By Sue VanRuff
Happy Anniversary to us! On April 10 The Greater Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 44th year of incorporation.
As the driving force behind the creation of the Chamber, Joe Flynn was the first signatory to the Articles of Incorporation and became the Chamber’s first president. The stated purpose of the new organization was for “the advancement of the civic, commercial, industrial, and agricultural interest of” and “the promotion of the general welfare and prosperity of the area … the stimulation of public sentiment to these ends; and the providing of such social features as will promote these purposes.”
The Chamber’s mission today is much the same except we have moved away from the interests of agriculture toward store-front retail to meet the needs of an ever-growing, more urban population.
Today our community awaits the much anticipated Maple Valley Town Square anchored by Fred Meyer on the Northeast corner and the redevelopment of KRG’s (Kite Realty Group Trust) Four Corner Square with a new Johnson Home and Garden Center on the Northwest corner.
Ardis Johnson proved herself to be a visionary by realizing the potential at Four Corners by moving the hardware store in the late 1970s. And in Black Diamond after a decade of planning, the leadership is crafting a master plan development that will bring that city a world of opportunities with commercial and residential growth.
In an effort to keep things local, all of this is very exciting. As stated in the original mission statement and our current mission statement, one of the primary purposes of a Chamber is to promote and elevate the welfare and prosperity of the community. Residents shopping locally create a vitality that extends to all businesses. Businesses in turn can then hire and employ people. Living and working in the same community is a dream come true for many of us.
The Chamber strives hard to fulfill its mission in many ways. We offer our members a number of ways to promote, network, mentor, and learn. At our March luncheon, Jim Hebert of Hebert Research presented an economic forecast for the greater Maple Valley and Black Diamond area. Hebert Research is highly respected for its economic analysis and community profiles. Mr. Hebert’s power-point presentation, available to all our members, is just one example of how the Chamber provides hands-on tools and information to businesses.
Join the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce in April for these upcoming activities:
• 5 to 7 p.m. April 8 – Business After Hours Networking event at Stone Canyon Design & Remodeling Center, 26608 Maple Valley Hwy. SE (425) 413-2200; cohosted by Mary Weiler, owner, and Wendee Mann of Versatile Designs. Clients and the general public are invited to their open house from 2 to 5 p.m.
• 5 p.m. Monday – the chamber team joins the Maple Valley Business Golf League.
• 11:30 a.m. April 15 at the Lake Wilderness Lodge there will be a presentation by the Small Business Development Center presentation and the Washington Retail Association.
• April 24 and 25 is the “Hooked On Fishing” event, the annual Opening Day Trout Derby & Camping In The Park at Lake Wilderness Park. Go to www.maplevalley.com and click on “Hooked On Fishing!”
The Chamber would like to welcome new members:
• Sew It Is, Pam Huber;
• Custom Embroidery, Alterations and Repair;
Maple Valley, (425) 432-2787, www.sewitis.net;
• Maple Valley Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, June 20 through October 10 at Rock Creek Elementary School, www.maplevalleyfarmersmarket.org;
The Chamber is also excited to welcome longtime member, MultiCare, with a new clinic opening in KRG’s Four Corner Square.
If you want to talk business and want more information regarding Chamber membership, call Sue VanRuff directly at (206) 856-1342. And please visit our website at www.maplevalley.com or www.blackdiamondwachamber.org to search for member businesses, job postings, hot deals and a community calendar of events.
VanRuff is the executive director of the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce.