new to read in Tillamook Living and learn about this community — even if you’ve lived here your whole life.

Another one of my favorite parts of the magazine is how genuine it is. All of the content was written in-house at the Chamber, and the photos come from local photographers who have a special eye for what makes Tillamook great. This isn’t a promotional publication made by a company that has never been to Tillamook. It’s an authentic look at this place we call home, created by locals who not only live here but also care deeply for this community.

You can pick up a free copy of the Tillamook Living Magazine at Chamber HQ at 208 Main Ave. The magazine is also available at local businesses and realtor offices, including but not limited to the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, Tillamook PUD, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Roby’s Furniture and Appliance, YMCA, REMAX and Tillamook Bay Community College.

If you would like to receive a bundle of magazines to distribute through your business, please call the Chamber at 503-842-7525 or email info@tillamookchamber.org.

More EIDL grants and loan limit increase

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Federal Aid for Small Businesses is still available, and it is being overlooked by many small businesses. We get it — there has been so many programs to help small businesses that it’s hard to keep them straight. But there are thousands of dollars still out up for grabs through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors and private nonprofit organizations, so this update is worth your attention. (Agricultural enterprises are not eligible for these specific programs, but there are different programs for agriculture.)

Tillamook is categorized as “economically depressed” along with most of rural America by the Small Business Administration standards, which means we have new EIDL advance opportunities beyond the initial, forgivable advances. This means that you may be able to receive thousands of dollars in what is effectively grant funding. We have done the research for you, and we know firsthand to how the program works, because we received our forgivable advance last week.

But first, let’s rewind to 2020 when the COVID-19 EIDL program was first released. At that time, the Small Business Administration touted that any business who applied to the program would get a $10,000 advance that was forgivable and would not need to be paid back as part of their loan. This was confusing to many as it rolled out because as the SBA later changed the advance to be $1,000 per employee, up to $10,000 total. Also confusing was the fact that you didn’t have to accept the additional loan to get the advance. Bottom line: If you applied, you received an advance equal to $1,000 per employee and then got to choose a loan amount. Regardless of whether you took that loan or not, you got to keep the advance as a grant as long as you used it for operational expenses.

Fast forward to 2021 and the release of the American Rescue Plan. In this package the SBA was directed to offer what is being called a “Targeted Advance.” This additional advance is open to economically depressed areas like ours, and it is an opportunity for businesses to receive the difference between what their initial advance was and the full $10,000 that was originally intended for the advance, as long as they:

    • Can demonstrate more than 30% reduction in revenue during an eight-week period beginning March 2, 2020, or later.
    • Have 300 or fewer employees.

For example, if your business had three employees, it would have originally received $3,000. The targeted advance would provide an additional $7,000 to make the grand total $10,000.

And then there’s the icing on the cake — also in the American Rescue Plan. Some small businesses in economically depressed areas also became eligible for a “Supplemental Targeted Advance,” which provides an additional $5,000 forgivable advance on top of the first two advance programs. This advance is only available after you have received the full $10,000 from the previous two programs; it brings the grand total of EIDL “grant” funding to $15,000 per business. To be eligible for this advance, applicants must:

    • Prove more than 50% economic loss during an eight-week period beginning on March 2, 2020, or later, compared to the same period of the previous year. Applicants need to provide gross monthly revenue (all forms of combined monthly earnings received, such as profits or salaries) from January 2019 to the current month-to-date
    • Have 10 or fewer employees.

The advances are only available to businesses that apply for the EIDL loan. Again, you don’t have to actually accept the loan, but you do have to apply to the program to be able to access the forgivable advance money.

In short, if you haven’t applied for the EIDL program at all, you are essentially leaving a “grant” of $15,000 on the table. If you have applied for the program but haven’t sought either of the new, targeted advances, you are potentially missing out on thousands of “grant” dollars.

During the first year of the pandemic, the Chamber sent out weekly updates to help local businesses obtain millions of dollars through federal and state programs. This EIDL advance money is allocated to businesses and will head to communities around the nation soon. Let’s bring it home to stimulate our local economy!

In addition to the advances, the EIDL program has increased the loan limits for businesses that might need additional funds. There are restrictions on how these funds can be used, but a game changing program update now allows you to pay off existing debt with these loans. For some businesses, this could be a good option to lower debt and loan payments because the EIDL loans run on a 30-year amortization and have an interest rate of 2.75% (non-profit) to 3.75%, with payments deferred for two years from loan origination.

Stay tuned for a future article on this and the Employee Retention Tax Credit Program, another financial recuperation opportunity for local business.

And in the meantime, I encourage you to begin working on your application for the EIDL program and targeted advances. To start your loan application and receive the first advance, visit covid19relief.sba.gov. If you have already applied for the program, visit your online portal to find options to apply for the new, targeted advances and loan increases.

As always, if you have questions or need help, I am happy to assist you. Give me a quick call at 503-842-7525 or email justin@tillamookchamber.org.

Shop, enter and win with the fifth annual Shop Small Sweepstakes

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

Golden and red leaves, crisp air and occasional rainy downpour mean two things: My favorite season has arrived, and it’s time for the Shop Small Sweepstakes!

Now in its fifth year, the Sweepstakes is the Chamber’s way of encouraging everyone to shop locally, especially over the holiday shopping season. With so many amazing retailers right in your backyard, why not buy your Christmas presents at a locally owned business? The Sweepstakes rewards you for doing just that, with weekly gift card giveaways and the chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree!

It’s been a long year with lots of other prize-filled giveaways, so here’s a recap on the rules for the Sweepstakes. Whenever you shop at a locally owned business in Tillamook County between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, keep your receipts to enter into drawings for gift cards and a $1,000 grand prize. You can enter two ways: Drop your receipt off at Chamber HQ at 208 Main Ave., or send a photo of your receipt and your name to 503-389-0631. You can enter one receipt per day, every day of the Sweepstakes.

Each week, the Chamber will draw one winner from that week’s entries, and the winner will receive a gift card to a local business. This year, the weekly prizes are bigger than before, because the Chamber will match what each business donates as a prize to double the value of the gift card. Then, the entries for each week will be entered into a pool for the grand prize drawing for $1,000 in Sweepstakes Bucks.

Did I mention that you can also win more than one prize? There is no limit to how many times you can win, and each entry you make increases your odds of winning not only a weekly prize, but also the final grand prize. All the more reason to shop local and shop often!

All of the Sweepstakes winners will appear on our Facebook channel, so we recommend following the Chamber so you don’t miss any updates! We also will feature several locally owned businesses throughout the Sweepstakes to give you ideas for where to do your holiday shopping.

We also encourage shoppers to join the Chamber’s Shop Tillamook Facebook group. A lot of our local retailers are part of the group, and they often post information about sales or special deals, so you can be the first to know about a good offer! You also can use the group to share photos of the places you’re shopping or the items you’re buying — at least when they aren’t gifts! Don’t want to ruin any surprises.

And we’d be remiss not to mention our sponsor, US Bank. They’ve sponsored the Sweepstakes all five years we’ve hosted it, and they are absolutely amazing partners! We are lucky to work alongside them to promote local shopping!

The Sweepstakes officially started last Friday, Oct. 1, and our first winner will be drawn on Oct. 12. Until then, be sure to get out and shop at locally owned businesses, enter your receipts and watch for your name to be drawn for a prize!

If you have any questions about the Sweepstakes, feel free to contact the Chamber at 503-842-7525.

From my Chamber internship comes a community foundation

by Brooke Johnston
Operations Assistant Intern

Time flies when you’re having fun — and especially when you’re helping the Chamber build a new charitable organization that will benefit your hometown!

Let me rewind for a quick second, because this is the first Chamber Chatter I’ve written. My name is Brooke Johnston, and for the last four months, I’ve served as the Operations Assistant Intern at the Chamber. You might remember me from the welcome article the Chamber published about me, though it did use my maiden name at the time because it came out before my wedding!

I’m a lifelong Tillamook resident, and I graduated from Tillamook High School in 2019. Now I’m studying nonprofit management at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The Chamber kindly offered me an internship so I could get real-world experience and fulfill one of my degree requirements to graduate.

My internship at the Chamber focused on helping with general, day-to-day operations. You may have seen me around at Chamber HQ, delivering visitor guides, helping Sayde at the Farmer’s Market or even selling apparel at the Tillamook County Fair.

I also got the exciting opportunity to help lay the groundwork for the Chamber Community Foundation, a charitable organization the Chamber intends to launch later this fall.

For those that don’t know, The Tillamook Chamber is a 501c6 mutual benefit membership organization. That means it is limited in the types of grants it can apply for, and it cannot offer tax incentives for people wishing to donate money through the Chamber. As a 501c3 charitable organization, the community foundation will have access to a much larger pool of grant money and will be able to offer tax incentives for donors.

The foundation also will have a broader mission statement that allows it to run community programs beyond the Chamber’s focus on its members. For example, the Chamber envisions starting a Young Professionals group under the foundation, because it would allow the network to provide educational and workforce development opportunities beyond the Chamber’s direct membership benefits.

The specific details for what kinds of programs the foundation will run are still in the works, and the Chamber plans to work with other community leaders to determine how to shape the foundation in a way to best fit the needs of Tillamook. Stay tuned for updates in the coming months, and feel free to contact Justin at justin@tillamookchamber.org if you have any questions about the foundation at this point.

Although there is still work to do before the foundation launches, I am proud to have played a part in building a strong basis it can grow from. I can’t wait to watch the organization benefit the community when it’s up and running, even if I’m leaving before I get to see it all start.

This was my first time working with a nonprofit, and I really enjoyed applying the concepts I’ve learned in class at UO to the real world. I’m also excited to return to my final year of college with practical skills and a real-world knowledge of how to start a charitable organization. I also have the advantage of understanding the difference between a 501c3 and 501c6 and how those two organizations can legally exist together. That’s not too bad for an undergraduate!

So now I return to UO to finish up my degree; I graduate in spring 2022 (Go Ducks!) My plan for now is to come back to Tillamook after graduation to gain more career experience in my hometown. I’d like to work at a local nonprofit and, if it all works out, continue to help the Chamber Community Foundation as it grows!

Now Hiring: Tourism Social Media Manager

The Tillamook Chamber is currently accepting applications for a part-time, contracted Tourism Social Media Manager position.  The Tourism Social Media Manager will create and manage content to showcase the activities, attractions and experiences of Tillamook, Oregon.

Position:
Tourism Social Media Manager
Contract position; part-time remote work
Compensation up to $10,000 annually*

 Scope:

 The tourism social media manager will create and manage content to showcase the activities, attractions and experiences of Tillamook, Oregon. Social media platforms will hold a brand identity to message community attractions, stewardship, and an authentic culture to visitors consistent with the Dairyland’s brand.

Proposals must include:

  • Summary of understanding of the scope of work and your ability to fulfill proposed creative brief.
  • Creative brief explaining your vision for social content that meets scope of work.
  • Portfolio of work style (photos, social media posts, social media accounts, etc.).
  • Content outline identifying preliminary schedule commitment.
  • Ability to include a diverse mix of people and places within content.
  • Fee for service cost proposal and terms.

Submissions & Questions:

Contact Mallory Gruben, Communications Manager, at 503-842-7525 or email mallory@tillamookchamber.org

*Program of work to begin January 2022 upon successful grant funding. Selected applicant will receive $150 for proposal if grant funding is not successful.

Join us Sept. 25 for the Tillamook Farmers Market Season Finale

by Sayde Walker
Tillamook Farmers Market Manager

It’s hard to believe that the end of September is already upon us, and if you are anything like me you are already planning your Halloween costume and Thanksgiving menu. But before we jump headfirst into the holiday season, there is still one more weekend of the Tillamook Farmers Market to enjoy!

You might recall last year we partnered with Food Roots and several other local businesses to host a Seafood Stock Up event. We are excited to bring this back again for our season finale. If you pre-ordered seafood at bulk prices through the Food Roots FarmTable website, you can pick it up at the Tillamook Farmers Market from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. If you didn’t preorder seafood, there will be even more available for sale, so still come down and stock up your freezer with delicious, fresh seafood.

While you’re stocking up for fall and winter, be sure to get your fill of produce as well. From tomatoes to squash, eggplants, corn, Brussels sprouts and everything in between — the farms are bursting with colorful, flavorful produce right now. If you’ve been wanting to do some canning, now is the best time to come buy bulk produce for your canning needs and keep your pantry stocked with local foods all winter long. I mean, what could be better than that?

