Monday, March 17, 2014

Chamber Welcomes Northwest Auto Body in Ponderay

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is excited to welcome Northwest Auto Body in Ponderay, their second location, to the Chamber. With more than 35 years’ experience in Sandpoint, Northwest Auto Body has branched out with a new second location in Ponderay and some new amenities to go along with it.

“We are very excited to announce the opening of a second location in Ponderay, located at 1202 Triangle Drive,” said Eric Donenfeld. “Both locations have computer networking systems for online claim filing, providing faster and more efficient insurance claim settling. Our new Ponderay Branch offers 2 new paint booths from Italy and all the newest technology making the repair process even more seamless.”

In 1976, at the age of 26, Mel Donenfeld opened Northwest Autobody in Sandpoint on a premise of providing top quality work and customer service on all vehicles, as well as 24-hour towing in North Idaho. During those 36 years, Northwest Auto Body has created deep ties to the region through volunteering and superior customer service. The business is still family owned and operated with Mel's two sons, Eric and Cory, positioned to continue the tradition of excellence in collision repair and caring for the greater Sandpoint and Ponderay community.

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in welcoming Northwest Auto Body to their second location in Ponderay, 1202 Triangle Drive, and wishing them continued success in our community. For more information, give them a call in Ponderay at 265-9999 or visit them online at 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Free Marketing To B.I.D. Members - February Bonner Biz

“It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.”                                                                                -Bob Proctor

Last month, I shared one of the promotional projects the Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) team has recently implemented – the monthly radio program entitled the Downtown Dialogue.  The show airs at Noon every third Monday on 1400AM/KSPT and on 1450AM/KBFI, and is hosted by the B.I.D. manager (me) and Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce Communications Manager, Mack Deibel.  

On the February 17th airing, we shared the microphone with Ranel Hanson, owner of Zany Zebra and member of the Downtown Sandpoint Shopping District, and Denise Alvaeri, Public Relations maven for Pend Oreille Winery.  They each had the opportunity to not only share the outstanding events and promotions their establishments are sponsoring for Winter Carnival, but also gave the listening audience important information on upcoming news and events.  The show was fun and informative for the listeners, and it also served as a great way for both of those businesses to promote themselves on the radio at NO COST to them – an outstanding benefit for B.I.D. members in good standing!

Our goal with the Downtown Dialogue is to create a forum for open discussion on events, issues and general topics-of-interest pertaining to downtown Sandpoint.  We will continue working with our constituents in all areas represented in the B.I.D.: Restaurants, Education, Real Estate, Professional/Banking/Law, Health Care, Retail, Arts/Entertainment, Lodging, and At Large/Miscellaneous businesses and organizations. We will also host future conversations with our partners at the City of Sandpoint, Bonner County Economic Development Corporation, and many others.

In a recent meeting with a concerned BID member, they shared with us the importance of understanding the difference in individual business models.  The reformed B.I.D. Council and staff is working hard on identifying improved strategies and events to creatively market the B.I.D. constituency, in a solid effort to answer the concerns of the various sectors we represent.  We recognize that while a promotion may work well for one type of business, it may fall completely flat for another.

There are no cookie cutter businesses in the B.I.D., and that is a wonderful thing. However, it does create challenges (albeit not insurmountable) for us as we work towards our mission of cultivating year-round economic prosperity and vitality within the district – we need your input on what YOU feel the B.I.D. can do to help you get the word out on the services you provide.  Reach out to your sector representative, and share your ideas.  Your representative is your voice, and he/she will bring those ideas to the Council table.   This is where real change in the B.I.D. begins!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chamber Honors Sandpoint Senior Center

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize Sandpoint Senior Center as February’s Business/Non-profit of the Month.

“This month, I have the honor of recognizing a business that goes above and beyond for the seniors in our community,” said Ken Wood, Chamber Ambassador and the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce’s Chair-elect announced the attendees of the Chamber’s February General Membership Luncheon.

There’s an enormous amount of pride the staff of 15 puts into the business. Last year, the Senior Center delivered over 15,000 meals to local seniors in our area. These meals are delivered Monday-Friday using an all-volunteer effort. It should be noted, many of the seniors they deliver to would not receive quality daily meals if it was not for the efforts of the Senior Center.

In addition to the Meals on Wheels program, they served more than 10,000 meals at their physical location. Those who attend or frequent the Senior Center are able to socialize and develop friendships, as well as participate in activities like bingo and billiards.

Another large focus for the Senior Center has been the Daybreak Center. This center provides relief for caregivers that are dealing with people who have dementia, Alzheimer’s and other types of aging medical issues.

“They truly care about our local seniors,” Ken Wood went on to explain.

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in congratulating Sandpoint Senior Center for their success and thanking them for their commitment to our community. For more information, call them at 208-263-6860 or stop by the Senior Center at 820 Main Street.

Chamber Gives First Legacy Award for Volunteerism to the late Mayor Marsha Ogilvie

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce created a Legacy Award for Volunteerism and honored Marsha Ogilvie at the February General Membership Luncheon.

Marsha Ogilvie honored and recognized non-profits and volunteers once a month when she was Mayor of Sandpoint. She herself was a volunteer and founder of the local non-profit Kinderhaven. She loved children and her office was filled with children’s art. She was also a founder of Women Honoring Women, a local organization whose continuing mission is to recognize women in our community who have contributed to the betterment of the Sandpoint through volunteerism, leadership, the arts and education.

“Marsha’s selection for the first legacy volunteer award is a wonderful honor. It speaks much of what she was all about – extending kindness and a nurturing hand to those around her. Her compassionate nature took the form of volunteerism and community service. And I believe the countless projects that she was involved with were each enhanced by her presence,” said Francis Ogilvie, husband of Marsha.  

“Marsha taught me that leadership above all is about people. It’s about caring about people and understanding people. That is what a leader is, somebody you want to follow,” said Chamber President Kate McAlister.

“For those of you who did not have a chance to work with Marsha, I can tell you it was a relentless theme for her to both celebrate those who volunteer and make our community what it is and the small business owners. She was a small business owner in Sandpoint. Beyond being an amazing volunteer, she was also somebody who just cared tremendously about our downtown, city and our community here,” said Jeremy Grimm, City Planner.

Please join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce in honoring Marsha Ogilvie, Legacy Award for Volunteerism winner, for her contributions and dedication to our community, much of which will live on because of her work. From the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, as well as the whole community, Thank You! 

Chamber Welcomes AXIA Home Loans

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is excited to welcome AXIA Home Loans. With over 9 years in finance and mortgage lending, Teresa Lunde, Senior Mortgage Loan Specialist with AXIA Home Loans has opened a branch in Ponderay.

Axia Home Loans, a division of Axia Financial LLC, is a residential home mortgage banking company. Headquartered in Washington State, Axia is one of the fastest growing, independently owned mortgage companies in the Northwest and located in states throughout the West and Southwest.

“We want to help anyone looking to refinance or purchase a home or investment home, whether it’s a condo, duplex or single family residence, we have programs to best suit you,” said Teresa.

AXIA originates processes, underwrites and funds their loans in house, giving the customer special care and attention. Communication with their customers is tantamount, from the personal touch of the originator, to the updates as your loan passes each milestone. Through calls from your originator and email updates, they assure you’ll never wonder what stage your purchase or refinance has reached.

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce wishes AXIA Home Loan continued success in our community. They are located at 476394 Highway 95 in Ponderay, their office is inside the Pend Oreille Insurance office. For more information, contact Teresa with your mortgage needs at 208-263-1182, email at