Though the Homer Chamber of Commerce’s finances are currently healthy, the organization is going to reassess the handling of its annual Jackpot Halibut Derby, which has suffered a steady decline in revenue over the last few years.
Finances was just one of several things discussed Tuesday at the annual chamber meeting, held at the Best Western Bidarka Inn. Executive Director Debbie Speakman gave an overview of the last year, in which the first quarter was traditionally low in terms of tourist visits, the second quarter was “rough,” and the third and fourth quarters were up.
Bear viewing is still the main thing that attracts visitors to Homer, Speakman reported, and the chamber distributed 120,000 visitor guides throughout the state and beyond.
While the chamber’s net income decreased from 2017 to 2018, it still made a profit last year of about $9,700, according to data presented by Patrick Mede, vice president of the chamber’s board of directors. He did note that, due to a change in accounting at the chamber, 2017 was a nine-month fiscal year.
The Chamber made about $73,000 from the Jackpot Halibut Derby in 2018, according to Mede’s presentation. Speakman said ticket sales for the derby dropped by 7,000 in 2018 from the previous year.
“Our messaging needs to change,” she said, “… Now we’re partnering with the charter association to add more education. And I think with that part of it, our marketing will change and I’m hoping this will drive more ticket sales.”
“We just need to do some revamping of the halibut derby,” Mede said.
At the same time, Mede said controllable costs, like operating costs, have decreased at the chamber, which is a good sign. The chamber in 2018 had $107,000 in cash on hand, which can cover four months of overhead spending.
In other chamber news, local photographer Russell Campbell’s shot of a mountain peak was selected as the cover art for the chamber’s next visitor guide. A copy of it and other top photos selected for inside the guide were given out as door prizes at the meeting.