One thing I love about our market is that we are always adding new vendors all season long. If you haven’t been down in a few weeks, you may have missed the addition of Sun Buttah and their organic, reef-safe sun screen products. We are also excited to have Penny Eberle bringing perennials and shrubs she grew herself. Fall is one of the best times to do some landscaping, so your garden and lawn is ready for spring. Or, it’s not too early to be thinking about holiday shopping, and how many people on your list would love something unique and hand-made from the farmers market? From custom-made jewelry to wine to scrumptious jarred preservatives and the softest baby blankets known to mankind — there are gift ideas for everyone.

It’s been a tremendous season all around, and I’m so thankful to everyone who came down and shopped with us. I have to give such a huge, heartfelt thank you to my vendors for being the best group of people I could ever ask for. We have so much fun together and I look forward to seeing them every single week. They work so hard to be here and their passion and dedication shines through every single Saturday. We’ve also had fun getting to know new vendors this year, and look forward to what the next year will bring.

Until then, please come down and enjoy the season finale of the Tillamook Farmers Market on Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Learn What’s Up Around Town at Mornings on Main Street

by Ashley Christensen
Programs and Events Manager

Although many of our Chamber events take place in the evening, once a month we host a special function for the early birds in our community. The appropriately named Mornings on Main Street brings together community members and business owners every third Tuesday in Downtown Tillamook.

We meet at the Chamber HQ to discuss upcoming projects and events. It’s an early morning social hour full of good people and good snacks!

Our sponsor, Columbia Bank, provides breakfast pastries from SaraSotas, and the Chamber offers fresh-brewed coffee and tea. Once everyone gets their beverages and treats, we go around the circle to introduce ourselves and share a little bit about what we’ve been up to lately and what projects we’re currently working on.

We start around 8 a.m., and the whole conversation takes about an hour. But we keep it casual, so attendees are welcome to drop in when they can and leave when they need, even if that means coming for 5 minutes for coffee and a quick hello. There’s no shame in coming late or dashing out!

And here’s the best part – and something a lot of people don’t know: You don’t have to own a business or be a local politician to attend. This meeting is open to the public! In fact, I’ve seen a lot of value come out of Mornings on Main Street for our residents. It’s a great way to learn about what’s happening in the community, make new connections and get involved!

Some folks have heard about a job opportunity and landed a new gig. Others meet new friends with people they may not have crossed paths with otherwise. And it feels like everyone who attends learns about a fun community event they end up going to later, whether that be a volunteer party with Habitat for Humanity or a fundraiser with the Monday Musical Club of Tillamook.

So join us this month for Mornings on Main Street! We’ll meet at the Chamber (208 Main Street) starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21. I hope to see you there!

Welcome Your New Employees with the Tillamook Toolkit

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

This week as Food Roots, one of our Chamber members, announced the addition of two new employees to its staff, our team at the Chamber packaged up two Tillamook Toolkits to send off to their storefront. Chock full of locally sourced goodies, the toolkit serves as our way of welcoming individuals to their new jobs and to our community!

The Chamber started sending out the toolkits a few years ago. I find it to be a simple but important tool – no pun intended – helping local businesses retain the talented staff they hire, especially when those employees move to Tillamook from outside our community.

Each toolkit includes an assortment of gifts a new employee needs to start off their job on the right foot. As an added bonus, every item in the box comes from one of our Chamber members, so we are able to highlight some of the amazing resources we have right here in our community. All in all, we consider it a small taste of what makes Tillamook a great place to live, work and play! And we hope it encourages everyone who gets a box to stay in our community a while, so their talent stays local.

I don’t want to divulge all of the items, for the sake of maintaining some element of surprise for the recipients. But I can tell you this isnt a box of cheap and useless trinkets – products from Five Rivers Coffee Roasters, Werner Beef and Brew and Jacobsen Salt all make an appearance.

The toolkit also includes contact information for the Chamber, because we want everyone in Tillamook to know that we’ve got their back. Whether you’re a new manager at a well-known nonprofit or an entrepreneur upstarting your first business, our staff is here to help with any questions, advice or networking opportunities you need. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

Typically, the toolkit goes to new business owners, managers, leaders and supervisors. The packages are shipped from our office, most often upon the request of an employer. (It’s hard for us to keep up with the news of every new hire or special promotion in town, so help us help you by alerting our office directly).

To order a Tillamook Toolkit, simply email info@tillamookchamber.org with the name, position and mailing address of the person you’d like to receive it. If the phone is easier for you, call Tammy at 503-842-7525.

And don’t worry about delivery: We’ll send it out for you!

Employer Health Plans a Big Benefit of Chamber Membership

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Did you know that the Tillamook Chamber offers employers access to a health insurance program? It seems to be one of the Chamber’s best-kept secrets — but we want to change that, because it’s truly a neat program.

We partner with the Bend Chamber of Commerce and Corey Bush with Hudson Insurance to bring Bend’s health insurance program to Tillamook. Here’s how it works: Any good-standing member of the Tillamook Chamber of Commerce also becomes an associate member of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, which can then offer their rates and insurance plans right here in Tillamook. They are working with Corey as the local agent, so you have someone in town who can walk you through the process.

What’s especially cool about this benefit is that you can customize your plan from six different options from PacificSource, so you and your employees can get health benefits that best fits your needs. We know that health insurance is not one size fits all, so we are proud to be able to offer the option to choose.

The plans also come at competitive rates, so you might end up with better suited coverage at a lower rate. That’s something we’ve already heard from members who have taken advantage of this benefit!

For businesses that don’t already offer health benefits, you might find that this program finally makes doing so affordable.

With open enrollment for federal programs starting in November, it’s good to get started now to see if these plans are a good fit for you and your employees. It’ll give you time to work through details and ask any questions you need before insurance companies get busy later in the fall.

I won’t get into the specifics of each plan here, but I can tell you that all the health plans cover essential health benefits, no-cost preventive care, calendar-year benefits and all member out-of-pocket costs for covered services apply toward the annual out-of-pocket limit. Plus, PacificSource is a great network both in Tillamook and throughout the state of Oregon.

There is one small caveat: The plan is only available with a Chamber membership. We’ve talked before about giving our members an appropriate value for their membership, and this is one way we can do that. Considering that most memberships cost less than $200 a year, I’d say access to a health plan like this – and a slew of other membership benefits – is well worth it.

If this healthcare plan sounds like something you’re interested in, I encourage you to reach out to Corey Bush at Hudson Insurance to learn more and see if it is a good fit for your business. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And for information on Chamber membership (step one of accessing these competitive health plans), call our office at 503-842-7525 or visit www.tillamookchamber.org.

What’s Brewin’ is on for August

by Ashley Christensen
Programs and Events Manager

After a short interim away from the Chamber office to spend time with my new baby, I’m jumping back in this month to once again start planning and hosting fun (and safe) Chamber events for the community. I’m especially excited for my return, because it coincides with one of my favorite Chamber events: What’s Brewin’.

For those of you who don’t know, What’s Brewin’ is a quarterly gathering of Chamber members and their employees. The venue for the get-together shifts between our members, giving our local businesses and nonprofits the opportunity to show off their locations to attendees.

The night is an informal networking opportunity full of friendly conversation, complimentary beverages and tasty hors d’oeuvres catered by local restaurants. What’s Brewin’ is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to make new friends and connections in the community!

That said, it’s important to note that What’s Brewin’ is one of the few events the Chamber hosts that is open to members only. In general, we try to be as inclusive as possible. The vast majority of our events are open to the community at large, including Mornings on Main Street, Sip + Shop and Small Business Saturday, among others. We also offer grant assistance and practical advising to any local business that seeks out our help.

Still, we like to be able to offer our members a little bit something extra, just to ensure that they see the value of their membership. That’s where What’s Brewin’ comes in. It’s one of the special perks that comes with a Chamber membership!

This quarter’s What’s Brewin’ is especially neat, because it includes an advance preview of JAndy Oyster Co.’s new location at the Hidden Acres Greenhouse and Garden Center.  JAndy recently purchased the local nursery, and they plan to move their raw oyster bar and restaurant into the new space later this fall. The company is gracious enough to host What’s Brewin to give our Chamber members the unique opportunity to hear about their plans before anyone else! How’s that for a membership perk?

Our members should have received a postcard in the mail with more specific information on the time and how to RSVP, so I won’t rehash the specific details here. But I do hope to see as many smiling faces there as possible.

Personally, I’m most excited to reconnect with my colleagues and friends as we come together for a laid back evening of socializing and, of course, delicious food. (Rumor has it JAndy will be serving mini shrimp cocktails and oysters as the hor d’oeuvres! Yum!)

It’ll be the perfect welcome back to the office, and I just can’t wait!

Chamber News: New owners, same smiles: Davis family takes over Kelly’s Brighton Marina

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

There are several parallels between the former and new owners of Kelly’s Brighton Marina — their bright demeanors, their enthusiasm for outdoor adventure, their willingness to raise their children around a business they love.

Former Kelly’s Brighton Marina owner Kelly Laviolette shakes hands with new owner Colin Davis. Customers knew Laviolette by his infectious smile and infamous crab hat.

But the most uncanny just might be their origin stories.

Former marina owner Kelly Laviolette moved from Utah to Oregon with his family when he was a child. Although he initially knew very little about crabbing, he learned quickly while he worked for his family at Jetty Fishery on Nehalem Bay. About 10 years ago, Laviolette bought the Brighton Marina with his wife, Janice, to run their own crabbing business.

New owners Colin and Randy Davis also hail from Utah. They too relocated their family to Oregon and became involved with crabbing despite a sparse background knowledge of the crustaceans. This summer, they purchased the marina from the Laviolettes to run a crabbing business of their own.

“It kind of comes full circle,” said Randi Davis.

‘Good product, good location’

Kelly and Janice Laviolette have run Kelly’s Brighton Marina for the last 11 years. The couple bought the business in 2010 after working at Jetty Fishery with Kelly’s family for more than a decade each.

At the time, the marina was known as the Brighton Moorage or Brighton Marina. It ran on a seasonal schedule, closing for the fall and winter.

Janice Laviolette said they added Kelly’s name to the business in hopes of drawing their loyal customers from Jetty Fishery to their new shop. The couple also extended operations to a year-round schedule, added extra deck space and generally grew the business.

“I think over the years we just built up good will in the local area and brought in a lot of people from the Northwest and all over the place,” Janice said. “There was no secret to the business. It was just good customer service. When you have a good product and good location, it’s not hard to build from there.”

Reputation ruled for the business, which relied mostly on word-of-mouth promotions and building relationships with customers who returned almost every season. Many of the regulars came to know Kelly and Janice on a first name basis, and most fell in love with Kelly’s infectious smile and infamous crab hat.

“We both will really miss the wonderful people we’ve met along the way and being a part of all their family memories has really been an honor to us,” Janice said.

In his infamous crab hat, former Kelly’s Brighton Marina owner Kelly Laviolette poses with new owner Randi Davis.

Though it may come as a surprise to some customers, the Laviolette’s retirement was planned for some time. Janice said she told her husband when they bought the business that she “had about 10 years in me” before she wanted to step back from work. She also worked part-time as a postal carrier in Nehalem, and the couple got very few breaks from their jobs, especially in the summertime.

“I’m happy to take a breather,” she said. “Like I told Randi and Colin, my husband and I attended our first wedding together in 20 years. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my family and friends, and to do things we haven’t been able to do in quite a few years.”

Janice said she and Kelly were “very fortunate” to find the Davis family to take over. The “young family with lots of enthusiasm” received the complete endorsement of the Laviolettes to step in to carry on the business after their retirement.

“No one likes change, but I think people will be very happy to know that there is not going to be a whole lot of change going on with the new owners,” Janice said. “They hope to keep the same vibe and same type of core operations. I think customers will be happy to know that not much will change, and there will still be a lot of smiling, welcoming faces.”

Carrying on a legacy

Colin and Randi Davis took over the Marina in July after living and traveling in a camper van for over a year with their three kids. The couple said they took a break from Colin’s job in “corporate America” to travel the country and reconnect with family and friends.

About six months into their trip, they started planning for what to do once their mobile lifestyle wrapped up. Randi said the family “wanted to build something and help people get in touch with nature.” They settled on running a campground because they had found them the perfect place to try something new, especially outdoors.

The Davis family recently took over Kelly’s Brighton Marina after longtime owners Kelly and Janice Laviolette retired. From left to right: AnaBelle Davis, 11, Randi Davis, Dominik Davis, 9, Colin Davis and Bentley Davis, 7.

“You’re sort of forced into a place where you’ll have a really cool experience and you’re forced into a new place where you’ll meet new people,” Colin said.

