Stanwood Chamber of Commerce ‘can’t keep the doors open’

The chamber is set to shut down at the end of the month due to financial challenges.

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STANWOOD — The Stanwood Chamber of Commerce will close at the end of the month due to financial problems.

“This difficult decision was not made lightly nor easily,” the chamber said in a Facebook post Friday. “Unfortunately, the resources available were not sufficient to correct a multitude of issues and would continue to hinder service to our membership.”

The nonprofit supports and promotes businesses in Stanwood. It has 64 members.

“The chamber has been limping along for years,” chamber board vice president Katie Schrock said Monday.

She said the organization has lacked a full board for years. Recently, board members discovered new “information” about the chamber’s finances, Schrock said. She declined to elaborate.

“We just can’t keep the doors open,” she said.

The board voted to dissolve the chamber last week, Schrock said. Operations will cease at the end of the month.

The chamber will complete its contract with the city for the Summer Concert Series, with remaining performances on Aug. 6 and 27. Its annual golf tournament on Sept. 9 has been canceled.

The chamber lost income during the pandemic, as membership fees declined and fundraising events were canceled.

There had also been turnover with several executive directors. The most recent director, Cassie Merritt, took over in April after her predecessor left the job after three months. Merritt resigned in late July.

Schrock said the chamber’s board is working with the city and the Camano Island Chamber of Commerce on ways to support businesses.

“It’s a bummer,” she said. “We’re trying to find a silver lining in this and another way for the city to help merchants and take on events.”

As Stanwood grows, she said the city needs a chamber or similar organization to help promote businesses.

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434;; Twitter: @jacq_allison.

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