Chamber events aim to attract business, visitors

The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce is planning two events meant to raise the city's business and tourism visibility, respectively.

The annual business showcase, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 29 at the Port Orchard Armory, will for the first time held in the evening hours. This, according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Coreen Haydock Johnson, will allow greater public participation.

"We've been trying to get more people involved in the business showcase," Johnson said. "A lot of the interaction will be business to business and networking, but we also want to let the public know what kinds of goods and services are available. There are a lot of businesses that people don’t know about, because they are located in less-convenient locations."

Additionally, the Street Scramble is intended to draw people from throughout the region to participate in a value-added local treasure hunt that is intended to provide an up-close glimpse of the community.

Street Scramble will take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 28, and will be held in conjunction with Fathoms o'Fun.

Street Scrambles are held in several locations, and sponsored by an an independent organization (one is scheduled for Gig Harbor this weekend).

As part of the "game," participants are given a map with 30 obscure landmarks and are scored on their ability to find and visit each one within a prescribed time period.

The event is part of a regional tournament, with some players traveling long distances to different places to seek a cumulative score. For this reason, Johnson said it would attract new visitors to Port Orchard.

It will cost $5 to participate in the Street Scramble. Johnson said she hoped to attract 100 participants, adding, "I would be thrilled if we could get more than that."

The Street Scramble is sponsored by Harrison Medical Center and the Port Orchard Independent.

Johnson is hoping to land a third sponsor, which would support the manufacturing of event-based T-shirts.

Johnson said the chamber is still recruiting businesses to participate in next week’s showcase. For $100 for members and $200 for non-members, businesses can set up a table that explains their products and services.

The event will also be held in conjunction with the bestowing of the annual “Best of South Kitsap” awards.

Johnson is optimistic about Port Orchard’s business climate, although she wishes that certain services were available.

There aren't very many places to buy quality clothes and shoes, along with a maritime/boating goods outlet.

Additionally, she would like to see a small market or grocery store in the downtown region.

In the positive column, she is pleased to see several high-quality restaurants opening up recently.

"I am very pleased about this trend," she said.

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