The Davises looked at several campgrounds for sale, but nothing captured their attention until Kelly’s Brighton Marina. They especially liked that the marina included more than just an RV site, but also the added experience of crabbing and a well-trained crew to help.

“I liken it to getting married. You date a lot of different people, but something always goes wrong until you find the one. We kept looking at different campgrounds but none of them quite worked. And then one day, we finally realized we had found the right one,” Colin said. “We love the Laviolettes and what they have built here and thankfully, they didn’t hate us.”

“Kelly and Janice have been so great during the transition. And all the staff teaching us how to crab…that’s one thing that’s cool. We can tell people that we were beginners, too,” Randi said.

The Davises don’t plan on making any major changes at the business. They will keep Kelly’s name on the marina, and all the usual activities remain. The biggest change is simply new faces to greet customers as they enjoy their visit to Kelly’s Brighton Marina.

“It’s mostly just fine-tuning what Janice and Kelly already started,” Randi said. “It will be cool to be able to have their legacy continue.”

Chamber’s Tillamook apparel on sale at the County Fair

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

It must be Tillamook County Fair season, because lately I’ve been dreaming of elephant ears, Pig ‘n’ Fords and new Tillamook jacket designs!

Here at the Chamber we prepare for the fair by creating a line a Tillamook apparel for the year, which we officially start selling at the county fair.  Each design features something to positively promote our town, whether that’s just the words Tillamook, Oregon, or a colorful design with a forest, fish or dairy cow.

The Chamber first launched its apparel line about 8 years ago after noticing that there were limited opportunities for visitors to purchase clothing promoting our town. We saw visitors wearing shirts from Seaside and jackets from Newport, but nothing from Tillamook.

So we started our own line of Tillamook, Oregon, sweatshirts and shirts to sell from our Chamber headquarters. All of the designs are created in-house by our local staff, and we have all of the clothing printed locally at PSI Screen Printing & Embroidery Services.

About six years ago, we started bringing our apparel from our booth at the Tillamook County Fair. What originally started as an idea to fill a gap in our visitor services grew into a way for our residents to show their pride for Tillamook. Local families began buying the sweaters and shirts, and now we see our friends and neighbors happily wearing their Tillamook apparel around town.  We even know some families who stop by the booth every year to buy the latest designs, and they’ve never missed a year to update their Tillamook hoodies.

We are excited to continue offering the community apparel they are proud to wear, and we love that you can help us promote this town we love so much with a high-quality hoodie for a reasonable $30 for adult sizes or $20 for kid sizes.

So catch us at the fair Aug. 11-14 at our booth right next to the Tillamook ice cream booth in the Main Pavilion. We’ll have three brand new designs, as well as the 2020 line, which wasn’t available at the fair last year due to the circumstances.

We hope to see you there with elephant ear in hand and Tillamook apparel on!

Hitting Our Stride at the Tillamook Farmers Market

by Sayde Walker
Tillamook Farmers Market Manager

We are just at the halfway point of the Tillamook Farmers Market season. If you haven’t been to visit yet, I encourage you to do so! We are almost back to pre-pandemic glory.

Last week we brought back the kids activity table and will keep that running for the rest of the season. Kids can come down and participate in fun, hands-on activities like rock painting, seed planting, decorating pumpkins and other fun (albeit messy) projects.

While they are there, be sure to stop by the Farmers Market HQ and get Kids Bucks. A big shout out to TLC, a Division of Fibre Federal Credit Union for being our Founding Sponsor and supporting Kids Bucks program. These $2 vouchers can be used to get $2 off things like berries, honey, vegetables or other delicious fruits. You can spend them that day or collect them to purchase something bigger later in the season. Kids Bucks are good through the end of September.

We also brought back live music this season, and so far have enjoyed tunes from Scott Casey, Eric Sappington, Rhythm Method and several others. The music plays each market day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is sponsored in part by the Tillamook Creamery. We are so thrilled to have such incredible musical talent available locally and hope you’ll stop by and enjoy it with us.

There is a great variety of vendors this season as well; both returning favorites and brand new faces. Some of our new additions include Bamford Bakery out of Forest Grove. You have to try their jumbo cookies! Oceania Galleria is also brand new this year, selling gorgeous, hand-painted cutting boards, dishes and original artwork all resembling the stunning colors and movement of the ocean. The Hummus Stop is another new vendor this year, and you’ll find them each week with home-made pita chips and several flavors of hummus. We are also excited to have Josi Farms with us this year selling their fresh produce and dramatically large onions.

If you are a SNAP customer and have tried to spend your SNAP dollars at the market and have been turned away, I am pleased to share that we have a brand new processor and are up and running again! Thank you for your patience while we worked through technical difficulties for the first half of the season. You can now bring your SNAP/EBT card to the Farmers Market HQ and we will charge your card in exchange for SNAP dollars that can be spent on eligible food items at the market. The first $10 you spend each day will be matched with an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks — good for vegetables, fruit, nuts, mushrooms and plants starts. Double Up Food Bucks is made possible in part by the Farmers Market Fund.

I hope you’ll come down and say hi to me and Brooke, enjoy the live music, play a friendly round of cornhole and do some shopping to support local businesses, farmers and producers. The Tillamook Farmer’s Market runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through September at the corner of Laurel Avenue and Second Street

Chamber News: Aquaculture plus agriculture: JAndy purchases Hidden Acres Greenhouse

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

As one Tillamook business owner ends a chapter of her work life, another local business looks to carry on the storyline.

Debbie Smith, owner and founder of Hidden Acres Greenhouse and Café, retired on June 30 and sold the business to JAndy Oyster Company, which took over operations July 1.  JAndy co-owner Tamra Perman said the oyster company plans to meld the two beloved businesses into “JAndy Acres.”

“It is exciting to see what Todd and Tamra are going to bring to carry on the nursery part and meld their oyster company with it,” Smith said.

JAndy Oyster Co. recently purchased Hidden Acres Greenhouse, with plans to combine the aquaculture and agriculture businesses.

All the things that customers love about both shops will remain, Tamra Perman said. JAndy will serve its traditional menu at the restaurant in the former gift shop and café space, and shoppers can still purchase plants from the greenhouses. The new centerpieces for the restaurant tables – miniature succulent gardens planted in oyster shells – serve as a visual example of the blend.

“There was a lot of love that’s been put into this nursery, and we are excited to build from that,” Perman said. “We want it to be a blend of Debbie’s nursery and our seafood.”

A History of Hidden Acres

Smith started Hidden Acres in her home in 1997. She moved the business to the nursery in 2003 after nearly a year of preparing the space for the greenhouse operation.

“It was an old house … with property full of tires and trailers and blackberries. So we basically took a sad piece of property and put in the fence and the landscaping and the building and greenhouses,” Smith said.

Her husband and children helped with much of the work, and the business quickly became a family operation. Smith aimed to create a homey, welcoming atmosphere at the business.

JAndy Oyster Co. will relocate its raw oyster bar and restaurant to the Hidden Acres Greenhouse and Café later this fall. The new space includes seating in a beautifully landscaped outdoor area.

“If the weather was nice, you could sit outside in the garden. And if you wanted to spend three hours out there talking to a friend, that was fine,” Smith said.

As her children grew up, started families of their own and moved east near Bend, Smith started considering retirement. She eventually relocated to Bend to be closer to her children and grandchildren but continued running the Tillamook nursery “basically long distance.”

“For five years I’ve been traveling back and forth,” Smith said.

Up until this year, she still had one son living nearby in Portland who could lend a hand with the business when she needed. However, he recently moved near Bend, too.

“It just made it a little more isolated being here with the family all over in Bend,” Smith said. “JAndy’s offer to buy the business came at an opportune time for me, as far as being able to retire and move closer to my children.”

Hidden Acres founder Debbie Smith, left, and JAndy Oyster Co. co-owner Tamra Perman pose together outside of the entryway to Hidden Acres Greenhouse. Perman said the oyster company plans to meld its business with the beloved nursery.

Handing off the business she built from scratch was bittersweet, but Smith said the transfer was made easier because she knew JAndy owners Todd and Tamra Perman want to keep the business as a place that the community could gather. The Permans also agreed to add the nursery employees to their own staff.

“The nursery was kind of my baby, and I just wanted to make sure it was going to the right people. To see that it is going to a family that already seems to love it made it easier. They want to make it a community spot, and I’m excited about that because I really think the community needs that,” Smith said. “This is not the end of Hidden Acres. It’s just a different chapter for it.”

Space to dream

 JAndy Oyster Company began growing oysters in 2012. For many years, the family-owned business processed and sold the hand-picked oysters in a rented warehouse at the corner of Seventh Street and Ivy Avenue in Tillamook. In 2019, the business added a small raw oyster bar in the warehouse.

JAndy Oyster Co. owners Todd and Tamra Perman.

The move to Hidden Acres significantly upsizes the business’s square footage adding seating, a full-size kitchen space, a dedicated processing warehouse and storage areas for the oyster farm boats and oyster bags.

“This is exponentially more space. The possibilities are amazing,” Perman said. “We can dream and create.”

The new location also offers a large, beautifully landscaped green space JAndy plans to use as an area for lawn games, picnics or events. Perman said she hopes to eventually convert one of the empty greenhouses into a special seating area that can be rented for private gatherings.

“We felt like an event and gathering space was something the community needs, and this is the perfect setting for it,” Perman said.

The new location will even allow JAndy to grow much of its own produce, so it can have fresh ingredients for its shrimp cocktails and coleslaw. That particular plan is a favorite of Todd Perman’s son, Jacob, the company’s namesake and self-appointed “continuous improvement manager.”

The sun sets over the JAndy Oyster Co. farm on Netarts Bay. JAndy grows millions of oysters at any given time on its farm in the pristine waters of the bay.

Tamra Perman expects the JAndy raw bar and restaurant to be up and running at the new location come September. Until then, customers can purchase oysters at the JAndy warehouse on Seventh and Ivy, or stop by Hidden Acres to buy plants, many of which are currently on discount.

Tillamook Community Calendar a resource for events goers and throwers

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

For the first time in what feels like a very long time, my calendar is booked up.

This weekend I will attend the first living showing of a TAPA performance, and I’ve blocked out the second week of August for Tillamook County Fair (it’ll be my first Pig ‘n’ Ford experience!). My scheduled also includes a full slate of Chamber sponsored events for the fall, including regular Sip + Shops, Mornings on Main Street meetings and Cork & Brew (more on that soon!)

You might be wondering how I manage to keep such a full schedule, especially considering that we just now started transitioning back into in-person gatherings and events. My secret is the Tillamook Community Calendar.

You can access the calendar directly at TillamookLiving.com, but it also appears online in several places, including the Chamber website, the Headlight Herald website and the City of Tillamook website. It’s the largest, most widespread and most comprehensive listing of events in Tillamook County.

The community calendar is where I hear about weekend entertainment events and learn about the beloved community festivals that make Tillamook so great. It saves me a lot of time, because I don’t have to sift through multiple websites and Facebook pages to find details on various events. They are all in one place on the community calendar!

The calendar took a sort of hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly because there were few in-person community events happening. But now that gatherings are allowed again, more and more listings are appearing on the community calendar.

For me, that means my personal schedule has started to fill up again. The same is probably true of anyone else who uses the calendar to find something to do. Once you know about it, your days of languishing around the house with nothing to do become a thing of the past!

But the community calendar serves a greater purpose than simply padding our social lives. It also gives you a way to get the word out about your own public events with a single submission that blasts to multiple websites. In short, the calendar is a free and easy marketing tool to reach a lot of people quickly.

Submitting an event to the community calendar is easy: You simply fill out a short online form with the name of your event, the dates and times it’s happening and a brief description of what it is. There’s even an option to upload a photo or flyer to generate even more excitement!

It feels great to be able to gather, attend live events and carry on with social life as usual again, and I’m glad to have the Tillamook Community Calendar to help me find and share events.

Check it out for yourself today at TillamookLiving.com.

A Fresh Set of Eyes: Redesigning the Tillamook Living Magazine

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

As one of Tillamook’s newer residents, I get the pleasure of looking at this beautiful dairy town with a fresh set of eyes that makes everything feel new and exciting. That perspective has been especially helpful lately as the Chamber has started the redesign process for our Tillamook Living lifestyle and relocation magazine.

The magazine is intended as a resource that real estate agents, service providers, businesses and other community groups can hand out to new residents as a go-to guide of the town. It’s packed full of information about Tillamook’s local industries, services, retail shops, hikes, community service groups and so much more. It covers everything from hooking up electricity when you first move in, to finding a new doctor or dentist, to attending a community event once you’ve settled in. And it includes the Chamber’s complete membership directory.

