The Chamber began creating promotional literature in the early 1900’s encouraging visitors and new residents to come to Ashland through a variety of campaigns that continue today to showcase our beautiful town. “Where the Palm and the Pine Meet” promoted the mild climate in the early 1900’s and “Ashland Grows while Lithia Flows” encouraged people to come to Ashland for the health of its waters. In the 1980’s, it was “Ashland Loves Company”.
Ashland’s agriculture and, in particular, the fruit grown here was really promoted to encourage people to move here and grow the peaches, pears and apples. Campaigns and themes continue today that focus on Ashland as a destination for health and wellness, mild climate, exceptional produce, culinary offerings, beautiful surroundings, outdoor adventures and warm hospitality.
While always working to promote tourism, it wasn’t until 1982 that the Chamber was able to formalize a Visitor and Convention Bureau with an annual grant from the City of Ashland which they continue to have today to promote the community. Those early “pioneers” of promoting Ashland recognized the economic importance of showcasing our community to potential visitors, thereby, not only promoting business, but increasing tax revenues and expanding the amenities that residents enjoy as well. The programs and events have grown substantially over the years resulting in strong industry relationships, business growth through the seasons and a respect of the tourism industry and its impact on the city. Tourism is promoted year-round with a primary emphasis on the fall, winter and spring seasons through marketing campaigns, special events and festivals. Hundreds of community members volunteer their time to provide information services and to assist in coordinating marketing programs and events.
Left to Right: Don Anway, Neuman Hotel Group; Brad Niva, NW Brochure Service and Wine Hopper Tours; Livia Genise, Livia Genise Productions; Katharine Cato, Staff, Director of VCB & Marketing; Vicki Capp, The Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast; Julie Gurwell (VCB Chair), Hearsay Restaurant, Lounge and Garden; Graham Sheldon, Ashland Creek Inn & Peter Wickliffe. Not pictured: Bob Hackett, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
As the lead economic development organization in Ashland, the Chamber has decades-long established relationships within the business sector and through community partnerships.
The Chamber promotes businesses and the community by providingbusiness resources, creating events, maintaining strong community partnerships, promoting tourism, conducting community issues discussions and collaborative problem solving while providing effective leadership. Through the point-of-contact information and relocation services as a clearinghouse for the community, there are many avenues for awareness and to receive assistance including the Chamber website(www.ashlandchamber.com), the business resource portal(www.ashlandbusinessresource.com), at the Chamber office, summer Plaza Information Booth, and through phone calls and numerous materials and brochures. The Chamber provides a broad communication network and serves as a community connector for many thousands of individuals each year.
The Ashland Chamber has a dynamic, diverse group of over 750 business, non-profit and community members with a passion for enhancing the economy of Ashland. Whether creating new business contacts through one of the many networking events, showcasing their services and products or by contributing their time and resources, they expand the reach and impact of programs and projects. Local businesses and their employees are strengthened through a system of sharing and learning opportunities that help grow the economy through enhancement of workforce education. Needs and trends in business are identified through one-on-one meetings, surveys and analysis. The community and businesses are promoted and marketed through the identification and communication of Ashland values, strengths and assets. The Ashland Chamber offers many programs to serve its members, the business community, as well as the entire community of Ashland.
Legislative issues are addressed through Community Issues Forums on topics such as transportation and water supply. The Chamber does not support candidates for office at any level, but provides opportunity for informational forums and open dialogue with our elected leaders. Monthly, the Chamber coordinates the Ashland Coalition which provides community leaders an opportunity to discuss and partner to solve problems, build community health, economic well-being, and economic sustainability.
The website www.ashlandchamber.com provides visitors, residents and businesses with information on all aspects of the community including tourism amenities and attractions, relocation, community events, education, demographics, health care, business resources and much more.
The Green/Best Practices Committee’s mission is to create standards for Chamber events as well as City wide events in Ashland. Through educational outreach and programs, the Committee encourages creating less waste and less impact on our community. The Committee has developed strategies to work with community members and businesses to help reduce the amount of waste the events and continues to work with the City of Ashland and their Conservation programs to help provide education to businesses.
Hundreds of Ashland residents volunteer their time for programs connected with the Ashland Chamber. This includes work on community events such as the 4th of July Celebration and Festival of Light but also in the daily greeting of visitors through our offices both at the Chamber and during the summer months on the Plaza at our Information Booth.