Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chamber Welcomes New Business North County Electric

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce welcomed new business North County Electric LLC.

North County Electric is an electrical contracting business providing service and repair for commercial, residential, industrial, new construction, and remodels. Since opening their doors on January 2009, owner Sean Behm brings over 20 years experience in the electrical industry. Licensed and insured, Behm is a master certified electrician. With previous experience with Nordstrom, Behm specializes in retail lighting in addition to energy efficiency and green solutions.

North County Electric is dedicated to superior customer service and owners are pleased to provide their customers a call return guarantee. Owners are also excited to give back to the local community. They recently provided electrical services for Relay for Life and plan to support local sports teams.

For more information, call (208) 304-6524 or email

Photo Caption: North County Electric LLC celebrated their new business with a ribbon cutting amongst the Chamber Ambassadors, family, and friends. Pictured from left is Ambassador Bill Justus, Ambassador chairman Carol Warren, Chamber membership account executive Bob Blettenberg, co-owner Lauren Behm, Ambassador Clif Warren, owner Sean Behm, daughter Meghan Behm cutting the ribbon, Bill, Stephanie, Cassidy, and Jake Aitken, Ambassador Peggy Shadel, Ambassador Colleen Spickelmire, and Ambassador Paralee Gates.

Chamber Welcomes Wily Widgeon Café

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce celebrated with Wily Widgeon Café at their new location at the Sandpoint Elks Golf Course, located at 30196 Highway 200. Formerly located in neighboring Hope, Wily Widgeon Café continues to offer the same delicious dishes cherished by their customers. The café is known for their benedicts like the lobster and traditional benedicts and signature sandwiches including the "Wily Burger" and "Knife and Fork Philly." Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant additionally caters to the meeting room located next door at the Elks golf course. Pictured is owner Angie Lauber cutting the ribbon amongst the Chamber Ambassadors. Chamber membership account executive Lee Hoge holds Angie’s drawing of her husband and café co-owner Matt Lauber since he was unable to attend. For more information, call (208) 255-7494.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LaQuinta Inn Receives Business of the Month Award

On June 11, 2009 LaQuinta received the Business of the Month award from the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.

In operation for the last 29 years at their downtown Sandpoint location, LaQuinta Inn was formerly known as Best Western Connie’s Motor Inn and became LaQuinta in 2000. Employing approximately 22 people with five long-term employees working as many as twelve to twenty years, LaQuinta goes above and beyond for their guests.

General manager Bonnie Eng who began working in 1980 when the first 28 rooms were in construction recants several stories of how her employees go the extra mile for their guests.

“We had an employee working one night when an elderly couple arrived without a reservation. We were full. The only hotel available was at Schweitzer. The couple was nervous they would not find it as it was late at night. Our employee gave them refreshments in the lobby and told them if they could wait until she was off shift, she would drive and show them the way. When her shift ended at 11 p.m., they followed her to Schweitzer.”

Eng recalled another story where a guest complained the iron in the room caused a rust stain on her blouse. The guest wanted the employee to have it dry cleaned before she checked out. After calling the local laundry, the employee learned it was not possible to have it done before the guest checked out.

“She took it upon herself to buy the guest the same exact blouse after she was off shift that day. She put it in the guest’s room with a note of apology and explanation, along with the soiled blouse. Obviously, our guest was surprised and delighted,” Eng said.

LaQuinta is a prime example of strong customer service and provides a wealth of amenities. Voted the best hotel in Sandpoint by the local community, LaQuinta Inn provides free breakfast, room service from Connie’s Café, and free high-speed internet access at a location within walking-distance to the downtown corridor of Sandpoint. Their facilities include meeting rooms, convenience store, outdoor swimming pool, spa, and fitness center.

Additionally, LaQuinta is a strong supporter of the community. Every year they work with the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce to provide their parking lot off Main Street to support the Sandpoint Summer Sampler. Many of the entertainers for the annual Festival at Sandpoint stay at LaQuinta, and they are then photographed for their wall of fame.

Eng is active within the Greater Sandpoint Recreation and Tourism Council. Appointed by the board of directors in the fall of 2008, she attends meetings, participates in advertising co-ops, and shares a tremendous amount of history with regards to trends in tourism in Sandpoint.

“She is a wealth of information and ideas, and always willing to help when she can or when needed,” said chamber executive director Amy Little.

Photo Caption: Pictured is general manager Bonnie Eng accepting the award on behalf of LaQuinta Inn from Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and board member Colleen Spicklemire.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mt. West Financial Center Hosts After Hours

The community is invited to attend the Chamber After Hours at the new Mountain West Financial Center, located on Highway 2 and Division Street, on Wednesday, June 24th at 5 p.m.