The Chamber started publishing Tillamook Living last year. It was a project born out of conversations with business owners and community leaders about how we could recruit and retain new workers. In its simplest form, Tillamook Living is a tool to show off this place we are so lucky to live work and play in – and draw new talent into our ranks.

Tillamook is the type of rural community where you know your mail carrier by name and rally together to help a neighbor in need. But unlike some rural towns, Tillamook also has three big name grocery stores, access to world class seafood and craft beer and ample opportunities to hike, paddle or fish in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country!

Tillamook has all the benefits of small town living without losing any of the big city amenities people want. And that’s a fact we must communicate with potential future residents! We need to show new residents how amazing Tillamook really is, and we believe Tillamook Living is the best way to do that.

Speaking from my own experience, the magazine was a really helpful tool in getting to know the community. My personal copy is dog eared and marked up in many places, and I still refer to it when I’m looking for a particular business or service in town.

But I come to Tillamook from another small town. I already know the value of living in a rural community, and I seek out the special parts of a small town that make it great. I understand when the magazine says Tillamook has many community events, it doesn’t mean just events. It means beloved traditions unlike any event you’ve attended before. It means special moments the entire community looks forward to, so we can gather together and build relationships.

People from larger cities might not be as adept at finding those special things or reading between the lines. So this year we are using a fresh set of eyes to redesign the magazine to better communicate the benefits of living in Tillamook.

We plan to add multiple feature articles that highlight our businesses, our community leaders and our local industries. These articles will show off the personality of Tillamook. But more importantly, they will explicitly share how Tillamook stands out from other rural communities. The articles will answer the “why” in “Why move to Tillamook?”

Once all is said and done, the Tillamook Living magazine will look very different from last year’s edition. But the publication will be even more useful for newcomers than the current edition. Copies will be available later this fall.

And should you come across a copy of Tillamook Living later this year, I hope you’ll flip through and give the articles a read — even if you’re a longtime resident. If we’ve done the redesign right, the magazine will give you a fresh set of eyes to remember why exactly you chose to live, work and play in Tillamook!

Chamber News: Garibaldi Charters celebrates 20 years with Tillamook Chamber

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

When it comes to office views, the captains and crew at Garibaldi Charters has most competitors beat.

The fishing charter company staff spends most days out on the water guiding customers in hooking bottom fish, salmon, halibut and lingcod. It’s not uncommon for a bird to land on deck to rest for a bit, or for a dolphin to follow along in the charter boat’s wake.

“Every day that you’re out there on the water, you see things that people get to see once in a lifetime,” said co-owner Tamara Mautner. “We get to see this stuff every day.

Garibaldi Charters celebrates its 20th anniversary as a Tillamook Chamber of Commerce member this year. The family-owned business has spent just as many years mingling with ocean wildlife and getting customers hooked on fishing.

“Personally, I really do like being out on the water. … But I also really enjoy getting people out there for their first time and seeing them really light up. Maybe they’ll become a lifelong fisherman,” Mautner said.

Mautner has owned Garibaldi Charters with her husband for the last 8 years. Before that, the company belonged to her parents.

The crew at Garibaldi Charters takes customers out on the water to catch fish and fall in love with the sport.

The business operates three charter fishing boats and one guide boat. The charters primarily focus on bottom fishing, but Mautner and her staff also offer trips for halibut, tuna, salmon and occasionally crab.

“It’s a great way to get out on the water if you don’t own your own boat,” Mautner said. “Maybe you want to just try it out, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying the boat, maintaining the boat, paying for gas, taking the boat to the launch, launching the boat, paying to launch the boat and finding where the good spots are. We can do that for you.”

Garibaldi Charters also offers whale watching trips in the spring.

Most of Mautner’s customers come from out of town, and during the summer the charter trips are “nonstop visitors,” she said. Many of those visitors learn about the charter company through brochures at the Chamber offices, or in the official Tillamook Coast Visitor Guide co-produced by the Chamber.

“I feel like it’s important to be a part of the Chamber because they are really in tune with the community,” Mautner said. “I really like getting their email updates, especially over the last year keeping up posted on what’s going on with COVID and regulations and restrictions and what to expect and what’s going forward.”

The charter company happily caters to locals who don’t own boats or have a large enough vessel for deep water fishing. Offshore lingcod fishing trips tend to be a favorite in the Tillamook area.

“We have larger boats and can do some of the trips that maybe they can’t do in their own 25-foot boat,” Mautner said.

Like any charter fishing company, Garibaldi Charters operates at the mercy of the weather and fish stocks. Mautner said the business works closely with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to make sure it stays within harvest guidelines for each species of fish.

“We are not just out there raking in all of the fish. We want to make sure this continues to be sustainable,” Mautner said. “I think some people have the perception that fishermen just want to go out there and catch all the fish, but this is our livelihood. We definitely want to make sure we are doing it in a way that we will still be able to do in 20, 30 or 50 years from now.”

Meet the Chamber of Today

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Imagine for a moment the community without the Chamber. This was not far from reality a decade ago, when we were months from the Chamber becoming a completely volunteer-run organization or not existing at all. The budget was unsustainable, our membership roster was short and frankly, at that point in time, the Chamber was a visitor information center that hosted three small community events. Somewhere along the way, the Chamber had lost its way.

Fast forward 10 years, and you’ll find that the Chamber has made a concerted move to embrace its unique role of building a strong community where businesses can thrive (not so coincidentally, that is our current mission statement.) Between board leadership and staff vision, it seems that we have turned things around for the better.

Today, the Chamber boasts the largest membership in our history, with members as far north as Manzanita and as far south as Pacific City. We have two full-time, two part-time and two seasonal staff to run our programs, a board of seven directors that governs the organization and five strategic teams dedicated to one of five focus areas.

Our Leadership Team is the guiding force for the Chamber. This team focuses on internal operations and practices to make sure the Chamber is staying relevant, innovative and adaptive. The “jobs” that fall under this team include but are not limited to managing service contracts; strategic planning and aligning the Chamber’s mission with the needs of the community; and creating a positive workplace culture that can be a model for other organizations.

Our Business Growth Team focuses on exactly what its name suggests: supporting businesses as they grow both operationally and financially. More specifically, this team promotes businesses, shares business development opportunities with local businesses, advises business owners, promotes tourism and assists businesses as they apply for grants. Workforce, and lack thereof, has become a major focus of this team recently, and it is contently at the front of our minds.

Our Community Engagement Team plays the role of event host and quality of life improver. This team draws in and retains entrepreneurs and workforce members by making Tillamook and the greater county a great place to live, work and play. This is where events like June Dairy Parade, Cork & Brew Tour, Treats + Sweets, monthly Sip + Shop and the Tillamook Farmers Market come into play. Each one enhances the overall quality of life locally. This team also oversees the beautiful Downtown Planter Program and the production of the Tillamook Living Magazine, a community profile and relocation guide.

Our Connections Team aims to broker connections for our members to customers, other businesses and partner organizations. Even in the age of Google, direct referrals are still a core function of the Chamber. In fact, every day we field dozens of calls and in-person visits from people asking for referrals. The Connections Team also holds monthly Mornings on Main Street meetings for both business and community members to attend and network with each other, as well as membership events, such as the What’s Brewin’ social evening and the Annual Chamber Banquet.

Our Collaborative Advocacy Team is our newest team, and it’s where the Chamber steps into the political realm. This team provides information, opportunities and a voice for initiatives relevant to creating a healthy local economy for our businesses. I always get a kick out of it when people say, “That’s not the Chamber’s job,” because it quite literally is why chambers were created. Also, our membership surveys show that policy engagement and candidate endorsements are a high priority of our members. Our advocacy efforts often focus on land use issues, local codes, downtown safety and beautification and ballot initiatives that benefit local businesses. Housing has also been a major focus area the past couple of years, and we see it remaining so for the foreseeable future.

The Chamber is a unique organization because we have many roles, and people view us in many ways. Some people see us as a visitor information center and tourism promotion organization, while some people view us as the group who puts on community events. Some people think we are the group that only helps businesses, and some view us as a political advocate. Some say we are friend, and some say we are foe.

The thing is, every one of those people is right. The Chamber of today is all of those things. We embrace our varied roles in this community, and we continue to look to the future for ways to keep building a strong community where businesses can thrive.

We’re not the Chamber we were 10 years ago. And that’s a good thing.

June Dairy Parade’s Return to Normal a Smash Hit

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

The 64th Annual June Dairy Parade is one I will never forget. It was a whirlwind to put together a traditional parade in just one month, after having planned for another inside out. But we pulled it off! And it was the was the perfect way to ring in the return to normal, not just for the parade, but the state at large. The governor announced the day before the parade that all COVID-19 health restrictions would be lifted by the end of the month.

More than 70 groups signed up an entry into the parade this year. (Don’t be alarmed if that sounds lower than usual. We changed how we count entries this year.) It’s easy to forget how long the parade was after just a year off, but this year’s parade had just as many entries as we did in 2019. Thousands of people showed up to watch. And no one melted, despite the warm weather.

We couldn’t have done it without the help of our volunteers: Chandra Allen, Cami Aufdermauer, Gary Brunmeier, Tom Connaughton, Lou Gonzalez, Bill Hatton, Chris Kittell, Randy Lamkin, Stephen Murphy, Gretchen Power, Ron Rush, John Samagaio, Khayla Sheldon, Chris Weber and Patsy Weber.

These folks direct parade check in entries at one of our three staging areas, direct entries into the right place in the lineup, time the sendoff the entries so there are as few gaps as possible for parade viewers, clean up the staging areas after the parade wraps up and generally help us pull off a successful June Dairy Parade. Many of them are return volunteers who have helped with the parade for multiple years in a row – and some for multiple decades! We are so thankful for them all.

However, the real star of the show is always behind the scenes. Chamber Office Manager Tammy Samagaio holds the reins of the parade year in and year out. She handles all the entries and parade logistics, and she manages all the volunteers and correspondences. This parade does not happen without Tammy, and I am so grateful we have her.

We also want to thank the Tillamook County Creamery Association, Visit Tillamook Coast and the City of Tillamook for putting resources behind the parade. TCCA has been the presenting sponsor for the June Dairy Parade for as long as our records show. This year, Visit Tillamook Coast also stepped in as a sponsor to help us cover last-minute costs associated with the quick turnaround of plans. The City lends us services from the Public Works and Police departments to handle road closures and traffic control during the parade. The financial backing and traffic resources are essential for hosting the parade at all, and we really appreciate all of these groups for their help!

The Tillamook Fairgrounds, Tillamook High School and Tillamook PUD are rock stars for lending us space to organize the lineup. There’s no way we could get the lineup ready to go without our temporarily donated staging areas.

Speaking of staging areas, we are grateful to the late Don Rust. Don was a Tillamook County Pioneer and a mainstay at the fairgrounds for years. He also was the June Dairy Parade volunteer who invented the way our volunteers set up the fairgrounds during the parade. Don’s system is easy and efficient. Even though he’s no longer with us, his positive impact on our community and on the June Dairy Parade specifically will carry on his legacy as an outstanding volunteer.

A big thank you is in order for our parade entries, too. From the young dancers from three local dance school who delivered flawless performances despite the heat, to the mini-Tillamook buses and cheese samples, to dancing horses and rodeo queens and so much more, we had a great variety of entries this year – and all the fan favorites. We know it wasn’t easy to switch plans last minute from a stationary entry to a moving one, but we are so glad they made it work. The entries really are what make this parade. After all, you can’t hold a parade with no one in it!

Last but certainly not least, we want to thank all the community members who braved the heat to celebrate the parade with us! It was so amazing to see the streets lined with familiar, smiling faces not hidden behind masks. We really missed our community traditions over the last 15 months – and our community even more. It’s great to be back to normal and back together again.

Don’t forget about the children’s coloring contest. You can download the printable coloring sheet at JuneDairyParade.com or pick up a copy at the Chamber at 208 N. Main Ave. You have until July 12 to submit your entries to the Chamber.

Chamber News: International Police Museum celebrates new location, five years of Chamber membership

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

During his 40 years of policing, retired Rockaway Beach Police Chief Ed Wortman had the opportunity to travel the US and the world making friends, swapping stories and trading artifacts related to that profession. Wortman’s personal collection of police gear grew until he retired in 2015, when one might ask, what do you do with it?

