My View – September 2015

At times, living and working in a small town brings unusual challenges that end-up producing extraordinary and unexpected results.

Reflecting back to early 2008, Jacksonville was stuck in the grips of a national economic recession that was taking a toll on businesses, large and small. It was the same year I took the reins of the Review and quickly discovered the value of supporting local businesses and “shopping local!”

It was also when David Jesser, owner of the Jacksonville Mercantile, (and current City Councilor) formed a new business organization to promote Jacksonville as a visitor destination. His concept was simple: draw more visitors here—both day-trippers and overnighters—to bolster the business community. Along with David, JOBA’s first board of directors included me, Robert Roos, Mel Ashland, David Works, Tim Balfour and others.

JOBA got to work immediately to fill a gap in marketing by raising funds for large-scale print ads in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Playbill, Sunset, 1859 and Southern Oregon Magazine. Later, our group also funded construction of a new website and a social media page; efforts that have paid-off and netted positive results for the business community and town residents alike.

At the same time, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce was successfully operating the Visitors Information Center, organizing annual community celebrations such as Victorian Christmas, Chinese New Year and Taste of Summer while simultaneously acting as an information and promotional conduit for the business community.

Side-by-side, future-minded business leaders from both groups have, for many years now, shared a common goal of working for the betterment of Jacksonville.

In this spirit, I am pleased to announce that the two business organizations have merged into a new organization, “Jacksonville Oregon Chamber of Commerce and Business Association!”

Today, thanks to the collaboration and leadership from David Jesser, Tim Balfour and their respective Board of Directors, the future of the Jacksonville business community is in very good hands. Please read more about this watershed event in “Chamber Chat,” by Chamber Executive Director Tim Balfour on page 16 and discover more about this positive development in our Small Town with Big Atmosphere!