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Sunnyside Chamber launches 'after-hours' program

In an effort to boost its image and to become better acquainted with its member businesses, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce is launching an "after-hours" program.

Most of the community knows that the Chamber hosts ribbon cuttings at new business openings, but the Chamber has other services available to its members, said Tom Gaulke, Chamber board president.

"The after-hours program will give us an opportunity to get to know each other a little better," said Gaulke.

The Knot Hole Showcase Gallery, 327 Yakima Valley Highway, will host the first after-hours event, which is set for Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Gaulke said gallery owners Lloyd and Ellen Phinney have been asked to share some of their successful marketing strategies with those who attend the 6:30 p.m. social event.

He said the after-hours program will give chamber and non-chamber members an opportunity to network and socialize as a way to foster better business relations in an informal setting. In addition, Gaulke said the after-hour events will feature a guest speaker discussing topics of interest to small businesses owners. For example, the September after-hours event, to be held at the WorkSource office in the Mid Valley Mall, will include information concerning estate planning for small business owners.

Gaulke said the decision to implement the evening program was made to allow more businesses owners in the food services industry to attend the Chamber meetings.

"It is also an opportunity for the community to learn a little more about the Chamber's role in the community," Gaulke explained.

"We are sensitive to the fact that many of our members are not able to get away from their businesses during the day to attend our noon meetings," he said.

Gaulke said the after-hours program is also open to non-chamber members.

"This is also an opportunity for the non-chamber members to learn more about the types of services we offer our members," he said.

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce is more than just a host for community events and ribbon cuttings, he said. Gaulke said the Chamber offers mentoring services to member-businesses.

"We can match-up new business owners with established businesses owners who can help with advice about various areas of concern," he explained.

"It's our goal to have at least 100 members and guests to attend this first event," he said.

The Chamber hopes to host the after-hour functions on the last Tuesday of each month.

Jesse Hernandez Jr. of Waddell and Reed, Financial Planning Consultants will be the guest speaker at the Sept. 28 Chamber social. Hernandez will be presenting an overview of financial planning.

Those wishing to attend the Aug. 31 event are asked to call the Chamber at 837-3959. There is no charge to attend.

. Julia Hart can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at jhart@eaglenewspapers.com

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