In Ed Wortman’s case – and with a cadre of dedicated volunteers to help – he used the collection as a foundation to open the International Police Museum (IPM). Just a month shy of 6 years old, IPM is celebrating both its five-year anniversary as a member of Tillamook Chamber of Commerce and the success of its new home in Wheeler, Oregon.

Ed Wortman used his personal collection of police uniforms and gear to start the International Police Museum, the only institution of its type on the Northwest Oregon Coast.

While Wortman’s collection served as the initial foundation of IPM, the museum now regularly receives a variety of items donated by visitors, current and retired officers and their families. Many face a similar problem: What to do with items they or family members proudly collected but have no room or desire to keep.

The only museum of its kind in Tillamook County and the Northwest Coast, IPM’s mission is to foster mutual appreciation and understanding between police and the public they serve. Wortman referred to “Peel’s Principles of Law Enforcement.”  Written nearly 200 years ago, one of the principles reads “The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.”

Wortman said many of the police shows on TV do not accurately depict police work, and IPM hopes to give the public more accurate insight into the life and work of police officers by providing an opportunity for families and children to view – and even interact with – exhibits covering nearly 150 years of law enforcement history and culture.  As stated in IPM’s motto, it’s not all guns and cuffs.

Items on display currently range from some of the earliest known police uniforms, to equipment such as handcuffs, lie detectors, and early communication devices. Many of the items represent Tillamook County and Oregon.

One example, the “Oregon Boot” was originally designed for a prison project in Salem. Prisoners from the Oregon State Penitentiary were sent to build a new prison there around 1866. The typical ball-and-chain leg restraints were problematic on scaffolding, because if the ball or heavy chain fell off the structure, a prisoner might get trapped dangling from the scaffold.

The “Oregon Boot” temporarily replaced the ball and chain restraints used in prisons in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Designed by Oregon State Penitentiary Warden J.C. Gardner, the Oregon Boot replaced the ball-and-chain with a heavy iron band locked around the ankle, supported on a bracket affixed to one boot or shoe worn by the prisoner. The 26 pound ankle weight still prevented prisoners from moving quickly, but it was less dangerous for construction work.

The Oregon Boot at IPM is especially interesting because so few exist today.

“They quit using them in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and most of them went to the smelter during WWII because they needed metal for the war,” Wortman said.

True to its name, the IPM collection also includes items from around the globe, including helmets from Barbados, England, and Canada, among other countries. Wortman’s collection contains artifacts from over 167 different countries. Visitors from Canada, England and Japan have also contributed items to the museum.

The breadth of the collection sets IPM apart from other police museums, which usually focus on a specific police agency or a single state, Wortman said.

IPM strives to make displays that make the museum child friendly and educational. Many of the cases house one of the “bear cops” that are part of a museum scavenger hunt. The museum also has a fingerprinting station, where children and their parents can learn to take prints; a police motorcycle ride; and a real jail cell door that offers great photo opportunities. Wortman said many parents have expressed their appreciation for a place that the whole family can enjoy.

IPM moved this year to a space in the back of the Wheeler Treasures Mall store. Wortman said the move was prompted due to a change of ownership of the previous building in Rockaway. The new location seems to have increased the number of visitors stopping in to learn more about police work.

These badges, on display in the International Police Museum, are just a small sampling of the complete collection.

“We’ve exceeded the number of visitors we had in April and May in 2019, pre-COVID,” Wortman said.

Other advantages of the new space include a seven-day operating schedule and extra help with cleaning and sanitizing from the store employees.

“Shopkeeper Peggy Schuman has many great ideas to promote the merchandising of our gift shop. IPM is looking forward to an exciting 2021 in our new location,” Wortman said.

He also plans to complete some renovations so the museum can add more displays. He expects the museum’s Chamber membership to be of value in that process.

“It is a benefit to be a Chamber member because you have a sounding board, in some cases, for the things we want to do,” Wortman said. “The Chamber also keeps us up on things happening in the business world that we might not be tracking as we focus on day-to-day operations.”

Chamber News: Grocery Outlet opens new store in Tillamook

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

The long-awaited grand opening day for Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Tillamook drew more than 100 shoppers ready to score deals that would make them say, “Wow!”

Grocery Outlet, the nation’s fastest-growing, extreme-value grocery retailer, officially opened its new Tillamook location Thursday, June 24. The store is independently owned and operated by Tamara and Stephen Tuttle, who are originally from Nehalem.

“We’ve have been waiting for years to get back home,” Tamara Tuttle said at the grand opening ceremony. “And we know that you’ve been waiting a long time for this store.”

The comment was met with cheers from the crowd; at least one shopper replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes, we have!”

Plans to open a local branch of the California-based grocery retailer date back to 2018. The Tillamook City Planning Commission approved a proposal for the 18,000-square-foot store in October of that year but required the company to meet several conditions, including receiving some state and federal permits.

Over the next three years, the store successfully met those conditions and began to build up the storefront at 2055 N. Main Ave. The store is located right off Highway 101 between Roby’s Furniture and the Coastal Plaza. It employs 30 people.

“We’re here to stay, and we are very much looking forward to building a wonderful place to work for 30 of your neighbors, friends and family,” Tamara said.

Grocery Outlet owner/operators Tamara, left, and Stephen Tuttle, right, present a donation of $1,000 to Tillamook Habitat for Humanity.

Grocery Outlet encourages its owner/operators to get involved in their local communities – and the Tuttles have wasted no time doing just that. The couple has volunteered to help the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce, and on Thursday, they donated $1,000 to Tillamook Habitat for Humanity in the Tillamook store’s honor.

“Thank you to our new friends Stephen and Tamara Tuttle, owners of Grocery Outlet, for donating $1,000 to support Habitats building programs,” said Habitat Executive Director Cami Aufdermauer. “We cannot wait to see the many ways your new adventure will continue to support our community.”

Grocery Outlet offers a full range of products including fresh produce, meat, deli and dairy, along with a wide assortment of natural and organic choices. The store also carries a large selection of beer and wine, health and beauty care and seasonal items.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve received seven whole trucks of groceries, deli, produce. Anything you want to buy, we have it,” Tamara Tuttle said.

Tillamook Grocery Outlet owner/operator Tamara Tuttle, left, greets a shopper and her son on opening day at the store.

Grocery Outlet is an extreme-value grocery retailer based in Emeryville, California, with 400 stores throughout California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Pennsylvania.  Each store is owned by an independent operator from the community they serve.

“My heart is full,” Tamara Tuttle told the crowd at the grand opening. “I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.”

#ShopTillamook Sweepstakes Wraps Up, But Local Shopping Can Continue

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

We pulled the last 10 winners of the #ShopTillamook Sweepstakes on June 24, wrapping up a multi-month campaign to support local retailers across Tillamook County. Congratulations to all the winners – and a huge thank you to everyone who participated!

Over the course of the 10-week campaign, the Chamber received several hundred entries, each of which represented a purchase made at a locally owned retailer. The Chamber also infused the local economy by purchasing all 80 gift cards we awarded in the raffle – a $4,000 value – so local businesses didn’t have to cover the cost.

More than the individual entries and gift cards, though, was the excitement we saw for our local businesses on social media. We released 30 promotional videos featuring local retailers, and those videos received a lot of love online. In total, the videos were seen more than 65,000 times on Facebook and earned well over 125 comments and 1,300 likes.

We loved watching our community support its local businesses on the video posts. One of my favorite things to do during the campaign was read through comments people left on the videos. The comments included positive reviews from loyal shoppers that frequent local retailers, as well as excitement from shoppers who learned about a business they’d never been to before.

Oftentimes, the repeat customers would inspire new shoppers to stop into a business for the first time, either by answering questions about the business or building up the staff and management. Think of it like a good Yelp recommendation, but with more weight because it comes from one of your friends or family members. And that was exactly the type of energy we wanted to build with the sweepstakes!

With all that’s gone on in the last year, it’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to have so many amazing local retailers that persevered through all the ups and downs of the pandemic. Our local retailers continually provide the community with great products and services, and word-of-mouth reviews like we saw in the comments of our #ShopTillamook posts give them a leg up. Not only does it show them how much their loyal customers love them, but also it attracts new shoppers to support the business!

The love doesn’t have to stop now that #ShopTillamook is over. In fact, we hope the community will continue to shop locally, thank its local retailers and share their experiences with friends and family.

Our local shops power our economy, support our community events and sponsor our children’s sports leagues. Even during the pandemic, our local businesses found ways to give back to the community and keep our citizens safe. In exchange, we should continue to Shop Tillamook whenever we can!

Business Growth on the Horizon in Tillamook

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Fostering business growth is an often unnoticed or unseen part of what the Chamber does, but recently more businesses have been seeking out that benefit. So I wanted to take some time to explain what exactly that process looks like.

A lot of people think the Chamber helps businesses grow only through training. As owners and operators learn more about running a business and reinvest that knowledge into their own shop, their businesses expand. While that is true, there is more to the story. Helping with business growth also includes providing “practical advising” on topics like property acquisition, relocation and renovation, operational efficiencies and hiring – and that’s the side that the Chamber focuses on.

I’ll add quickly that we are fortunate to have the training side covered by the Tillamook Small Business Development Center. Their work on academic and technical advising frees up time for the Chamber to direct its attention to helping with the other side of the business growth equation. Plus, the SBDC plays a vital role in educating businesses on the nitty gritty details and requirements of entrepreneurship, so business owners are more prepared to have practical advising conversations with us later down the road.

What do I mean when I say the Chamber provides practical advising for businesses growth?  It can take a few different forms.

When an aspiring entrepreneur first hatches the idea to open a business, the Chamber helps grow that idea by talking through the potential pitfalls they might face. These conversations cover more than what kinds of licenses a business owner needs to open legally. We talk about challenges and opportunities within the industry, sustainability of their business model, how to avoid burnout and how to prepare for future growth now.

We also advise businesses throughout the property acquisition process, whether for a new shop or a relocation. We help business owners navigate general land use and zoning requirements or conditions. (Just because there is a piece of property for sale doesn’t always mean it can be used for business right away). We also talk through how a certain property they are considering best fits their business model.

 You’ve seen our work helping with business growth in the form of storefront renovations. (Think Dutch Mill, Madeline’s Vintage Marketplace and Flavors on First Street, for example). The businesses apply for urban renewal grants and complete the renovation work, but we love to help them formulate the best pitch and design renderings to secure the award.

We’ve even helped businesses grow by providing our shared workspace at Chamber headquarters as a location for hiring interviews. This is especially beneficial for businesses that are just getting started, because they can begin the hiring process well before opening, even if their own location is not quite ready for visitors yet. Really, it’s a major leg up for forming a staff.

After the long year businesses have endured during the pandemic, you might be surprised to hear that business growth advising is taking up a large portion of our time at the Chamber. Our business community is resilient and strong.  Many local business owners are working hard to enrich the community with new services, new products and new opportunities, pandemic or not. I am proud of their work – and more than happy to help them along in the process.

And while I can’t talk specifically about some of the ideas brewing in our business community, I can tell you this: There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon. So keep your eyes open to see how our local businesses grow!

Tillamook is Looking Beautiful — Thanks to Our Community!

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Let me take a moment to brag about how beautiful Downtown Tillamook looks right now.

Just last week, more than 50 large planters burst to life with flowers and foliage. The Chamber contracts local plant experts to run our Downtown Planter Program, which places large flower planters throughout the downtown district. The Chamber began this program in 2013, and the planters add a decorative element to the city.

We maintain the planters year-round with appropriate plants for the season, including hardy winter plants in the colder months. The arrangements are revamped semi-annually, and I love to see what new and unique designs is planted in them. But it seems the planters always look so amazing in the summer. It must be something about seeing those bright florals after a long winter of gray skies…

Of course, we couldn’t run the program without the help of our contracted expert green thumbs Cindy and Melissa, who plant and care for the flowers all season long. We also contract with the City of Tillamook crew, which waters the plants through the summer, and from the business owners who sponsor the program financially. You’ll know who those sponsors are because they have a planter right outside of their storefront!

And the Downtown Planter Program is just one of the many city beautification efforts happening in Tillamook right now. Maybe you noticed that city crews have recently ramped up efforts to clean out and weed the bioswales along Main and Pacific avenues.

For whatever reason, those bioswales seem to be the perfect habitat for weeds to flourish, and we get a lot of comments about how we can make them more appealing and less overgrown. So we are very encouraged to see the city tackling that task. They are listening to our community and problem solving right alongside us!

City crews also hung flower baskets throughout town. I think they pair perfectly with our larger planters on the ground. Having hanging baskets and sidewalk planters really ties together the walkways!

