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Supporting business is supporting community
For Lynda Eccles and Vickie Chambers, running organizations focused on helping Coupeville’s economic future is more than just business.
Eccles, who serves as the executive director of the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, said her job is a fine balance between promoting her “dynamic” membership and promoting tourism.
The chamber is always looking at different ways to get people to Coupeville and even get them to stay.
Bringing tourists to the community is a big part to helping business in town thrive.
“Tourism benefits everybody,” Eccles said. “It’s a domino effect.”
But it’s not the entire job.
Coupeville has a diverse business community, Eccles said, from large employers like Whidbey General Hospital to smaller, two-person businesses.
Having such a dynamic base requires a dynamic approach to support.
“We’re always looking at various ways to benefit businesses,” Eccles said.
Chambers’ job as executive director of the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association is more focused on the historic integrity of downtown Coupeville, but tourism also plays a key role.
The two women and organizations work closely. Even out of the same office.
“We both work together to use each other for networking,” Chambers said.
Chambers joined the association two years ago and quickly came to know and respect everyone in the downtown corridor.
“I wish the rest of the town knew how special this downtown area is,” Chambers said.
For her, she said, her job is about providing support.
“I think as a small community we support any way we can,” she said.
Whether it’s keeping an eye out for part-time employees, or lending a helping hand when need be.
“Our job is to keep that dialogue open,” Chambers said. “A lot of it is providing support and information.”
It’s also about bringing community together to show visitors how special Coupeville is.
Together, the historic waterfront association and chamber provide support for events and bring events to the community such as the Mussel Festival.
“Bringing people here is about the discovery of Coupeville,” Eccles said.
And that discovery can also help lead to relocation.
Eccles said it’s important to bring new people into the community thrive as well as aspects of the community like the school system.
“Coupeville is such a beautiful area, it’s not hard to get people here,” she said. “But we need to look at ways to get them to stay.”
But it’s not about growing Coupeville, Eccles said, it’s about maintaining.
“We want to sustain the businesses we have and help them thrive.”