Revitalized Hayden Chamber bolsters business

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If you go

What: Meeting concerning the future of Hayden's Chamber of Commerce

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: First National Bank of the Rockies, 252 W. Jefferson Ave., Hayden

Call: Joyce Folley at 276-2157

What: Business festival

When: 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 15

Where: Walnut Street and Jefferson Avenue, Hayden

Call: Joyce Folley at 276-2157

— Under the direction of new leadership, the once-defunct Hayden Chamber of Commerce is looking to bounce back to life.

At a meeting Wednesday, the Chamber's steering committee hopes to sign up its first members and elect a board of directors, organizers said. On Aug. 15, the Chamber will host a business festival in downtown Hayden that will feature a band, a wine and beer garden and prizes.

The reorganization of the Hayden Chamber is being done by a group of local business owners and concerned residents who see the Chamber as key to nurturing commercial growth in the town, particularly as it experiences massive residential growth.

Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said the town has been sponsoring the steering committee's meetings and that a "great, energetic group" is reforming the Chamber.

"A good Chamber is good for the town," Martin said. "A good working Chamber can be a positive opportunity for business development."

Business development is something the town is eager to encourage. Tammie Delaney, a member of Hayden's Economic Development Council, said the residential development aspect in Hayden is "huge" and that the town is struggling to cover the increasing cost in services associated with such growth. Delaney said encouraging business development is important, "so we don't become just a bedroom community. We're at risk for that."

Joyce Folley, one of the leading organizers of the meetings to reform the Chamber and the business festival, said about 24 Hayden business owners have been attending the meetings. Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, spoke at one of those meetings and advised the group on how it might tweak its bylaws, Folley said.

Martin said a working Chamber would help create stability and interest in Hayden's business community and would take some pressure off town government.

"It would be nice to have some partnerships," Martin said.

Folley said one of the reasons the Chamber fizzled out was because too much responsibility was put on too few people. She said it will be important to share responsibility because most Chamber members will be small-business owners without a lot of free time.

"With that knowledge, we hope to have a lot of participating members," Folley said.

The business festival in August is intended to showcase all of Hayden's businesses and is scheduled to take advantage of the increased traffic in town for the Routt County Fair.

"We thought it would be fun if everyone was open at the same time to introduce themselves to the community," Folley said.

The success of that event is considered key to getting the revitalized Chamber off on the right foot.

"We need to set up shop," Folley said. "We've got to prove to all the businesses and to Hayden that we're going to be OK, that we're going to be strong and stable."

The business festival will include a membership drive for the Chamber. Annual dues for the Chamber will be $30 for business with one to five employees, clubs and nonprofit agencies; $75 for businesses with six to 12 employees; $150 for governmental entities; and $350 for businesses with 13 or more employees.

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