In the business of business |

In the business of business

Melinda Dudley

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association will mark its 100th anniversary by honoring the past and toasting the future of the Yampa Valley business community with a celebration Saturday.

The Chamber’s cowboy-themed Centennial Celebration at Sidney Peak Ranch will include the presentation of the Chamber’s annual Navigator Awards as well as drinks, dinner and dancing.

The evening is intended to be a fun celebration for the Steamboat Springs business community, said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber.

The Navigator Awards honor a business and businessperson of the year. The awards are intended to not only recognize exceptional business practices, but also to honor those businesspeople and businesses that demonstrate leadership in the community, Evans Hall said.

Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., were honored with Navigator Awards in 2006.

The Chamber also will honor a sustainable business. As a part of its year-long centennial activities, the Chamber launched its Sustainable Steamboat Business Program earlier this year in coordination with the city of Steamboat Springs’ Sustainability Management Plan.

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When the Chamber was founded 100 years ago, it consisted of a few local businessmen who sat around a table and developed a commercial club, Evans Hall said.

The Steamboat Springs Commercial Club, as it was known in 1907, was designed to attract new settlers and tourists to the area.

Since its inception, the Chamber has greatly expanded not just its membership, but also its role and reach in the community.

“We work in the areas of business advocacy, government relations, special events and just general business development and education,” Evans Hall said.

The Chamber has been helpful throughout the years to small local businesses, said Ty Lockhart, owner of F.M. Light & Sons. The business, which has been family-owned and operated since 1905, is a long-standing member of the Chamber.

For example, F.M. Light & Sons offers its employees the group health plan the Chamber provides for its member businesses, Lockhart said.

However, the major boon to many businesses is the publicity the Chamber provides, particularly to out-of-towners.

“Of course, they help bring people to town, and we take advantage of that,” Lockhart said.

The organization has been celebrating its centennial all year and also has prepared a gift to the community in honor of its 100 years in Steamboat.

The Chamber has commissioned a sculpture entitled “Chamber Legacy” in honor of its milestone, designed by Suzie Jackson and sculpted by Sandra Graves, both local artists. The artwork will feature life-sized children representing the historical economies of the Steamboat Springs area – mining, ranching and skiing. Its installation on the Fifth Street corner of the Routt County Courthouse lawn is expected next summer.