By Mary Owen
Do you have some swag for the bag?
That’s the question circling local businesses and organizations in the Santiam Canyon for a joint venture the Stayton/Sublimity and North Santiam chambers of commerce are starting.
“We want to welcome those who are new to our community,” said Paula Newman, owner of Figaro’s Pizza and a Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce board member. “As a way of introductions we are putting together a chest of what our Chamber members have to offer.”
For Michelle Gates, executive director of the North Santiam Chamber of Commerce, the bags offer an opportunity to bring awareness to new people about what Mill City and other canyon chamber communities have to offer.
“We have lots of great dining places and lots of recreational opportunities,” Gates said.
The man behind the giveaways, Stayton’s Director of Planning and Development Dan Fleishman, presented the idea to the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce board to create a “welcome package” for new businesses and employees, “many of whom are likely not to be Stayton area residents.”
“The welcome package would include the Chamber directory, a map of the area, and for local businesses that choose to, items such as menus for restaurants, coupons and flyers,” Fleishman said. “They could be used for events that bring a number of out-of-towners into Stayton, such as the triathlon and bike events.”
Or the Swag Bag, as the promotion has been named, could be handed out to employees of future occupants of the now-vacant industrial buildings on Wilco Road.
“We might expect as many as about 150 employees in the facility, with room for growth,” Fleishman said.
While rumors are circulating around the business community that negotiations for the Wilco Road site are under way, Fleishman declined to comment on any specific plans or suitors for the facility. More information was not available by Our Town press time.
Meanwhile, the Swag Bag idea is on the move, with donations being sought by both chambers to fill at least 150 bags by March. Donations of swag, any “branded” merchandise – pens, magnets, buttons – given out for free to promote a business, will continue to be collected.
“No lonely business cards – put your information on a coupon instead,” chamber officials ask.
“I would like for this to be an ongoing program, so that when we do have major events in the area, such as the triathlon and SummerFest, we have a great welcome to introduce newcomers to our wonderful communities,” said Elaina Turpin, assistant director of SSCOC.
Chamber officials said this is an opportunity for members to get creative about showcasing their businesses.
“We look forward to making new friends and showing off our local businesses and community!” Newman said.
For information, call Turpin at the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce at 503-769-3464 or Gates at the North Santiam Chamber of Commerce at 503-897-5000.