As we approached the end of the 2017 tourist season in Manson and the Chelan Valley it appears by all accounts it was a good year for business. A contributing factor to this success is the efforts of the Manson Chamber of Commerce and their five Board members. I begin this article by thanking each Board member for their efforts and let the public know there are two Board positions open this year with application deadline October 25. You can contact Cheryl Koenig for an application.
The Manson Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization with the primary objective of improving both our community and business environment in Manson. The Chamber specifically strives to bring greater awareness and focus to Manson, the features and amenities offered. The Chamber encourages all businesses in Manson join our team working together for mutual success.
The current Manson Chamber of Commerce (MCC) was officially incorporated in 1992 as the Manson Business Association (MBA) according to Kim Ustanik, who served as President from 2007 to 2014. Kim said, “I am proud of all that MBA accomplished like the beautiful Welcome to Manson sign on Highway 150, the Heritage Tree, the Manson Centennial Celebration (with help from the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce), huge growth in the professionalism of the 4th of July Celebration, renovation of downtown streets and sidewalks and much more.” We thank Kim for her dedicated years of service.
Board member Jeff Conwell said, “Board members serve for two years. The Board meets twice a month and holds a monthly meeting, open to the public, the last Wednesday of each month. It’s our goal to create a solid business environment that supports our community. We work with several other organizations developing synergy between us. They include the Manson Community Council, the Manson Kiwanis, Manson Schools, Manson Parks, Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Port of Chelan, Cascade Loop and the LTAC Board with Chelan County.”
Prior to Manson Jeff worked in the broadcasting and advertising industry for 30 years on the west side for KRKO in Everett, KUBE, KHIT and KIRO. Jeff has also done “voice over” work for 40 years. Jeff and wife Debbie bought their home on Roses Lake in 1999 and moved to Manson full time in 2011. Looking for a new adventure they opened the Green Dot Sub Shop in 2012, a business that has become very successful. Jeff served as the first president of the Manson Chamber of Commerce and has been on the Board for six years. Asked why he serves Jeff said, “That’s easy! I love it here and want to help our community grow in a positive direction and help all our businesses become successful!” Each Board member takes leadership on different events. Jeff’s main events are the Rat Rod show, the Fishing Derby and he has a big role in Manson’s Night to Remember.
Sandy Day, owner of Canvas by the Lake serves as Vice President, this is her first term. Sandy is a California gal born in Boron, California. At age 13 her family moved to Weldon, California where they lived on Lake Isabella. She attended Chaffey College at Rancho Cucamonga, California and graduated with a paralegal certification. Sandy moved to Yorba Linda and was blessed with two sons. Sandy and her husband owned Dent Chaser’s, an auto body repair business. Unfortunately the marriage ended and Sandy moved to Manson in 2015 to be close to her sister.
She opened her first business in Manson called My Cinderella Day. She offered rental of formal and semi-formal dresses with an inventory of 400 dresses. She next open the End of the Road Rustique, selling repurposed furniture and many unique items. In 2017 she changed direction and changed her store in downtown Manson to Canvas by the Lake, a place you learn to paint in just two hours. She also takes this business on the road and offers “Sip and Paint” classes at numerous business in the Chelan Valley.
When asked why she took on a Manson Chamber Board position she said, “It was a challenge and a great opportunity to meet people and help the Manson community.” She has taken on membership duties for the Board and helps with A Night to Remember, the Rat Rod Show and Trunk “R” Treat at North Shore Bible Church. Sandy is working with the Board on two new events, the Swallow Fest in March or April and the Harvest Festival in September or October where they plan to highlight the diversity of Manson. When asked what type of a person the Board is looking to recruit she said, “Someone that has a passion for our community with a can do attitude and can think out of the box.”
Board President Judy Dai was born and raised in Seattle. Judy and her husband of 44 years, Jim Dai both attended Chief Sealth High School. Judy told me she had a crush on Jim when she was only 12. Jim spent his entire career in radio and is currently the Program Director at KOZI Radio. Judy enjoyed a variety of work during her career. Her first real job was at Fredrick and Nelson’s in Seattle where she played Santa’s elf during the Christmas holidays. She spent 14 year there, on the floor as well as in the office. She spent almost 18 years working at Molbak’s in Woodinville.