The bank will provide appetizers from Jalapenos and cool beverages. Door prizes will be given, so bring your business cards to enter the drawing.

Mountain West Bank provides three convenient locations with two in Sandpoint and one in Ponderay. With a motto to “love where you bank,” Mountain West Bank offers extensive financial services including but not limited to real estate loans, refinancing programs, commercial lending, home equity loans and lines of credit, and is home to “Totally Free Checking.”

So come join the Mountain West Bank team for an after hours party in their new financial center.

For more information, call (800) 567-1796 or visit

Friday, June 19, 2009

Doug Lynch was honored by the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce as volunteer of the month.

“Doug volunteers whenever and wherever he is needed, because that is the kind of person he is – giving and proud to be a member of the Chamber and support its many activities,” said Sue Traver from the University of Idaho Extension Office.

Doug is a relationship manager from MetLife Home Loans and is an active member of the chamber, serving as president of the Leadership Sandpoint (LS) and chairman of the Ag & Forestry committee. In his role as class president of LS, he and his fellow classmates raised over $2000 by coordinating a yard sale for the DayBreak Center, a nonprofit organization providing family support through dementia therapy; and in his role as chairman of the agriculture and forestry committee, he is responsible for the annual Farm Tour, an event that draws people outside our area to learn about farming and forestry in Bonner County. Additionally, he serves on the chamber’s board of directors.

The Chamber would like to thank Doug for his tireless efforts to make our community strong and healthy through his active participation and leadership.

“He represents why I love calling this community home. He represents the best of Sandpoint, the best of humanity,” Traver said.

Photo Caption: Pictured is Doug Lynch accepting the volunteer of the month award from Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce board member Kristan Peacock.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On Thursday, June 18th chefs from the greater Sandpoint area will be cookin’ up favorite recipes for the 4th annual Sandpoint Summer Sampler at Farmin Park and Main Street in downtown Sandpoint.

Chefs are creating savory samples this year. Skeyes the Limit will serve scrumptious sautéed triple sausage stuffed fresh mushroom caps and chilled triple cheese pesto tortellini salad. Taste Asian flavors with MaMaSan’s Peking duck wraps, Korean short ribs, and their mango and pineapple salad, a family recipe showcasing exotic fruits in a sweet lime-cilantro dressing. Or for good ol’ American cookin’, come try an authentic Philly Cheesesteak from Joe’s Philly Cheesesteak, Bab’s Pizzeria’s delicious hand-made New York style pizza, or an all-time classic root beer float and popcorn from Mountain West Bank. Tingle your taste buds with a delicious assortment of baked goods from Pine Street Bakery and MaMaSans’s vanilla bean ice cream with jasmine caramel sauce and lemongrass cheesecake. Connie’s Café, Chimney Rock Grill, DISH, and Eichardt’s will reveal their surprise dishes at the Sampler.

To top off the evening, don’t miss Sandpoint’s favorite wineries and breweries including Pend d’Oreille Winery, Stage Right Cellars, Laughing Dog Brewery, and MickDuff’s, and while delighting in the variety of flavors of Sandpoint, enjoy the ever-popular Celebrity Chef Cookoff presented by Litehouse. Local chefs will compete for the traveling trophy as they cook using box of ingredients from Litehouse. Last year chefs were fast and furious cooking exotic meats like alligator and boar, and the excitement continues as Eddie Sneva from Trinity at the Beach and Brett Mullinder from Chimney Rock Grill battle with their spices and ingenuity. Gabe Cruz, winner of the 2007 competition, will emcee the event, and Litehouse CFO Kelly Prior, Sandpoint Magazine writer for “eats and drinks” Carrie Scozzaro, Stephen Evans, and Sandpoint Chief of Police Mark Lockwood will judge and determine the best of show.

Bring a canned food item or purchase raffle tickets for $1 each during the cooking competition to support local nonprofit Bonner Community Food Center. Raffles include several Yokes gift cards in several different denominations, and all proceeds go to give a ‘helping hand’ by providing food resources to families, disabled individuals, children, and seniors in times of emergency.

The Summer Sampler will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and the cooking competition begins at 5:45 p.m. Tickets for samples are available at the clock tower, and samples range in price from $3 to $7. Cash and checks will be accepted.

If the weather is uncooperative, the event will be held at Sandpoint Business & Event Center.

