The president and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce calls it a sign of the times.
Others, however, just point to one more for-sale sign on Sprague Avenue that’s already overrun with vacant commercial buildings.
Last week, Eldonna Shaw, head of the chamber, announced that by the end of May she and her staff would vacate the current main office at 9507 E. Sprague. The building’s owner has put it up for sale, and the chamber – which has leased the space since 2003 – isn’t interested in buying.
Instead, the Valley staff will consolidate with personnel already stated in Liberty Lake at 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane, which Shaw says has room to spare.
“At the end of a lease it’s an opportunity for new ideas,” Shaw said. “This is a positive move.”
The Liberty Lake location is the chamber’s Business Center, which has been in operation for two years as an eastern Spokane County location for an incubator programs and training for entrepreneurs who are starting out.
Once the Sprague location went up for sale, the chamber created a task force to explore its options, Shaw said. Looking to cut costs – and needing ADA accessibility, more parking and computer networking capabilities – the idea of just moving everything to Liberty Lake seemed to make the most sense.
“This step will allow up to expand our core business services to our 764 member businesses and organizations, as well as continue to create events and activities in eastern Spokane County.
Shaw said the chamber will still hold functions like its business breakfast meetings at centralized Spokane Valley locations.
“That won’t change,” she said.
The community will be invited to an open house at the Valley Chamber Business Center in Liberty Lake on June 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. to celebrate the chamber’s 91st anniversary.
In all those years, the chamber has never been headquartered so far east. It did, however, have its origins in the Greenacres area.
“For our organization to remain viable, this is something we needed to do,” Shaw said. “The time was right.”