This year, we are stepping up our awards game. We will celebrate our 2023 Covington Chamber Business Award winners at a cocktail reception, emceed by Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner and hosted by the Weatherly Inn at Lake Meridian.
We will honor finalists and winners in 5 award categories:
1) New Business of the Year
2) Small Business Entrepreneurial Spirit
3) Large Business Innovation
4) Spirit of Covington Community Impact
5) Covington Chamber Volunteer of the Year.
Tickets are $35 per person and include heavy appetizers prepared by the Weatherly Inn's amazing chef, dessert, two drink tickets, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, one entry into a prize drawing, and live music.
RSVP Deadline: March 15, 2024.
To get additional visibility for your business and to show your support for the award winners and finalists, sign up to be a sponsor!
Gold Sponsor: $500
Silver Sponsor: $250
Bronze Sponsor: $125
It's February, and that means it is time to celebrate and honor excellence, extraordinary achievement in community spirit through the presentation of our 2023 Covington Chamber Business Awards. Nominations for the following categories are open Feb. 1-16, 2024, and winners and finalists will be selected by the Covington Chamber Board of Directors at their Feb. 22, 2023 meeting.
New Business of the Year Award
A new member (joined between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023) who embodies our chamber’s culture and has jumped in with both feet, ready to engage, connect and make a positive impact on our chamber and the greater Covington community.
Small Business Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
A small business with 25 or fewer employees that embodies our chamber’s culture and stands out among the landscape of Covington’s business base by one or more of the following: mission-driven work; providing unique products and/or services; demonstrating a willingness to continue to engage and enhance our chamber membership. An example might be a family-owned business or a solo business owner who embodies entrepreneurial spirit.
Large Business Innovation Award
A business with 26 or more employees that supports the chamber and business community in innovative ways through volunteer engagement, financial sponsorship commitments, meaningful partnerships, and exemplary service and commitment to fellow Covington community businesses and residents.
Spirit of Covington Community Impact Award
A business or organization of any size that goes above and beyond on a regular basis to support the Covington community. Their local community impact may include, but is not limited to, volunteer service, fundraising, community spirit, showing up, and being known as a business or organization that sets an example for other organizations.
Chamber Volunteer of the Year
A chamber volunteer of the year that provides exceptional service to the chamber through service; active participation; sponsorship; referrals; volunteering to help with events and programs; or serving on the board, as an ambassador or committee member.
Only active Covington Chamber members are eligible to be nominated. If you aren't sure if the business you want to nominate is member of the Covington Chamber, visit our online directory.
Nominations are open through February 16, 2024. Please complete one form for each person and category. For example, if you want to nominate Suzy Smith for 2 awards, complete 1 form for each nomination. Contact Dana Neuts at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
After 20 years, the Washington State legislature is considering changes to existing gift card legislature that is not friendly to businesses or consumers. HB 2094 and SB 5987 would change the “cash out” on gift cards from the current less than $5 to less than $50. HB 2095 and SB 5988 would require businesses to remit unused gift card balances to the state’s unclaimed property fund after a proposed three years.
Both changes put extra burdens on businesses and actually harm consumers. For example, right now, state law requires that there are no expiration dates on gift cards. With the new legislation, a gift card would expire after three years and the money would be turned over to the state. The consumer would have to file a claim with unclaimed property to get the value of the gift card back.
This legislation would apply to any business that sells gift cards (e.g., restaurants, salons, retail stores, etc.). If your business doesn’t sell gift cards but you use them as client gifts or donate to nonprofits or use them as fundraisers, the legislation could affect you too.
The Covington Chamber is following this issue closely and partnering with other Chambers around the state, the Association of Washington Business, and the Washington Retail Association to protect our businesses from burdensome legislation like this. We will host a free webinar in the next several weeks to provide more information and to tell you how you can get involved to fight this legislation.
Free Webinar, Jan. 16 @ 1 p.m.
Please join us on Tues., Jan. 16 for a free, 30-minute webinar to learn more about this issue and how we can actively oppose it. Our guest speakers will be Crystal Leatherman, Local & State Government Affairs Manager for Washington Retail Association and Emily Shay, Government Affairs Director, Tax & Fiscal Policy for the Association of Washington Business. Find out more details, including the Zoom link, on our Facebook event page.
Washington Hospitality Association Seeks Input on Gift Card Legislation
The Legislature has recently introduced two bills that change requirements related to gift cards. The Washington Hospitality Association is conducting a survey to determine how this proposed legislation will impact the overall business community.
The bills will:
In May, our membership approved a change to how we elect our Board of Directors. Starting this year, a Nominating Committee put out multiple calls via social media and our newsletter for interested candidates to fill a two-year term to the Covington Chamber board. While we did not receive any new candidates, the board members whose terms were expiring agreed to serve another term: George Frasier, Green River College and Green River College Foundation; Pat Hanis, Hanis Irvine Prothero PLLC; Lori Paxton, Kent School District; and Mark Smith, Covington and Auburn MultiCare Hospitals.
The Nominating Committee (Bridget O’Connor, board chair; Denzel Jones, director; and Dana Neuts, staff) presented the four candidates to the board as a slate of directors for the 2024-25 term. The board of directors approved that slate at their September 28, 2023 meeting.
The next step in the process is to seek ratification of the official slate as presented. The slate of candidates shall be deemed approved unless a simple majority of the membership votes to disapprove. As of today, we have 167 members. Unless a simple majority – 84 members – votes to disapprove the slate of candidates – the slate is deemed approved.
Please cast your ballot by Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Only votes from members in good standing will be accepted.
Contact Dana Neuts at email@example.com if you have any questions.
by Pooja Anoop of Pooja Anoop Photography
It’s been a while. I just wanted to re-introduce myself.