The Sandpoint Summer Sampler is proudly sponsored by Aging Better In-Home Care, Litehouse, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Bonner County Daily Bee, and 95.3 KPND and hosted by the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, call (800) 800-2106 or (208) 263-2161 or visit

Your Relaxation Destination Celebrates New Location

The Chamber Ambassadors, friends, and business partners celebrated with Your Relaxation Destination at a new location, 1203 Michigan Street, Suite 2. Owner Penny Waters (pictured cutting the ribbon) is a reflexologist, massage therapist, master herbalist, and esthetician. She offers relaxation and improved well-being through reflexology, therapeutic neck and back massage, stone massage, herbs and more. She can help those suffering from many common conditions and complaints such as stress, allergies, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, hypertension and more. Additionally, the new location includes two treatment rooms allowing Waters to expand treatments and provide services for groups including bridal groups and couple packages. Her affordable packages are the perfect getaway to relax, heal, and restore. For more information, call (208) 597-4343 or visit

Friday, June 12, 2009

Need Support at City Council Meeting on June 17th @ 5:30 pm for Jamie Packer Centre

Our city council needs to see the public support which exists for the Jamie Packer Centre, and we urge all chamber members to make a showing, in person, and perhaps a statement at the city council meeting on June 17th at 5:30 p.m. This investment in downtown Sandpoint is of tremendous importance to all business owners and residents of the City of Sandpoint as well as the Greater Sandpoint area, and we must demonstrate to the city council that the business community supports this development. The opportunity to place the community center in the downtown core is only available for a short period of time. Any delays in the project to further gauge the public's feelings will increase the costs of the project which could result in its termination. Please come and bring a few friends with you to the city council meeting on June 17th at 5:30 p.m. For more info, visit

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Greater Sandpoint Toastmasters Celebrates New Location on Cedar Street Bridge

Pictured are the Greater Sandpoint Toastmasters celebrating with the Chamber Ambassadors at their new meeting location on the 2nd floor of the Cedar Street Bridge Public Marketplace. The club provides a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop and practice communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth. Meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Through both prepared speeches to impromptu speaking, participants receive feedback on their public speaking skills. The public is invited to learn more about their club on June 16th at their open house. Door prizes including a free membership and other professional services will be given and food and drinks will be served. For more information about Greater Sandpoint Toastmasters, call (208) 263-3824 or visit Pictured from left is Ambassador Clif Warren, Aron Fox, Janet Hanson, Dana Hildebrand, Julie Perchinsky - Secretary, Erin Fogarty - VP Education, Rob McKenny - President, J.P Carver, Amber Snoddy, Brent Lockwood - Sgt. At Arms, Kevin Chu, Mary Cheney, Neil Snoddy - Past President, and Ambassador chairman Carol Warren. Not pictured are officers Kathleen Cricket Windsong – VP Membership, Randall J. Klein – Treasurer, and Shanne Andrade - VP Publicity.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Pend Oreille Surgery Center Opens

Pend Oreille Surgery Center owners and staff, accompanied by the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony announcing the opening of their new center.

Pend Oreille Surgery Center, located at 30544 Hwy. 200 in Ponderay, is a privately owned, free-standing, ambulatory surgical center specifically designed to provide care for "day surgery" patients. Through an experienced team of doctors, RNs, CSTs combined with a professional business staff, the center provides a wide range of ambulatory surgical services. Patients may be scheduled by credentialed medical staff for elective procedures including general, orthopedic, podiatric, and plastic surgery, in addition to endoscopic and interventional pain procedures.

"The staff is proud of the beautiful and tranquil atmosphere that has been created for patients, their family members, staff and providers," said Kris Sabo, RN and Executive Director. "The center is equipped with state of the art equipment and comfortable furnishings, creating a positive surgical experience for patients as well as a great place to work," she said.

Pend Oreille Surgery Center officials would like to thank Reitinger & Associates Consulting, Morss Medical Architecture, Leone & Keeble Construction, Decision by Design, Sandpoint Computers, TNT Communications, and Envy Graphic Design for their invaluable help with this "dream-come-true". Special thanks goes to Panhandle State Bank for financing the project despite a difficult credit environment.

Pend Oreille Surgery Center is dedicated to its mission to expand the future of health care in Bonner County. For more information, call (208) 265-8194 or visit

Photo Caption: Owners and staff celebrate with the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors with the opening of their new Pend Oreille Sugery Center. Pictured from left on first row is Ambassador Paralee Gates, Chamber Board Member Kristan Peacock, Ambassador Diane Miller, Ambassador Peggy Shadel, general surgeon Nathan Kanning, MD, general surgeon Mark Savarise, MD, executive director Kris Sabo, RN, orthopedic surgeon Mike DiBenedetto, MD (cutting the ribbon), Lisa Bates, RN, Mary Geiger, Ambassador Colleen Spicklemire, and Ambassador chairman Carol Warren. Pictured on 2nd row is Ambassador Clem Hackworthy, Ambassador Bill Justus, and Gary Hull, CST. Pictured on 3rd row is Hugh Gavin, plastic surgeon Michelle Spring, MD, Lucas Anderson, Randi Lui, anesthetist Stu Gall, CRNA, anesthetist Bruce Demko, CRNA, Kelli Hansen, CNA, and Nancy Hinkle, RN. Not pictured are Charlie Crane, MD (endoscopy), Jon Fisher, DPM (podiatry), anesthetist Tim Kelly, CRNA, orthopedic surgeon Will Magee, MD, Lauri Barrett, Ashley Friendmann, Nancy Andrews, RN, Andy Hartnett, RN, Angie Jones, and Jen Meyer, CST.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What's Cooking on June 18th?