And don’t forget that all this work comes just about a month after our Downtown Tillamook Cleanup. More than a dozen volunteers lent a hand in May to clean between brick pavers, blow away old leaves, pick up garbage and wash off signs. We are so grateful to our cleanup volunteers – and to all of the community members who find little ways to make a big difference for our city.

It can be as simple as picking up a piece of trash you see where it shouldn’t be or applying a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of your home or business. We see these beautification acts happening every day in Tillamook, and altogether it amplifies the beauty of the place where we live, work and play!

Welcome Brooke Reibach to Her Tillamook Chamber Internship

by Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

The Chamber is trying something a little new with our staff this summer: a summer internship program for Tillamook’s very own Brooke Reibach. Join us in welcoming Brooke to our team!

Brooke’s internship will focus on nonprofit organization, management and event planning. She also will help us with a special project to formulate the Tillamook Chamber Community Foundation charitable organization. (More on that later.) Her official title will be our Operations Assistant Intern.

“This will be my initial experience working with a nonprofit, so I really want to see how that’s different from working for a for profit company, and what it looks like to be a mission-focused organization. I’m also excited to be involved in starting the Tillamook Chamber Community Foundation,” Brooke said.

Brooke was born and raised in Tillamook, and she graduated from Tillamook High School in 2019. In fact, she has spent all her life here, except for nine months she attended the University of Oregon at the Eugene campus before the pandemic opened up remote options for her.

At UO, Brooke is majoring in nonprofit management with a minor in religious studies. She said she hopes her education will create career opportunities to make a positive difference in the world.

“I picked this major because it actually teaches you about the world and how you can improve communities,” she said. “It seems like a ‘doing’ major, where other majors felt frustrating because you are just being told what’s wrong but not being told how to fix it.”

Part of her degree requires Brooke to get an internship with a nonprofit. She reached out to the Chamber to see if we might be able to help her, and we found a way to add a summertime role to fit her needs.

“I think it’s really special to intern in my hometown. Tillamook is a really great place to grow up, and I feel like sometimes people take that for granted. So I think it’s important to now have my chance to give back to this community that has been there for me my whole life,” Brooke said.

The Chamber has hired an intern before, though that internship looked a little bit different than Brooke’s will. It was highly specific because it was funded through an outside grant and university program with detailed terms, while Brooke’s is more general and adaptable. Hers will also be the first single-semester internship we’ve ever offered, and the first filled by a Tillamook local.

We are fortunate Brooke decided to intern in Tillamook and share her talent locally, instead of choosing a different community where she could gain the same skills. We see Brooke’s internship with us as a chance to give her real-world taste of the nonprofit sector – and potentially get her to stay in Tillamook even after she graduates. There is a lot of value in keeping young professionals in the town they grew up in, because they already know and care about the community.

Brooke’s first day at the Chamber will be June 21. She will work with us until her fall classes start in early September. Please come by the Chamber office to introduce yourself to Brooke when you have time!

Tillamook Farmers Market Returns June 12

by Sayde Walker
Tillamook Farmers Market Manager

The return of longer, warmer days can only mean one thing: It is almost farmers market season!

The Tillamook Farmers Market will return for its 21st season on June 12 and run through Sept. 24. As always, you will find the market on the corner of Laurel Avenue and Second Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday.

While many of our COVID-19 restrictions from last year will still be in place, we will slowly (and safely) be phasing in some of our regularly scheduled programming. We have received confirmation from the Oregon Farmers Market Association that we can bring back live music, and I am working on scheduling some of our local, talented musicians for the months of July and August when the weather is particularly nice, and everyone can properly spread out.

We will also be bringing back our SNAP service and Double Up Food Bucks incentive program. If you or anyone in your household has an Oregon Trail Card, they can come to the Farmers Market HQ trailer, and we will not only process their EBT card so they can spend SNAP dollars at the Market, we also will match the first $10 they spend with an additional $10 for fruits and vegetables.

Speaking of fruits and vegetables, we have added a few extra farms this year that I am very excited about. Z’s Fresh Microgreens will be joining us for the entire season, and if you haven’t tried their microgreens yet you are missing out! They are great as a nutritious, flavor-packed snack or the perfect topping for salads and sandwiches. Josi Farms also will be joining us this season selling not only their produce, but also farm-raised beef. Of course, all your favorites, like Pitch n Plow, Brickyard Farms, the Berry Patch Girls, MC Family Farms (the one with all the beautiful flowers), Mountains to Rivers Ranch, and Fawcett Creek Farms will all be back this year, as well.

You also will find Oregon Coast Honey, Three Sisters Kettle Corn, Pacific Roots Coffee, Nestucca Bay Creamery, Sweet Treats by George, Bewley Creek Woodworking and many of your other favorite vendors returning this year, as well as plenty of new faces to come check out. We are also planning another seafood stock up event toward the end of the season, when you can find fresh, canned and frozen tuna and other locally sourced seafood to stock up on before summer ends.

If you were hoping to get in as a vendor, you may have noticed that our online application has closed, but we are still taking your information in case there is an opening. Because we are still spacing vendors six feet apart, we are limited on the number of booths we can accommodate. Please feel free to email me at sayde@tillamookchamber.org if you have any questions or would like to get on the waiting list.

We look forward to seeing everyone on June 12!

Chamber News: Aufdermauer Celebrates 10 Years as Chamber Director

Justin Aufdermauer

by Mallory Gruben
Communications Manager

The Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce of a decade ago may well be unrecognizable to its modern-day self.

With a more accessible headquarters, more members and a stronger reputation within the community, the organization has changed significantly since 2011. Past and present Chamber board members say that Executive Director Justin Aufdermauer is the mastermind behind those changes.Justin Aufdermauer

“When he started, the Chamber wasn’t doing very well,” said Whitey Forsman, a former Chamber board member who worked with Aufdermauer for 8 years. “Justin put a strategic plan together and followed it. And it proved successful.”

Last month marked Aufdermauer’s 10th year in the Chamber’s top leadership position. In that time, he has moved the Chamber headquarters, built stronger relationships with business and community partners, and provided a face for Tillamook County on regional and state boards.

“I think people now see the Chamber as informed and educational. They appreciate what the Chamber does for our businesses and for our community. Justin has been the one that’s driving all of that. He has elevated the Chamber in that way,” said Lisa Greiner, president of the Chamber board of directors.

When Aufdermauer started at the Chamber, the organization’s headquarters was based in the Tillamook County Creamery Association parking lot as a visitor center. The Chamber had significantly fewer members, and it focused more on tourism and visitor relations than the community, he said.

A car salesman with Tillamook Ford who was serving in a number of community leadership roles at the time, Aufdermauer applied for the job because he saw it as an opportunity “spend my career” doing something he loved: positively influencing his hometown by being involved in the community.

Tillamook Chamber Executive Director Justin Aufdermauer ‘walks the walk’ by volunteering for the 2021 Downtown Tillamook Cleanup and other community events throughout the year.

Forsman said the new director added “credibility” to the Chamber. He was a life-long local resident who knew the community well and truly cared about it.

“Justin walks the walk and talks the talk,” Forsman said.

Aufdermauer brought his community connections from groups like Kiwanis and the Tillamook Revitalization Association to the Chamber with him. He built upon those relationships to grow partnerships with the Creamery, the City of Tillamook and others, Forsman said.

Those partnerships eventually led the Chamber to grow its membership to more than 300 businesses and individuals, and to move Chamber headquarters to a more prominent spot in Downtown Tillamook.

“The Creamery approached us as they were expanding and worked closely with us to relocate. It was really a great opportunity for us to find a downtown location that afforded us an opportunity to still accommodate visitors while becoming more engaged with a broader part of the community,” Aufdermauer said.

In his early years at the Chamber, Aufdermauer caught some flak for being a “free spirit” who was direct about what he wanted, Forsman said. But as he grew into the role – and was mentored by Forsman and other board members – Aufdermauer learned to use that quality to his benefit.

“What really makes the difference with Justin is that he doesn’t mind confronting issues, but he doesn’t carry any ill feeling around,” Forsman said.

Greiner added that Aufdermauer is “direct, but not mean about it.”

“Sometimes when you’re too soft with people, the message gets lost. So I appreciate Justin’s bluntness,” she said. “He also has an energy that is infectious and gets people excited for things that are happening. His passion and excitement rub off on other people.”

Tillamook Chamber Executive Director Justin Aufdermauer, left, celebrates the local business community by hosting the Chamber’s annual Community Awards Banquet.

Greiner said she see the Chamber as the “rising tide that floats all of the community.” Aufdermauer’s talents and competitive nature fuel daily improvements that benefit Chamber members and the community at large, she said.

“Justin wants the Chamber to be the best it can be for the community, to always be better than it was yesterday,” she said. “He thinks about problems from 360 degrees. He has an organizational thought process, and he understands that there is a need for the people to be involved and informed. He just gets what the Chamber is here to do: build community.”

Since starting at the Chamber, Aufdermauer has shifted his board service from local organizations to state and regional groups. He serves on boards for the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Destination Association and Oregon Coast Visitors Association, among other boards. Those positions allow Aufdermauer to represent Tillamook at the regional and state levels, which have not historically featured a local voice for the community.

“He’s well-respected in the state and on state boards,” Forsman said. “He really is the go-to guy for politicians to get a pulse of what’s going on in our community.”

Aufdermauer joked that his greatest accomplishment over the last decade has been adding to the membership roster businesses that had long avoided joining the Chamber.

“One of my favorite accomplishments was getting Tom (Connaughton) at Diamond Art and Cindy (Gardner) at Sunflower Flats to join the Chamber,” Aufdermauer said. “Those were two anchor stores I grew up with as a local, but they were not members of the Chamber. When they finally joined, I felt like I could cross that off my bucket list.”

In his first decade as the Tillamook Chamber’s Executive Director, Justin Aufdermauer, right, led the Chamber in adding members, moving to more prominent location and expanding community engagement.

On a more serious note, Aufdermauer noted that adding longstanding Tillamook businesses as Chamber members indicated that the organization was operating in the way it was originally intended. Many businesses that had not seen the value of a membership before changed their minds as they saw the Chamber grow.

As businesses started to see the value of a membership, Aufdermauer took it as a sign that the Chamber was making an impact in the community and meeting its mission to build a strong community where businesses can thrive. For him, that is the true pinnacle of his work so far.

“Ten years ago, the Chamber had reached a point where it wasn’t supporting businesses and building community like it should. Me, the board and my staff have been able to fill that void successfully,” he said. “That is my greatest accomplishment: knowing that in the past 10 years, we’ve had a positive impact on building a stronger community.”

 

Chamber has free PPE for small businesses

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

The Chamber recently received a third shipment of Personal Protective Equipment from Business Oregon, and with our in-house storage space stocked with masks, gloves, and sanitizer, it feels like a good time to recap the free PPE program we’ve been helping manage.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s economic development agency Business Oregon has provided Chambers like ours with PPE to distribute at no cost to local small businesses. The shipments include a wide variety of supplies, including face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, no-touch hand sanitizer dispensers, sanitizer wipes and spray, and thermometers. Pretty much anything a business might need to follow state guidelines.

The program saves money for businesses, who don’t have to personally incur the expense of buying PPE. In Tillamook County the program has provided more than $100,000 worth of PPE.

The only requirement for a business to receive PPE through this program is that it qualifies as a “small business” under state definitions. That means any local business with 500 or fewer employees can call the Chamber to order PPE at no-cost to their business. You don’t even need to be a Chamber member, (though we recommend joining, because members also get the added benefit of reminder emails and regular updates explaining state data and guidelines as they change).

So far, we’ve distributed well over 200 orders to local businesses all across Tillamook County. Orders have gone to businesses as far north as Manzanita and as far south as Neskowin. (We’ve got to give a special shoutout to Dan Haag, who helped us reach dozens of businesses up in North County!)

The most recent bunch of supplies should be the last full shipment we will receive from Business Oregon, though we expect to get a special restock of hand sanitizer refills for the no-touch dispensers later that should last through the end of the year.

We distribute on a first come, first serve basis, and we will continue to hand the supplies until we run out. Although we are low on some items – sanitizer spray seems to be most popular – our stock should be enough to meet business needs for the next several months. We simply ask that businesses don’t call in for a restock just to amass back stock at this time.

Businesses can reserve new stock or request a restock of PPE by calling Tammy at 503-842-7525. Orders are customizable, so feel free to ask for just one or two items if that’s all you need for now. We are happy to help however we can!

New Ways to Enter #ShopTillamook Sweepstakes

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Hello … is there anybody out there??

