Published February 2006

Marysville chamber serves
tourists, businesses

By John Wolcott
SCBJ Editor

The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce, now the third largest chamber in the county, is at the heart of one of Snohomish County’s fastest growing tourism and business centers.

“Last year, we increased our membership by 42 percent, and we’re about to break the 500 mark this year,” said Caldie Rogers, president of the chamber. “We have a small staff, but we’re outperforming other chambers of our size with services, benefits and activities. We didn’t even have a membership sales agent until last summer. People just hear about us from other business people, from our newsletter or Web site, then they stop by and join.”

The largest chamber in the county, the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, claims more than 700 members, with the South Snohomish County Chamber reporting 650 members on its Web site. The newly formed Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber, created by a January merger of the two north county groups, now has 350 members.

In the Marysville chamber, nearly 86 percent of the members have 10 or fewer employees, and 72 percent of that segment have five or fewer employees, she said. Even nonprofit groups are joining the chamber, a rarity in some communities.

It’s a very active chamber, Rogers said, with frequent general membership meetings throughout the year, special after-hours gatherings at various businesses for networking and political forums during election times.

Statewide, the chamber’s influence in the state Legislature is well known and often praised by such admirers as the Association of Washington Business, the statewide chamber. During the year, chamber committees research issues and report to the chamber board and general membership. Often, the chamber prepares and approves position statements on such issues as supporting the development of scheduled airline traffic at Paine Field to boost the countywide economy.

The chamber also provides insurance programs and other benefits, and helps members with everything from keeping up on changing laws and regulations affecting the business community to meeting with local government officials to work out specific issues. This year, the chamber even provided CDs to its members with the entire membership in an Excel file, with SIC codes, so the list can immediately be used for marketing.

“All of this is possible on a small budget,” she said, “because of the large number of volunteers who help us with clerical work and fund raising. Plus, we have a very dedicated staff.”

Volunteers also staff the north county tourism and visitors bureau at the chamber offices.

“We have 36 volunteers now but need more, particularly couples for the weekends. Last summer, we were seeing 3,000 to 4,000 each month,” Rogers said. “The first year, before our Web site, we had 14,772 visitors looking for information about the area, including walk-ins and phone calls. Through the end of November 2005, including our Web site queries, we provided information to 341,036 people. The Web site alone gets 30,000 hits a month.”

In addition, Rogers and her staff regularly assist businesses inquiring about locating or expanding into north Snohomish County.

“Being in Quil Ceda Village, with busloads of visitors coming through to the casino and outlet mall, gives us a lot of traffic. We have a very strategic location here,” she said.

For more information, visit the chamber’s Web site at

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© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA