As local businesses continue to tread down the road of economic recovery, there is one regional entity that is doing its part to make the journey go a little smoother.
The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce will open the Valley Chamber Business Center at Liberty Lake later this month, a project designed to help area entrepreneurs kickstart projects by providing office space and resource support. The chamber has facilitated a business incubator program out of its main office in Spokane Valley since 2003.
“We’re trying to provide these people with a comfortable place to start,” said Eldonna Shaw, chamber president and CEO. “It’s somewhere to plant roots.”
|The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold an open house for the Valley Chamber Business Center at Liberty Lake next Friday, March 19, at 10 a.m. Chamber President and CEO Eldonna Shaw (right) is pictured outside the building with Lori Koester of Greenstone Corp. and John Pederson, who manages the chamber’s entrepreneurial program.
Photo by: Craig Howard
The center will be situated in the lower level of the Liberty Square building at 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane in Liberty Lake. The site was previously utilized as the home of a similar program sponsored by the city of Liberty Lake known as the Liberty Lake Business Development Center. Mayor Steve Peterson launched the project in 2003 as one of several city-sponsored ideas to boost local commerce.
Greenstone Corporation, which owns the Liberty Square building and has its home office upstairs, has agreed to lease the basement space to the chamber for the business center. The area includes a dozen offices at 120 square feet each as well as several larger rooms.
“Greenstone feels it’s important to give back,” said Lori Koester, general manager of Rockwood Property Management, a division of Greenstone.
“We want to give opportunities to groups that will make the most of it.”
As part of its curriculum for start-up businesses, the Valley chamber also provides the NxLevel Entrepreneur Training Program, a comprehensive, step-by-step approach to beginning and succeeding as a start-up. The GSVCC was approved by the NxLevel Foundation and the Washington State Small Business Development Center in 2008 as the first chamber in the state to offer the instruction.
John Pederson, director of membership for the Valley chamber, said there have been close to 50 individual graduates of the GSVCC entrepreneurial program, from a total of around 30 businesses. The companies represent a wide range of fields including retail, software design, tech support, janitorial and in-home care.
Pederson, who will move his office from Spokane Valley to the Liberty Lake location and help facilitate the new business center, said the 5,000-square-foot site will undergo a few changes – such as a reception area and signage – that will bear the chamber’s trademark.
“There will be some adjustments,” Pederson said. “We want people to know they’re coming to the chamber.”
The chamber has approximately 50 members in the Liberty Lake area out of a roll call that includes over 1,000 businesses and nonprofit groups. Shaw expressed hope that the new business center “would create more interest in the chamber in Liberty Lake.”
The chamber will host a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for the business center on Friday, March 19 at 10 a.m. To find out more, call the chamber at 924-4994 or visit www.spokanevalleychamber.org.