The Cashmere Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Dawn Collings as the new Chamber Manager. Dawn has years of related experience serving the East Wenatchee community and we are very happy to have her on board. She began her new position in early April and has been busy catching up on all things Cashmere ever since. Stop by and help us welcome Dawn to the neighborhood.
The Chamber office is now open:
9 am – 4 pm Tuesday through Friday
10 am – 3 pm on Saturdays
Cashmere Valley Record Staff Writer, Sebastian Moraga, interviewed Dawn shortly after she started and published the following article…
Seeking to keep an open mind and a busy schedule, Dawn Collings finished her first week as the new manager of the Cashmere Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Collings said the opportunity to work in a community that works hard attracted her to the job.
“I enjoy that type of thing,” she said. “I have been part of very similar things, so it was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s what I love to do.”
A native of Pomeroy who grew up in Kennewick, Collings is a former East Wenatchee mayor, a former manager of the now-defunct East Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce and a former general manager of the Wenatchee Valley Mall.
The owner of a gift-basket business, she said this job gave her an opportunity to work full-time for the first time in two years.
She said that when working at her previous full-time posts, she always saw the chamber of commerce in Cashmere as a thriving, active organization.
With most of her career spent 14 miles east, she said her first task as chamber manager in Cashmere will be to “get a sense of things and be brought up to speed on Cashmere.” With that in mind, she declined to comment on Founders’ Day name change and parade schedule, or on the possibility of a roundabout being placed downtown.
“I have all of one meeting under my belt,” she said “So I can’t comment much on that because I don’t have all the details yet.”
She said getting her feet set on the new job will take time and will likely occur in stages. Some aspects will take longer than others.
“On an event, I won’t have a total concept of it until after I have been through the event, like with Founders’ Day,” said Collings, who worked last year’s version of Cashmere’s summer party as a volunteer during the parade route. “On the event side, you have to live the event first.”
Other tasks are more immediate, like the chamber’s website.
“It has some issues but those are being addressed and within the week things should be back up to snuff and good,” she said.
Collings said she feels many similarities exist between the two chamber jobs she has held. Similarities include the business community’s desire to pull together and “wanting to do things for the sake of each other.”
“In both communities there is a big heart and that speaks volumes,” she said, later adding, “The people make the difference in a community. You can do all sorts of fabulous things but if people aren’t friendly and welcoming, people won’t come back. That’s the big draw.”
Collings’ office will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Having the office open on Saturday will serve as an experiment of sorts.
“We want to see what happens on a Saturday here, how valuable can we be to our community and the tourists,” she said. “This year is going to be the test.”
Having the office open on Saturdays will help the chamber learn what brings tourists to town on those weekends when no special event like a Founders’ Day or an Apple Days occur, she said.
For the first time in years, the chamber manager post will be full-time. If the job had been part-time, she would have applied for it anyway, she added.
“I seriously enjoy people and getting to know people and community and working with people,” she said. “In working with people in any level anywhere there’s always things you disagree on but that’s OK, because it’s always good to hear someone else’s opinions.”
Before a replacement for Wendy LeSesne was hired, chamber president Teri Weedman said the new person had to be the face of the chamber.
Now that Collings has the job, she said being the face of the chamber entails being visible and approachable, not just within the community but among other chambers in the Valley.
Married to East Wenatchee City Council member Frank Collings for 34 years, Dawn said she grew up wanting to be a legal assistant, emulating Della Street on the Perry Mason TV show.
“I just thought Della lived the high life, she had it all,” she said. Later in life, “I did have a shot at that along the way and decided that that was just not for me.”
Back then, though, if someone told her she would be a politician and a manager of a chamber of commerce or two, she would have laughed.
With almost a dozen bosses -the board of directors at the chamber has several members- she takes the challenge of answering to a big group of people head-on.
“It can be challenging but it can be rewarding,” she said. “If you know that you have worked with 12 people or however many people and you have accomplished many things, it’s like, ‘Wow, you brought together 12 different personalities, you were able to work through a process and do something: Good for us!”
By Sebastian Moraga, Cashmere Valley Record Staff Writer,
782-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us the evening of March 13 from 5:30 – 8:30 PM at The Conservatory at Apple Annie’s for the annual Cashmere Chamber of Commerce Recognition Banquet & Auction. Come celebrate our community, meet the recipients of the 2014 Business and Citizen of the Year awards, and bid on a great selection of quality auction items to support Chamber activities and events. Read more…
The 2014 Business of the Year has been awarded to Weed’s Café, with owner and operator Teri Weedman accepting the honor.
Weed’s Café opened in 2011 and quickly became a gathering place for the community. Prior to Weed’s Café, Weedman owned a drive-thru, a cafe and a catering business in Mukilteo. When she made the decision to return to the area, opening a business here in Cashmere was a natural fit for her.
Weedman is being honored, not only for her efforts as businesswoman, but also for the impact she has made through her business. She has donated time, her staff and resources for a variety of community events. She is invested in the community and continually seeks opportunities to help improve the quality of life in our city.
Jenny Cravens has the honor of being selected the 2014 Citizen of the Year.
Cravens has been with Cashmere Valley Bank since 2008 and CFO of the Cashmere Branch for 5 years. In 2013 Cravens became the vice-chair of the Cashmere Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Committee. She has lead the Chamber and the City of Cashmere forward by bringing a grass roots approach to, and being the voice of, the Economic Development committee. The committee involves the citizens of Cashmere, turning their ideas into initiatives and initiatives into action.
Cravens was responsible for the idea of bringing Scare~crazy to Cashmere and also wrote the proposal that won the hearts of the 911 Spirit of America Memorial Foundation. Her proposal was ultimately the key factor in bringing this amazing memorial to Cashmere as its home.
Weedman and Cravens both go above and beyond just volunteering. They have made community improvement a part of their lives.
Weed’s Café and Cravens will be honored at the Cashmere Chamber of Commerce Annual Recognition Dinner and Auction, to be held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., March 13, at the Conservatory at Apple Annie. Tickets for the event are $30 a person. Tickets are on sale now at the Chamber office, or are available through a board member.
“The recognition dinner is an opportunity for the community to come together to honor the contributions Weed’s Café and Jenny have made to Cashmere,” said Sandra Story of Crunch Pak, chair of the Auction committee.
It is also the primary fundraiser for the Chamber. Funds raised are used to support the Celebrate Cashmere Festival, Scare~Crazy, Christmas in Cashmere and other marketing efforts of the Chamber of Commerce.
The Cashmere Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit member association whose purpose is to promote and support new and existing businesses in the Cashmere community. All honorees were chosen in February by a committee of seven of their peers following a community-wide nomination process in December and January.
The Cashmere Chamber of Commerce invites you to celebrate the season in downtown Cashmere! Join us on Cottage Avenue from 5-7 pm on Thursday, December 18 for the first annual Christmas in Cashmere community event.
Enjoy a warm beverage, holiday treats, and festive music as you cozy up around a fire pit with family and friends. Take in the sights and sounds of a decorated downtown complete with a community Christmas tree as you wait for the arrival of the big man himself – Santa Claus!
Please help us thank our generous sponsors…
Did you gnow that Cashmere is home to a community of gnomes? Little doors are popping up around town providing a glimpse into the world of our mysterious, albeit strangely similar, neighbors. Eleven doors are now visible, and according to their website (yes, they have a website), “It is a honor to be trusted enough to see their world.”
Discover the Gnomes of Cashmere! Click on the door to the right or visit www.gnomesofcashmere.com!