I’m Pooja & to my left is my better half, Anoop. And that's Pooja Anoop Photography!☺️
I started my journey 4 years back without thinking about what I was getting into as an introverted girl.
I’ve learned a lot. Here are a few tips I’d like to share if you’re starting new in the entrepreneurial journey.
👉 You gotta push yourself.
👉 Not everyone you meet is your friend & they don’t have to be!
But then some clients turn into your family & hold a close special place. (I’m so blessed to have met you.)
👉 Be open to learning more.
👉 Connect & surround yourself with people with goals & who push you to do better.
👉 Know that Mental Health is essential. Prioritize!
👉 Spend more time with people you love! Life is short.
👉 Above all, nothing comes easy! Believe in yourself.
Check out my latest entrepreneurial venture: She Shines, a magazine showcasing incredible women.
Here’s a pic of us graduating (see slideshow)!
Massive shoutout to Oliver from Urban Business Support for conducting the Entrepreneurship program! We learned a lot, and we are proud to graduate today with so many other outstanding entrepreneurs!
by Erica Miller, EDM Consulting, LLC
It's our anniversary!
As I look back over this year, I am truly amazed at all that I've achieved. I have learned so much about myself while building my business. Transitioning to a full-time entrepreneur in 2022, wasn't an overnight decision but a culmination of experiences, learnings, and the evolution of my first business, which also celebrates its second anniversary!
My initial business aimed to empower small businesses with tools for success, such as workbooks, planners and spreadsheets. However, I soon recognized a deeper need – direct assistance. This realization led to the birth of EDM Consulting, a decision I cherish every day.
Starting my consulting business was the best decision; I have learned so many things while developing my business and assisting others! I've had the opportunity to work in so many new industries, and my client base continues to expand.
I want to share with you the tips that got me to where I am today. If I were to start all over again, this is what I would change:
Don’t be afraid to take risks and embrace failure. Only through trying new things will you find success. Your failures are the stepping stones to success. Fear almost held me back, but I'm grateful I pushed through. Every challenge has been a lesson, making me stronger and wiser.
Understand what makes you unique and be comfortable in that. Show up as your most authentic self. Your unique perspective, skills, and abilities are what give you an edge. I spent so much time trying to be more like successful entrepreneurs in my field. I didn't think my personality worked for my line of business. That was so far from the truth! Once I accepted who I am as a person and let that shine, clients were drawn to my authenticity. I'm more comfortable and confident speaking to prospective clients, and I know my worth.
Do your research! What you think your client needs may not be what they want. I've spent over a decade in management; problem-solving and creating solutions to increase productivity and efficiency. I used that experience to create my first set of products for clients as well as my first processes for assisting my clients. Despite having the knowledge and experience, my services were not in high demand. I learned that I had to understand how to speak the language of my ideal clients and not just offer products and services that I thought they needed. What I offer hasn't changed, but my delivery has.
Play to your strengths and leverage your talents and skills. Outsource or delegate what you aren't as good at. When you are starting or running a business, you are most efficient when you learn your strengths early on. Don't waste time perfecting a skill that you aren't good at. Your time is just as valuable as your money. Determine which tasks make sense to outsource instead of trying to do it on your own. Then, you can dedicate your time to the areas where you excel and have more time to focus on serving your clients.
I hope these tips will help you in your journey to success. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes; it’s the only way to grow. Always be yourself and trust the process! Find resources that can help you get through challenging times. There's no need to do it alone. There are so many avenues of support, both paid and free. Please feel free to reach out to me for support at any time. If I cannot assist you, I have a network of people who can.
Raising my glass, toasting to many more years of success for your business and mine!
Your Biz Planner
At yesterday's annual Member September luncheon, the Covington Chamber welcomed six new members to the Chamber, bringing our total membership to 164. Please join us in welcoming the following new members to the Covington Chamber family:
They were joined by about 45 other chamber members at our annual membership celebration, hosted by Edline-Yahn & Covington Funeral Chapel. In addition to a catered lunch at the beautiful event venue, we heard from Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner about how and why the Covington Chamber was started in 1992 and from Board Chair Bridget O'Connor who led an exercise to learn how and why people join and come back to the Chamber again and again.
And what's a thank you celebration without goodie bags? Thanks to our sponsors, we provided each member and guest with a goodie bag and about a dozen members received door prizes including floral centerpieces from Countryside Floral & Garden, cookies from Ube Overload, delicious chocolates from Diana + Cory | The Patterson Team, desktop recycling bins from Republic Services, and other goodies.
Thanks to our members for giving our newest members a warm Chamber welcome!
by City of Covington Police Department and Community Development
Damage from automobiles, both from accidents and intentional crimes, is something that any business near a road or parking lot must stay aware of. In our January email on the CTPED principle of territorial reinforcement, we recommended the use of bollards in front of storefronts to prevent damage and safety hazards for visitors.
There is clear evidence that bollards are effective, including in Covington. For example, a local business experienced three automobile-related burglaries in 2022, prompting them to install bollards outside their storefront. Since this installation, the number of car-related burglaries has reduced to zero.
Bollards are often brightly colored or constructed of materials that can be unsightly and unwelcoming. By choosing functional bollards that are also visually appealing, you not only protect your business, but also convey that it is well-maintained and cared for. To this end, we developed the Covington Bollard Design Guide, which gives recommendations and examples of bollards that are both effective and visually attractive.
Here are some specific suggestions and examples from the Bollard Design Guide:
Copyright Covington Chamber of Commerce. All Rights Reserved.
P. O. Box 8041, Covington, Washington 98042
Phone: (253) 780-1555 | firstname.lastname@example.org