Chamber updates rotary on new staff, holiday events and upcoming anniversary

Homer Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 8 to introduce new staff members, discuss benefits that the chamber offers local businesses, and share plans for upcoming holiday events and the City of Homer’s 75th birthday.

The majority of the discussion was presented by new membership director Silas Firth, who touched on benefits the chamber offers members.

Firth also runs a video production company, Standing Tide Production, and will soon be offering business highlight videos to members. Members will also be included in the 2024 business directory in both print and online format.

Mina Gherman, marketing director, is providing various marketing training courses as well as consultation opportunities to members.

Businesses with chamber membership will also be included in the 2024 business directory. More than 70,000 copies of the directory are distributed in Alaska and mailed nationwide, according to Firth.

Firth also noted the most recent chamber-sponsored events and number of people who participated in them, Homer’s Fall Fest and the Pioneer Avenue Trick-or-Treat for Halloween.

Upcoming events

Heading into the holidays, the chamber will host a tree-lighting event Nov. 30 at the visitor center. The event will include Christmas carols with the Homer High School choir and the KP Brass Band and a visit from Santa.

Donations of new and unwrapped toys and sporting goods can be made to the holiday toy drive before Dec. 10.

Another program the chamber notes for holiday shoppers is “Homer Bucks.” The chamber-developed program aims to keep “dollars local,” according to the chamber’s website.

Homer Bucks are available to purchase through the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Any business that is an active member of the chamber can choose to accept Homer Bucks, and then turn them back in to the chamber for a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement, according to the website.

A list of local retailers accepting Homer Bucks can be found on the chamber website.

Homer Bucks was started in 2018. Since then, more than $500,000 has been raised. By the end of 2023, the total is expected to be more than $600,000, according to Firth.

Twenty-five Homer business are participating in the Shop Local Bingo event offering promotions and discounts Nov. 24-26. Shoppers can fill out a Bingo card and be entered to win five small prize drawings and a grand prize of $500 Homer Bucks.

2024 is Homer’s 75th anniversary year and the chamber is launching a new logo to commemorate the event. A new sticker is in the works and there will be an anniversary dinner in January.

Firth also introduced the upcoming 2024 chamber events calendar with local events already scheduled for almost every month next year.