The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce Renovation – A Community Project

Chamber offices pre-renovation - photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of CommerceIf you’ve wandered past the Chamber of Commerce office on Winslow Way or popped in to do business at the Licensing Desk in the last several months, you’ve probably noticed a few changes. Furniture moving around, walls coming down, new walls going up, paint, paint and more paint, and let’s not forget the gorgeous new design for the Auto Licensing, Fishing & Wildlife Licensing and Visitor Information desks.

Tj Faddis Chamber Volunteer in renovated Chamber of CommerceThe Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce has been serving our community for more than 90 years, and prides itself on relationships developed with local businesses, non-profits, city, state, and county agencies, as well as assisting new entrepreneurs in developing and growing their businesses. It was through these relationships that the Chamber was able to move forward with the renovations, partnering with several businesses and organizations to complete the project.

Chamber offices during renovation - photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of CommerceChamber offices during renovation - photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce 2The project was led by Matthew Coates and Alia Sugarman at Coates Design and Todd Cain at Wing Point Construction Company. However, they weren’t alone, the beautiful new “live-edge” workstations, conference room table and benches were created in partnership with BARN, Bainbridge Island Woodworks and David Kotz Woodworks. Chamber offices during renovation - photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce 3

BARN volunteers working on the live-edge conference room table - photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of CommerceMore than 20 other local businesses assisted with everything from painting to electrical to flooring and much more (see below for a list of businesses). In addition, Stefan Goldby, President/CEO of the BICC and Mickey Molnaire, Director of Member & Visitor Services spent many a weekend leading a crew clearing out old furniture and decades of accumulated expired paperwork/brochures and painting, patching, installing of updated electronics, and updated display racks. Several of the regular volunteers for the Chamber/Visitor Information Desk also pitched in.

Some of the new features include:

  • Conference Room table created at BARN - image courtesy of Bainbridge Island Chamber of CommerceA new conference room which is available to members who may need a larger space to hold meetings.
  • A “pop-up” space in the front window for usage by businesses and organizations that might not have a brick-and-mortar presence downtown (as the Chamber is located in our bustling downtown corridor, this is a great opportunity for exposure).
  • New pop-up window display Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce - photo by Margaret MillmoreNew digital signage at the downtown office and the Ferry Kiosk.
  • Updated and expanded display racks inside the Chamber (next to the Visitor Information Desk), and outside the entrance at the kiosk at the Ferry Terminal.

Renovated Kiosk at the Ferry Terminal - photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of CommerceNext up will be a digital renovation of the Chamber’s website, business directory and social presence later in the year, all aimed at enhancing the membership experience and to benefit the community at large. Sign up for their weekly e-blast to keep up to date on announcements and local news (anyone can sign up regardless of Chamber membership), click here for details.

In one of the elements of that local news, the Chamber is very excited to announce that beloved events such as the Grand Old 4th and their monthly After Hourswhich they hosted last night for the first time since the pandemic began—are resuming.

After Hours Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce - photo by Margaret MillmoreChamber After HoursThe first post-pandemic After Hours was a roaring success, with around 100 members from the business, civic, and nonprofit community, as well as friends and volunteers of the Chamber in attendance. The event was sponsored by Eleven Winery, with small bites Stefan Goldby, Lani Sordello presenting award to Matt Albeeprovided by T&C. Lani Sordello, the new Chair of the Chamber Board (and co-owner of Via Rosa 11) was on hand to award Matt Albee (of Matt Albee with Special Service AwardEleven Winery) a special Service Award for an unprecedented 11-year run as a board director. Stefan Goldby, Chamber President unveiled a plaque displayed next to the new conference room, expressing thanks on behalf of himself and the Chamber:

“New for 2022, our offices and information kiosk are refreshed, and new conference room and member spotlight pop-up spaces have been created through the incredible support and generosity of more than 20 community project partners.

“On behalf of the Chamber and our Island community, I have the honor of expressing enormous gratitude and appreciation for all the amazing people, businesses, and organizations that came together to make this renovation possible…”

Plaque thanking the Bainbridge CommunityRenovation Partners:

Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce logoThe Bainbridge Chamber is an unusual organization, beyond its member services it also provides two important additional community services; in partnership with the Washington State Department of Licensing and the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office, they provide a satellite desk at their Winslow Way office for vehicle and vessel registrations, plus fish and game licenses (Note that driver’s licenses cannot be acquired at the Chamber).

Chamber Affiliations – There is a misconception that all local chambers are automatically associated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is not the case.  Like every partnership-based organization, you must join and pay dues to be part of the national Chamber. The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce is not, nor has ever been, a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber is a separate organization made up of national and international businesses and corporations, not a collection of small chambers of commerce. None of our membership dues go to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Bainbridge Island Chamber is a member of the Washington Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Western Association of Chamber Executives and the Association of Washington Business. These organizations serve as valuable partners, and a way to access peers, libraries of best practices and other professional training and resources.

*Images provided by the Chamber and Margaret Millmore

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