Chamber excited with new downtown digs

KINGSTON — Moving can be an exciting, chaotic experience and it’s one the Kingston Chamber of Commerce officials and volunteers fully embraced Jan. 11. as the chamber headquarters shifted from the Kingston Community Center to a small building at the corner of State Route 104 and West Kingston Road. The change has been discussed since fall 2007, and the group decided it was high time for some new wallpaper, floors and additional space.

The new digs were originally proposed by chamber volunteer and Kingston Lumber owner Tom Waggoner. He thought the small building formerly known as Sweet Pea Cottage would be a perfect spot to make the organization more accessible and launch a historical display of Kingston in conjunction with the Kingston Historical Society. He felt the chamber’s office and resources should be more visible to both business owners and visitors, and the building provided the perfect spot.

“Good exposure, increased membership, an office for (chamber Chief Executive Officer Nancy Tietje) and a nice space for volunteers,” said chamber President Jana Kramberger of more ways the new space will help. “We’re hoping to increase our volunteers. We have 14 right now, and I think that will increase. We’re hoping to bring in (Kingston High School) volunteers. I also hope to make people walk the extra block that is downtown Kingston.”

The space has imbued more excitement and energy into chamber employees and volunteers, who look forward to bringing in more Kingston businesses and expanding the North End’s growing network. The new location caused quite the buzz at a chamber after-hours event Jan. 10 at the cottage, said Volunteer Coordinator Dorothy Harris. Harris got the go-ahead Jan. 11 to move the desk and informational brochures from the community center

“At the chamber after-hours I was given the authorization to move the phones,” she said. “One volunteer showed up with a truck. Jack Minert, a long time volunteer, started taking apart furniture. (Volunteer) Sally Christy and I packed up the boxes, and the move went really well.”

Chamber officials will place signs outside the building to indicate the move, and members are spreading the word so the empty entrance at the community center won’t baffle too many people. Harris said it was an asset to catch people walking by to the Kingston Library and the desk was in a good position to help visitors when the library was closed. However, the new space is much more visible from the road, and is uniquely all the chamber’s own.

It also provides more office space, something Tietje said she is looking forward to. She hasn’t yet moved in, but said she will in the next week or so, and will set office hours.

“Well, it highlights we are a strong presence in promoting businesses in the community, it gives us a larger space to work in, which is much appreciated,” Tietje said. “It’s a larger space for our information center and historical display.”

Interested residents and visitors are invited to stop by and check out the new center while volunteers are on shift, or during Tietje’s office hours once they are established.

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