Discover the rich flavors of Sandpoint on Thursday, June 18th at Farmin Park and Main Street for the Sandpoint Summer Sampler. This 4th annual culinary extravaganza is a street party bustling with food and fun. From tasting delicious samples to enjoying the Litehouse Mystery Box Cooking Competition, the event is an annual favorite for all ages.

“You'll find tasty cuisine from some of our best eateries and some new ones you've been dying to try,” said executive director Amy Little.

“From samples of fine cuisine to family favorites, there is something for all to enjoy,” said Little. Families will enjoy Bab’s Pizzeria, Pine Street’s scrumptious delights, root beer floats and popcorn from Mountain West Bank, and more.

Culinary creations, wine, and brews will be available from many participating businesses including Big Bear Chocolates, Chimney Rock Grill, Connie’s Café, DISH, Joe’s Philly Cheesesteak, Mamasan’s & Blue Moon, Skeyes the Limit, Stage Right Cellars, Pend d’Oreille Winery, Laughing Dog Brewery, and more.

Again this year, the Chef’s Mystery Box Cooking Competition presented by Litehouse will continue the battle for the “best of” chef. With a mystery box of ingredients, the chefs will compete with their knives, spices and ingenuity for the traveling trophy and notoriety for their respective restaurant.

Come out for an evening of fun, food, and entertainment between 5 to 7:30 p.m. There is no fee to come to the Summer Sampler but prepare to buy lots of tickets for samples at $1 each, available at the event. Samples range in price from $3 to $7.

Bring your blanket and enjoy the atmosphere with incredible dishes from these popular restaurants and caterers, wine and brews, and come be a part of one of Sandpoint's finest summer events.

For more information, call the Chamber at 208.263.0887 or visit

Leadership Sandpoint Raises Over $2000 for DayBreak Center

On May 8th and 9th, the 2010 Leadership Sandpoint (LS) class held a Yard Sale at Taylor-Parker Motor Company to raise funds for the new DayBreak Center, a nonprofit organization operating under the Sandpoint Senior Center providing family support through dementia therapy to elder adults and respite time for their caregivers.

Each year the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Sandpoint class is exposed to nonprofit organizations in the area. “We were touched by many groups,” said class president Doug Lynch. “By far, the DayBreak Center was the most moving for our class, and the one organization that was in the most need,” he said.

The DayBreak Center recently moved to a new location at 321 South First Avenue and with their new facility, they did not have an area for their clients to be outside. Thus, the LS class agreed to build a secured garden area by organizing a yard sale wherein all moneys raised would build an access ramp and garden for clients to plant flowers and hopefully have their own garden.

“The success of the event was mainly due to the entire class working together,” said Lynch. “I loved being part of this event, because our class came together, worked hard, laughed too much, and raised over two thousand dollars for the DayBreak Center.”

The LS class especially would like to thank Taylor-Parker Motor Company for allowing them to utilize their location in Ponderay. “We could not have had the success if it weren’t for Brett Taylor and his family,” Lynch said.

The Leadership Sandpoint Class is a two-year program available to leaders and potential leaders in the Greater Sandpoint area. Leadership Sandpoint provides a behind the scenes look into various facets of this community, hands-on leadership experience, opportunities to build relationships with leaders, and incredible insight on the issues that are shaping the future growth of this area.

“The class of 2009 will be graduating on August 26th at Enchanted Events,” said the Chamber’s executive director Amy Little. “We are pleased with the work they accomplished as a team and are excited to see another great year as the 2010 class paves the way for next year,” she said.

Applications are now available and will be accepted until July 31st, 2009. Visit or call 263-0887 for registration and further information.

Photo Caption: Pictured is the 2009 Leadership Sandpoint Class meeting after their successful yard sale fundraiser for the DayBreak Center. From left is Nancy Lewis, Tere Schultz, Margi Gunter, Patrick Sande, Alana Hatcher, Tawnie Sleep, Kim Queen, Brett Taylor, Linda Robey, Ron Denova, and class president Doug Lynch. Not pictured is Andy Gion, Charlene Godec, and Bob Blettenberg.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009