As we near the end of the first few weeks of the #ShopTillamook Sweepstakes, we have just TWO entries. We are giving away $4,000 in gift certificates over the course of the campaign. So where is everybody at?

Maybe we weren’t clear that there is $4,000 in prizes up for grabs. Eighty gift cards worth $50 each. And we are drawing winners in a raffle style each week, which means you could very well win one gift card every week of the campaign. That’s a possible total of $400 per person, if you enter each week and luck is with you! But you can’t win even a single gift card if you don’t enter.

Maybe we poorly explained that any and all purchases made at a locally owned retailer are eligible. And by “local,” we mean Tillamook County. You can shop at small businesses in Manzanita to Neskowin and still have a chance to win!

Whatever the reason for the slow kickoff of #ShopTillamook, we’ve decided to extend the sweepstakes though mid-June. And we’ve added two new ways to enter to make it easier for everyone to participate. Now, in addition to positing a photo of an item you purchased from a locally owned retailer, you can also text a photo to 503-389-0631 or bring your receipt into Chamber Headquarters at 208 Main Ave.

There is no limit to how many times you can enter, so the more you shop and the more items you buy, the more likely you are to win. And potentially win again and again each week! We randomly select up to 10 winners weekly, but it’s up to you to improve your odds of being drawn.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, now is a great time to #ShopTillamook for local gifts. Show your mom how much you appreciate her, while also supporting local retailers who have continued to serve this community despite all the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents. You can even keep your gift secret with our new ways to enter, which won’t accidentally alert your mom of her Mother’s Day gift.

You can also participate by revamping your summer wardrobe and showing it off on social media. Or by purchasing new toys for your kids to play with during summer vacation – and new gadgets to boost your backyard barbecue game (I’m looking at you, Green Mountain Grill).

So let’s recap: Our #ShopTillamook Sweepstakes is still underway with two new ways to enter. You can – and should – participate by purchasing something from a locally owned retailer and:

  • Posting a photo of the item on social media with #ShopTillamook
  • Texting a photo of the item to 503-389-0631
  • Bringing your receipt into Chamber HQ

We saw the energy this community has for supporting its local businesses during the #TillamookTakeout campaign. Help us show our local retailers the same love and excitement as you did our restaurants – and win a gift card while you’re at it!

ShopTillamook Official Rules

ShopTillamook Official Rules

“THE TILLAMOOK AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (the “Sponsor”) is running the #SHOPTILLAMOOK SWEEPSTAKES” (the “Promotion”)

OFFICIAL SWEEPSTAKES RULES

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS PROMOTION.

A purchase will not improve chances of winning.

 

CONSUMER DISCLOSURE

You have not yet won.

THE PROMOTION IS ONLY OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 U.S. STATES (D.C.) THAT ARE 18 YEARS OLD AS OF THE DATE OF ENTRY

By entering this Promotion, entrants accept and agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Any violation of these rules may result in disqualification, at Sponsor’s discretion. All decisions of the judges regarding this Promotion are final and binding in all respects.

  1. PROMOTION PERIOD. Weekly drawing promotion begin at 12:01 AM PT of April 1, 2021 and ends 5:00 PM PT June 21, 2021, when all entries must be received. (“Promotion Period.”)
  2. ELIGIBILITY.The Promotion is only open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. States (D.C) who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry, except employees of the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce and the immediate family (i.e., parents, children, siblings, spouse), and persons residing in the same household, as such individuals. This Promotion is void outside the 50 U.S States (D.C.) and where prohibited.
  3. HOW TO ENTER.There are four (4) ways to enter: 1) provide a receipt from a locally owned business within Tillamook County during the Promotion Period to the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce located at 208 Main Ave. and follow the instructions to complete and submit the entry form; 2) Text message first and last name along with a photo of your receipt to 503-389-0631, 3) post a photo of items purchased at a locally owned business in Tillamook County to Facebook or Instagram using #ShopTillamook, 4) visit the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce located at 208 Main Ave. Tillamook, OR 97141 during regular business hours, fill out provided questionnaire, complete and submit an entry form. All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. Receipts will be stamped which will void that receipt from future entry use. All entrant information, including e-mail addresses, may be used by Sponsor for future solicitation.
  4. WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION. Weekly prize winner selection will be conducted by random drawing from all eligible entries. Any potential winner will be notified by mail, email, telephone and/or Facebook MessengerIf a potential winner: (i) cannot be contacted; (ii) does not respond within five (5) days from the date the Sponsor first tries to notify him/her; (iii) fails to return the Affidavit and Release as specified in Rule 9; (iv) refuses the prize; and/or (v) the prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, such potential winner forfeits all rights to win the Promotion or receive the prize, and an alternate potential winner may be selected. Upon contacting a potential winner and determining that he/she has met all eligibility requirements of the Promotion, including without limitation the execution of required waivers, publicity and liability releases and disclaimers, and, at Sponsor’s discretion, successful completion of a background check, such individual will be declared the “winner” of the Promotion.
  5. PRIZE DESCRIPTION. There will be a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of ten (10) weekly prizes that are to be individually determined and identified on the Facebook group Shop Tillamook. Winners will receive one (1) $50 gift card to a locally owned business in Tillamook County.
  6. TAXES. All federal, state and/or local income and other taxes, if any, are the winner’s sole responsibility.
  7. ODDS OF WINNING.The odds of winning this Promotion depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  8. NO PRIZE TRANSFER OR SUBSTITUTION. No prize or any portion thereof is transferable or redeemable for cash. No substitutions for prize except by Sponsor, in which case a prize of equal or greater value will be substituted.
  9. CONSENT AND RELEASE. By entering the Promotion, each entrant releases and discharges the Sponsor, judging organization (if applicable), and any other party associated with the development or administration of this Promotion, their parent, subsidiary, and affiliated entities, and each of their respective officers, directors, members, shareholders, employees, independent contractors, agents, representatives, successors and assigns (collectively, “Sponsor Entities”), from any and all liability whatsoever in connection with this Promotion, including without limitation legal claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages, demands or actions of any kind (including without limitation personal injuries, death, damage to, loss or destruction or property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation, or portrayal in a false light) (collectively, “Claims”). Except where prohibited: (i) entry into the Promotion constitutes the consent of each entrant , without further compensation, to use his/her name, likeness, biographical data, and contact information for editorial, advertising, marketing, publicity, and administrative purposes by the Sponsor and/or others authorized by the Sponsor; (ii) acceptance of a prize constitutes a release by any winner of the Sponsor Entities of any and all Claims in connection with the administration of this Promotion and the use, misuse, or possession of any prize; (iii) any potential winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility (including social security number) and a liability/publicity release; and (iv) if prize involves travel or activities, any potential winner and travel companion (if applicable) may be required to execute releases of the Sponsor from any and all liability with respect to participation in such travel/activities and/or use of the prize. Fully-executed Affidavits and releases must be received by Sponsor within five (5) days from the date that Sponsor first tries to notify the potential winner. Sponsor may conduct a background check to confirm any potential winner’s eligibility and compliance with these rules. By entering, you agree to cooperate reasonably with any such background check. If the prize includes participation in any public event(s) or publicity, or if Sponsor Entities intend to publicize the winner in any way, and if a background check reveals that a potential winner has engaged in conduct that could damage the reputation or business of any Sponsor Entity, as determined by Sponsor in its discretion, the potential winner may be disqualified and the prize may be awarded to an alternate winner.
  10. DISCLAIMERS.(i) Sponsor not responsible for entries that are lost, late, misdirected, incorrect, garbled, or incompletely received, for any reason, (ii) Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process or the operation of the web site or otherwise attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion. (iii) Sponsor further reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the Promotion if it is not capable of completion as planned, including by reason of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure or technical failures of any sort. (iv) Sponsor Entities are not responsible for errors in the administration or fulfillment of this Promotion, including without limitation mechanical, human, printing, distribution or production errors, and may cancel, terminate or modify this Promotion based upon such error at its sole discretion without liability. In no event will Sponsor be responsible for awarding more than the number of prizes specified in these rules. (v) In the event this Promotion is cancelled or terminated, pursuant to subparagraph (iii) or (iv), Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may elect to hold a random drawing from among all eligible entries received up to the date of discontinuance for any or all of the prizes offered herein. (vi) SPONSOR ENTITIES MAKE NO WARRANTIES, REPRESENTATIONS OR GUARANTEES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN FACT OR IN LAW, AS REGARDS THIS PROMOTION OR THE MERCHANTABILITY, QUALITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE REGARDING ANY PRIZE OR ANY COMPONENT OF ANY PRIZE. (vii) CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS PROMOTION MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND/OR CIVIL LAWS, AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDIES AND DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ATTORNEYS’ FEES) FROM ANY SUCH ENTRANT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. (viii) The value(s) of the prize(s) set forth above represent Sponsor’s good faith determination of the approximate retail value(s) thereof; the actual fair market value(s) as ultimately determined by Sponsor are final and binding and cannot be challenged or appealed. In the event the stated approximate retail value(s) of a prize is more than the actual fair market value of that prize, the difference will not be awarded in cash or otherwise. No substitution or compensation will be given for any portion of the prize that is not used.
  11. APPLICABLE LAWS AND JURISDICTION. This Promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. If any court of law, having the jurisdiction to decide on this matter, rules that any provision of these Official Rules is invalid or unenforceable, then that provision will be removed from the Official Rules, and the remaining provisions of these Official Rules will remain in full force and effect.Issues concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules shall be governed by the laws of the State of Oregon, without regard to any principles of conflict of laws. All disputes arising out of or connected with this Promotion will be resolved individually, and without resort to class action, exclusively by a state or federal court located in Portland, Oregon. Should there be a conflict between the laws of the State of Oregon and any other laws, the conflict will be resolved in favor of the laws of the State of Oregon. To the extent permitted by applicable law, all judgments or awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket damages (excluding attorneys’ fees) associated with participation in this Promotion and shall not include any indirect, punitive, incidental and/or consequential damages.
  12. WINNER LIST.For the name of the winner, send a self-addressed stamped envelope, within six (6) months of the Drawing Date, to: Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce, 208 Main Ave., Tillamook, OR 97141.
  13. SPONSORSHIP.This Promotion is sponsored by the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce at 208 Main Ave. Tillamook, OR 97141, US Bank Corp and individual businesses as identified weekly within the Tillamook County Shopper (individually and collectively, the “Sponsor”).

 

Redesigned Chamber HQ a COVID Safe Workspace

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

I’m a strong believer that people work best when their surrounding environment is comfortable. Go ahead and kick back on the couch! While it might sound counterintuitive, it often leads to greater inspiration and productivity.

That’s why our shared workspace here in Chamber Headquarters focuses on creating a comfortable yet productive atmosphere. And we recently redesigned the space to further enhance the experience.

Take, for example, our new seating arrangement near the picture windows looking out to Main Street. With a loveseat and two comfy armchairs all nestled around a coffee table, it looks a little like a living room. Pair that with free WiFi for guests and courtesy coffee or tea, and it comes alive as a productive workspace. It’s not unusual for us to find someone typing away on their next big project while curled up in one of the chairs.

We also added collapsible tables with wheels to replace the traditional tables that used to fill our upstairs area. The new tables allow for easy rearranging, so you can reconfigure them however best meets your needs. They also make social distancing simple: Just wheel your workspace six feet from any other people that might be sharing the space!

State guidelines for COVID-19 led us to reduce the overall number of tables available in HQ to meet capacity and social distancing requirements. The change opened up the space, adding light and brightness. You won’t feel that work-from-home claustrophobia here because we’ve got ample room!

The state guidelines also inspired us to purchase a Keurig machine for our coffee bar. Now we can offer individual serving sizes, instead of a sharing a single pot of coffee among many people. The even better benefit is that everyone can brew the beverage of their choice, guilt-free of wasting coffee that’s been on the burner all day.

All told, the redesign amplifies the atmosphere, making Chamber HQ the natural choice for a productive place to work. Our shared workspace is open to the public, and we are happy to host people who are working remotely or who need a space to safely meet with clients in-person.

You can reserve a portion of the space by calling Tammy at the office 503-824-7525. Walk-ins are also welcome, and we encourage you to drop in to check out the new furniture and try out the new couches, rolling tables or Keurig for yourself! Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to boost your workflow.

Save the Date for June Dairy Parade

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Clear your calendar and rev your engines for June 26: The 64th annual June Dairy Parade is a-go, though it will once again be inside out. The parade theme will be “As the World Churns.” (Fitting, we think, for how our community keeps trekking along despite any of last year’s obstacles.)

