Kamas Valley Business Association gets feet off the ground in inaugural year
As the gateway to the Uinta Mountains has an influx of growth, business leaders in Kamas and surrounding towns are stepping up to ensure that they have a say in the way that development pans out.
The Kamas Valley Business Association, which launched last summer, is the voice for businesses from Wanship to Woodland. Eileen Dunn, co-founder, said that the first year had some bumps, but the organization is on track to get to work.
It recently decided its mission, which is based off its six committees, as well as a strategic plan, articles of corporation and a board of directors. The association plans to hold its first annual meeting on March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to announce the information and gather members. It is scheduled to take place at the Kamas City Hall.
Katie Stellpflug, founder of the art shop Artique, is glad to see the association get off the ground. She said it can have a big impact on the community.
“I think it’s really important to bring the businesses together, bring the community together, and talk about where the Kamas Valley came from, where the Kamas Valley is going and how we can work together in the most positive way,” she said.
She has been a business owner for seven years and said that there have been several attempts to start a business association. None have been able to sustain themselves, but this one is different.
Byron Ames, mayor of Francis City, was influential in helping start the association with Dunn and others last year. He said that it feels good to see it all come together to be presented later this month.
“It really does feel like there is some substance to it,” he said. “It’s taken us a year to figure out, ‘How does this work?”
Some of that organization is in the six committees of the association: membership, events, marketing, funds, corridor beautification and technology.
The membership committee includes ensuring that members are represented in the county and municipalities. Corridor beautification is focused on having signs about events or fun things to do, such as bike routes or art galleries.
Ames said that aside from ensuring that local businesses have representation in county and city planning, another goal of the association is to connect business owners and create opportunities to network. As more businesses join, the more relationships can develop.
Eric Hansen said the connections he made in the last few months as a board member of the association helped his personal business. He is a senior account executive for the outsourced information technology company Executech, and found new opportunities for work and fostered relationships with other business owners.
“We don’t have to do it on our own anymore,” he said. “There are enough of us here that we can work as a team and all succeed together.”
Lorri Sargeant, owner of Main Street Salon in Kamas, said that her biggest hope for the group is to maintain the heritage and flavor of the town, which is part of the reason she is involved as a board member of the association.
Dunn said that when members of the association researched the amount of businesses in the valley last year, they found about 600. They range from restaurants to makers of homemade soap, and she hopes that each of them can find a reason to join.
“We know, as citizens and business owners, that we all want to live in a beautiful place. We all want what’s best for everybody,” she said. “No one wants this beautiful, preserved and historic valley ruined because there is so much growth and so much development.”
All business owners and interested individuals are invited to attend the association’s free meeting on March 28. For more information, visit https://www.visitparkcity.com/members/chamber-bureau-events/rsvp/?action=details&eventid=482.
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