Last Saturday night, theWinslow Chamber of Commerce occupied the "Upstairs Ballroom" in downtown Winslow for their 2006 Annual Dinner, Dance and Installation of Officers. Over 100 people turned out to this event which outgoing Chamber President Bill Lawler a member since 1984 said was the biggest and most exciting turnout for the Chamber that he has ever seen.
"At last year's annual Chamber dinner and meeting over at Bojo's, I don't think there were even more than 30 people," Lawler said. "Things are certainly moving in a positive direction for Winslow."
The energy in the ballroom was well mixed with many different people throughout Winslow's business community who were treated to alcoholic beverages, door prizes, speeches and a wonderful steak or chicken dinner prepared by cooks and staff from the Adobe Inn.
Chamber Executive Director Bob Hall, spoke of events that the Chamber has been involved in and will continue to expand like the: Winslow Business Expo; Winslow Food Fair and Auction; Chamber BBQ; Flag Retirement Ceremony; Christmas Parade; First Street Lighting; Shop Local Campaign; various murals; Winslow Business newsletter; mixers and grand openings.
"Next year will be the 60th year for the Winslow Chamber of Commerce Christmas ParadeŠ so lets step it up and make it this next one the best Christmas Parade ever," Hall said.
Hall requested that Chamber members assist by contributing to the group's newsletter and by attending more mixers and grand openings. He also said how important it is for the Chamber to co-sponsor with other organizations to promote the Winslow area. Current co-sponsorships the Chamber is working with are: Standing on the Corner Festival; Just Cruzin' Car Club Show; Festival of Trees; a regional EPA conference; a civic tourism conference; and Winslow Unified Schools sports tournaments.
"Now we have grabbed out bootstraps and we have worked hard to improve the community of Winslow," Hall said.
In gratitude, he raised his glass to Angela Gonzales, Chamber assistant, for her hard work and dedication and the audience gave her a standing ovation.
New executive board members for the Chamber now are President Theresa Warren, Vice-president John Dalton, and Treasurer/Secretary Jim Currier.
Warren, owner of RT Rentals that opened in Winslow in '99, has been on the Chamber board for three years and a member for seven. She was born and raised in Winslow and after high school, she went off to college and eventually became vice-president of administration for Glendale Federal Bank in Los Angeles.
"It is still the same town, but by coming back as a business person I see the town in a whole new light and a whole new appreciation; my roots, family, friends, community-minded people I appreciate it all," Warren said.
Her first step as executive officer will be to meet with the Chamber board to discuss ideas that they would like to see in the coming year. Similar to last year, she said that they would like to do another Winslow Business Expo and continue to work with Hall on other events and collaboration they have put together. She said the Chamber has really growth since Hall started over a year ago and that businesses who haven't joined yet should look into doing so.
"The dues members pay are worth being on the website alone," she said, as many other regional and out-of-town businesses have been using it since it was updated.
The Winslow Chamber of Commerce is currently working on the following projects: setting up the Carrington artwork; creating a visitors guide and a relocation booklet; City business registration; helping to create a Winslow history book; getting a TEAM grant from the Arizona Office of Tourism; restoring the "Big Indian;" relocating to the Hubbel Building and there is a Customer Service workshop on March 23 at 9 a.m. above Dominque's Hallmark on the corner of Kinsley and Second Street.