Manson was never in the Dai’s retirement plans. They planned to live at Sequim but it just didn’t work out. They have family in the Chelan Valley so they purchased their first home in Manson in 2006. Jim moved to Manson full time in 2010 and Judy was able to move here full time in 2012, “The best move of our life, Judy said. Judy operates the Sweet Shop located in the Manson Village Center.
Judy has been on the Board serving as President the past two years. “We always lived in big cities and it was difficult to get involved in the community but we found it was easy in Manson. I join the Board and felt I had something to offer with all my past experiences. I’m very proud of the many things we have accomplished. A Night to Remember was amazing and a true testament our Board.”
When asked what type of person the Board is looking for she said, “They need a skill set in being strong and able to work with many different groups. We need a people person who can think out of the box and take the Chamber to the next level.
Current Board Secretary, Cheryl Koenig will complete the second year of her term the end of 2017. She was born in Minnesota but doesn’t remember much as her family moved to Seattle when she was just one year old. She graduated from Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington then attended Washington State University where she received a degree in Elementary Education and also met her future husband Jim Koenig. They were married in 1978 and were blessed with three daughters who are the 5thgeneration in Manson. Jim and Cheryl own 50 acres of apples and cherries with some cider varieties now planted and used for cider production and the remainder sold commercially.
Cheryl spent 39 years in the education field as a teacher and administration and worked for the Manson School District for 30 years. August 2015 the Koenigs opened Rootwood Cider Company producing hard cider, offer five different ciders on tap in their tasting room.
Cheryl says, “The past couple of years the Chamber has clarified their goals and are moving forward in a positive direction. One of our next steps is to hire a part time person to manage the day in and day out activities of the Chamber. ”We have two Board positions open this year and we are looking for someone that is a team player and understands the goals of the Chamber.” she concluded.
Rounding out the Manson Chamber’s Board is Ron Trickett who has served as Treasurer for two years. Ron was born in Connecticut where he lived for nine years, his family then moved to Southern California. Ron graduated from Sherman E. Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, California.
Ron’s first year of college was in San Diego and then he moved to the Puget Sound region where he received a business degree from Seattle University. Ron spent the next 15 years as project manager for several construction companies in the Puget Sound area. In 1993 he founded Marshall Homes Inc., a construction company located in Edmonds, Washington. Over the next 15 years he built hundreds of homes before the housing market slowdown in 2008.
Ron had been to the Chelan area as a college student several times but it wasn’t until 2003 when he returned with his family and then fell in love with the community and the people. He purchased property and moved to Manson fulltime in late 2012. Ron opened Lake Chelan Home Watch in 2013 and like the name implies his company watches over your vacant or vacation home. He takes care of vacation rentals, second homes and the residences of a number of snowbirds that leave us each winter. He offers a wide-range of services that will make you comfortable leaving your home for an extended period of time. Their motto is Four Season Peace of Mind which has become a vital and essential service as evidenced by the many great testimonials by current clients.
Ron became a Board member January 2016, his term of Treasurer ends this year. Ron is stepping down from the Board, we have some big shoes to fill as the duties of Treasurer are many. When asked about qualification for this position Ron said, “The candidate will need to operate comfortably in Quick Books and Microsoft Excel. It requires a detail-oriented person who can manage the Chamber’s bank account, write checks, pay bills and develop accurate financial reports.”
Ron has also been a big part of the Village of Lights, the 4th of July Celebration and the Adopt a Highway cleanup efforts for many years and intends to continue to participate and support these events in the future.
Manson is a very special place, we all will agree on that and we want Manson to grow in a direction that keeps its quaintness and at the same time offers local businesses a chance to be successful. In the past people just found Manson by accident. Social media has changed all that and now thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter more people are coming to Manson with purpose. We encourage all to take advantage of social media and publish positive stories and upload pictures of our beautiful community as it can help promote our brand. The Manson Chamber of Commerce views Manson in a macro sense (big picture). We ask all businesses to join us in developing a strategy that helps each of us reach our goals.
By Norm Manly