We looked at every angle possible for hosting a traditional parade, but based on current state guidelines and OSHA enforcement, there’s simply no way to line our streets with the some-20,000 parade spectators that usually show up to watch. So instead, entries will stage along a parade route, and spectators will drive through to enjoy the floats, dancers, and other festivities.

Although we are eager for the days when we can return to a traditional parade style, we’ve found that the inside out model is a good temporary substitute. Last year more than 400 cars showed up to drive through the parade route, which consisted of approximately 50 entries staged for nearly a mile. As cars drove through, parade entries passed out candy, cheese, jerky and other goodies from a safe distance, so none of the snacks or swag you’re used to was missing!

Both participants and entries had a great time. And as a testament to our success, a handful of other cities in the region reached out to us for tips on hosting their own inside out parade. We’ve become an example for how to hold fun and safe community celebrations during the pandemic!

Of course, we are always looking for ways to improve. This year we will start the parade at 10 a.m., an hour earlier than usual, to avoid the increased traffic on Pacific and Main that caused some delays last year. We’re planning to block additional roads along the route to ensure that vehicles can get through the parade in a timely fashion, as well as adding measures to reduce the wait-time at the fairgrounds. We’ll have more on the specifics as June 26 gets closer.

We also hope to grow the number of entries and participants this year to make the inside out parade bigger and better than before. So break out your globes or butter-making equipment, get creative, and help us celebrate all things dairy! After all, the dairy industry is a big deal here in Tillamook.

If you would like to be a staged entry in the 2021 June Dairy Parade, please submit your application by May 31 at junedairyparade.com. And keep your eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates and additional information.

#ShopTillamook Launches This Week

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

Did you know you can purchase high-quality farm and garden supplies, homemade bath bombs, hand-painted vintage furniture and mouthwatering smoked meats all right here in Tillamook County?

Sometimes it feels easy to forget how fortunate we are to have so many amazing local retailers in our community. More than saving a long drive into Portland, these local shops power our economy, support beloved community events and our children’s sports leagues, and care about our hometown just as much as we do.

So we’re launching the #ShopTillamook campaign to remind everyone about all of our great retailers and show our local shops how much we appreciate them!

#ShopTillamook is an idea gleaned off the success of our past events promoting local businesses. Think #TillamookTakeout meets Shop Small Sweepstakes. In many ways, #ShopTillamook combines those two events to show off all the great retail options available in our community – and give you a reason to buy that special shirt or fancy new tool you’ve been eyeing for a while. After all, it pays to shop when every purchase makes you eligible to win one of 80, $50 gift cards!

The rules are simple: Every time you purchase an item from a locally owned retailer between April 4 and May 31, snap a photo and post it on Facebook or Instagram using #ShopTillamook. Each post automatically enters you to win gift cards to local stores. There is no limit to how many times you can enter, so the more you shop, the more likely you are to win!

Each week we will randomly select 10 winners to receive a gift card to a local business. We’ll also share videos of several local businesses to give you an opportunity to scope out your next purchase and learn a little bit more about retailers throughout the county. Between our videos and your pictures, we will flood social media with hundreds of reasons to visit local shops. Let’s encourage each other to buy locally!

Shopping locally helps our community thrive. It supports your neighbors, your friends, and your family. It keeps our community vibrant and unique. And it shows local business owners – the same ones who support FFA, youth sports and local nonprofits  – that we appreciate all they do for our community! They took a risk to open a business and provide you with great products and services just down the street. Participating in the #ShopTillamook campaign is a great way to say thank you.

The Tillamook community showed up for our local restaurants big-time with #TillamookTakeout, and we hope you’ll all do the same for #ShopTillamook. What better way to do that than to treat yourself to a new shirt, a nice piece of furniture or a new gadget. And, of course, enter yourself for the opportunity to win a gift card!

Welcoming Kristin Holleran to the Chamber Board of Directors

Kristin Holleran

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

If you are a regular reader of this column you might notice a theme lately: We have a lot of new faces (and new energy) here at the Chamber. I am excited to introduce you to our other new board member, Kristin Holleran.

Kristin HolleranOriginally from Spokane, Wash., Kristin is the Director of Plant Operations at the Tillamook County Creamery Association, where she has worked for the last five and a half years. She oversees all the manufacturing, cheese making, packaging, ice cream and whey products. She joined the Tillamook Chamber Board of Directors as a way to get out in the community, meet new people, and start giving back.

“The Chamber is involved in almost every major event in the community,” she added about why she applied to the board of directors. “I am looking forward to being to help with the Tillamook County fair booth, the Cork & Brew Tour, and to help bring up and foster the Young Professionals.”

Kristin has been a part of the TCCA scholarship committee for the last several years and said she has seen first-hand how talented and driven the youth in our community can be, and she looks forward to opportunities to mentor young professionals as they build their careers.

Kristin added that she is passionate about chambers because they have an opportunity to be a real influence in the communities they serve. “They are a source for networking, a wealth of educational information, and an advocate for local businesses,” she said. “That has really shown through this last year with COVID in the multiple ways that our chamber advocated for our small business community.”

It’s clear Kristin understands and values the work that the chamber does, and we are excited to involve her in our many events, projects, and programs going forward.

Member News: West Elliott Boutique and Studios Turn One

West Elliott Ribbon Cutting

Earlier this month West Elliott Boutique and West Elliott Studios celebrated their one-year anniversary — and their persistence through the COVID-19 pandemic — with a special Chamber ribbon cutting ceremony. Built up of a boutique, esthetics, photos and florals, the downtown Tillamook shop is a collection of dreamers looking to bring happiness to others.

West Elliott Ribbon Cutting
Michelle Dooher, Kait Dooher, Natalie Travis, Candace Martin, Kim Martin Travis, Hailey Travis and Leilani Martin.

“So many people are repeat customers who come in and support us,” said boutique owner Kim Martin. “They could go to Portland or shop online, but they still got all of their Christmas gifts at our shop. They still think about us for birthdays or baby showers. I really want to thank the community, because without them coming in every week to support us, I don’t know if we would have made it.”

West Elliott started as a studio space for photographer Natalie Travis and makeup artist Kait Dooher.

Kait has been a staple makeup artist in Oregon for more than six years. She went to Aveda Salon in Portland right after high school, and she’s spent time on the East Coast. Eventually she made her way back to Tillamook, driven by her passion of making women look and feel their best.

Natalie has been doing photography on the Oregon Coast for four years now. She was a barista for six years before finding her passion in life. She especially enjoys photographing all things related to love: couples, weddings, engagements, motherhood, newborns, families, self-love and more.

The women started the business while brainstorming places for rent in their hometown. The space at 112 Main Ave. was perfect for what they needed. Natalie could use a portion of the space as a photography studio, while Kait could reserve an area for a spa room and makeup lounge.

In a nod to the building’s long history in Tillamook, Natalie and Kait decided to name their studio after “Mr. Elliott,” the building’s owner during the early 1900s. They added the word “West” to represent their Pacific Northwest geography.

Renovations started in January 2020. Soon afterward, Natalie and Kait realized that they had more space than they knew what to do with, so they started thinking about the possibility of opening a storefront. Natalie’s mom, Kim Martin Travis, has always wanted her own little boutique, and with this new journey, the women wanted to make that dream a reality.

Kim joined the girls in business in March, opening West Elliott Boutique. The COVID-19 pandemic took hold no more than a week later.

“We were really worried. It felt like we had put all our time and resources into this business, and all of the sudden we didn’t know what would happen,” Kim said.

But the women persevered, finding ways to continue doing business even while their storefront was closed by state mandates.

“I would post online whenever I got new items in, and people would comment on social media. Then, they could meet me down at the shop, and I could hand it to them,” Kim said. “We also did contactless payments using Venmo.”

In some ways, the pandemic inspired growth at the business by allowing other family members to start their own lines of products for stock in the boutique. Natalie and her sister, Hailey, partnered together to open the Iron Threads earring and accessory business while working from home. And Kim’s mother, Candace Martin, launched a line of bath and skincare products called Love & Lather.

Kim’s cousin, Lelani Martin, also joined in on the fun by partnering her business with the boutique. She offers Riverside Floral flower subscriptions, fresh floral arrangements and wedding floral services, which can be ordered through West Elliott.

“It’s all family,” Kim said.

By summer, as businesses began reopening, the women of West Elliott realized that their shop could and would make it through the challenge of a pandemic.

“It just all came together. Everybody is pitching in and making it work,” said Kim, noting that the boutique is able to keep overhead costs low because family members donate their time to run the cashier and other daily operations at the shop.

Chamber events also helped generate foot traffic after months without during the quarantine. Kim said the Chamber’s Sip & Shop has been particularly successful for West Elliott, which nearly sells out on the Friday evenings when customers stop in to enjoy a glass of wine and browse the racks.Sip + Shop

The boutique re-invests its profits into buying new products and expanding its offerings, Kim said.

“The shop used to be about a quarter of the size, and my daughter had the other side for her photography. But we just kept growing,” she said. “Now it’s a full, thriving shop.”

At the ribbon cutting ceremony this month, the family was “just about in tears” as they reflected on and celebrated their first year in business.

“It was really emotional. We were like, ‘We couldn’t believe we’ve made it,’ ” Kim said.  “But we are still here, and it’s better than we all expected.”

Welcoming Shannon Cahoon to the Chamber Board of Directors

Shannon Cahoon

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

I am thrilled to welcome Shannon Cahoon to the Tillamook Chamber Board of Directors. Shannon CahoonShannon recently relocated to Tillamook after frequent visits caused her to fall in love with the area. She said she was motivated to join the Chamber Board of Directors because she believes Chambers are vital in each community.

She added that she is especially proud of and impressed by the work the Tillamook Chamber of Commerce continues to do throughout the county.

“I’m immensely proud to be a part of the organization and hope I can add to its positive impact and growth during my time on the board,” she said.

Of all the programs the Chamber currently operates, Shannon said one of her personal favorites has been Tillamook Takeout. “We can never say enough about what it did and does for our local restaurants and families who depend on those jobs for their livelihood,” she said.

Shannon is also excited to be a part of the advocacy work the Chamber does to help bring a united Tillamook voice to Salem when it needs to be heard.

“A good Chamber plays a vital role between creating a favorable operating environment for local businesses and advocating on their behalf,” Shannon said. “A Chamber that is operating to its full potential has positive impacts on the local business community, as well as the residents by ensuring that local needs can be met locally and that residents have access to good quality of life.”

We are so pleased to have Shannon’s positive energy and passion for our area on the board. We are lucky to have her, not only as the Chamber, but as a community. While she may not have been born here, Shannon is planting roots here and said she hopes to make a positive impact. (I would argue that she already has.)

I hope the next time you see Shannon out and about doing good work that you congratulate her on her new board position.

Mallory Gruben Joins the Chamber Team!

By Justin Aufdermauer
Executive Director

I am pleased to welcome Mallory Gruben to the Tillamook Chamber team as our new Communications Manager. You may have met Mallory at a recent Mornings on Main Street, which she has been regularly attending with her partner Jaykob Wood.

Mallory and Jaykob moved to Tillamook when he was hired as the Executive Director of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. Previous to that, Mallory was working for a newspaper in Longview, Wash. where she covered both business and environmental issues. She has a degree in journalism from Hastings College in Nebraska.

Mallory said she really enjoyed her job with the newspaper because she got to learn the ins and outs of the business community, both before and during the pandemic.  “It was really cool to get to tell the stories of groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the SBDC that were finding a way against all odds to make sure the business community survived,” she said. “[This job with the Chamber] is an exciting opportunity to get to continue to highlight those stories and work more in depth with the business community.”

Mallory is originally from a small town in Colorado, and she had dreams of living on the Oregon Coast when she finished college. Landing in Tillamook has been a great fit so far, and we are excited to have her expertise as a writer and journalist here at the Chamber. She is also from an agricultural community, and said she loves seeing all the cows and dairy farms because it feels like home.

“I love this type of community where everyone knows everyone, and people want to pitch in and volunteer to see the best for the community,” she said.

About her new role at the Chamber, Mallory said, “It is a really exciting opportunity and a great way to be involved in the community. I look forward to working with the Chamber and helping with the great work they already do to continue to make downtown attractive; encourage people to visit here and live here; and to make sure that our businesses are thriving.”

Mallory brings her curiosity and strong communication skills as a journalist with her to the Chamber, two incredibly valuable skills for the success of what we do.

Please come by the Chamber office and introduce yourself to Mallory when you have time. When she’s not writing, she and Jaykob have two pet rats and are learning to make cheese in their spare time.