By Linda Kor —
The Holbrook Chamber of Commerce met last week, with President Yvonne Larson introducing Teri Walker as the city’s tourism and events coordinator. Walker begins her job this week and will be working not only with the chamber, but other entities within the city to promote tourism and growth in Holbrook.
According to Larson, Walker will be reporting to the chamber board regarding her activities with the possible assistance of Emily Wheeler. Wheeler is an administrative assistant at the Holbrook Police Department, but City Manager Ray Alley is hoping that she will be able to assist Walker one to two days a week with issues pertaining to the chamber.
Walker, who was raised in the area, spent 20 years in public relations and marketing in the Phoenix Metro area and Flagstaff. “We had several very good candidates for the position, but Teri really stood out with her qualifications,” stated Alley.
Her office will be located at the city offices on First Avenue, an office currently occupied by Alley.
“I’ll be moving to a smaller office on the other side of the building. I’m usually out doing things and not in my office, so I think this will work out best,” he explained.
As part of that move the city and the chamber board agreed to house the chamber office in that same office.
“It just makes more sense. Both Teri and Emily will be out of the office at times, and this way the office staff can assist people who come in. We also have the phones, copier and those sorts of things. It’ll also save on utilities at the courthouse,” stated Alley. When asked if he expected public concern over the chamber, which operates as a non-profit organization, working out of city offices Alley stated that if there was some sort of public outcry they could address it at that time. “I just don’t see the problem. We’re all playing on the same team here and trying to work for the betterment of Holbrook. They still have all their own funding and nothing else will change except we save a little money,” he said, adding that city has no intention of interfering with the chamber’s operations.
In other business, the chamber elected to keep the same officers in position as last year, with Larson continuing as president; Steve Gallegos, first vice president; Cindy Tafoya, second vice president; and Larry Hager, treasurer.
The board also agreed to send Larson to the 2012 Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism scheduled July 11-13 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The board approved the cost at an amount not to exceed $800, which will include $400 for the cost of the conference and three nights at a hotel. Wheeler and Walker will also be attending the conference, with that cost to be funded by the city.
The board also agreed to the purchase a new iPad at a cost not to exceed $500. Larson explained that the chamber would have many uses for the iPad, including survey tracking at events such as the Native American dances held during the summer where tourists can be approached to learn the effectiveness of advertising. The iPad will allow for note taking at meetings, and photos taken at events to be automatically uploaded to a Facebook page.
The chamber will also be purchasing plastic nametags that will state the name of the board member, the office held and the chamber logo. These will be worn during events and meetings in order to identify members. The board approved the purchase of the tags at $10 each, at a total cost not to exceed $150.
Larson also informed the board that two acrylic tip boxes were purchased at a cost of approximately $130 for the Native American dances. The lockable boxes replaced a plastic bucket that was being used to accept tip money.
The chamber will be hosting a candidates’ debate forum in late July at the George Gardner Performing Arts Center. While there is no cost to rent the facility, the board agreed that a flyer advertising the event will be included in the city water bill at cost not to exceed $350. Assistant City Manager Randy Sullivan informed the board that the information may be printed at the bottom of the water bill itself at no charge, but the board felt it might be overlooked if not included as a separate flyer.
The board also approved the rules and regulations for the summer Native American dances. “Most of the dancers do not come from a school of dance instruction and are not aware of the expectations of behavior during an event. Part of the need is that we want to make sure that parents stay with their children, both those that are dancing and others,” stated Tafoya. The rules also require that dancers encourage and support one another, and maintain a sense of decorum during the event.
There was also discussion regarding the benefit of having vendors during the Native dances. “There were several evenings when there were no vendors at the dances and the dancers made $200 in tips each night. When we had vendors, they made only $14. We really need to analyze this and see what best serves the dancers,” explained Larson. The board agreed to monitor the difference between the tips received on weekday dances and the weekend dances where there are no vendors.
The board agreed to utilize the $3,000 Arizona Office of Tourism grant previously approved for advertising for two AAA publications, one to advertise Wild West Days and the other to advertise the Christmas Parade of Lights.