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Chamber says only one map has its blessing

The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce is encouraging local businesses to purchase ads on a community map that will be distributed through a variety of local outlets.

At the same time, the chamber is urging ad buyers to beware and to support the officially designated map project.

“We are supporting a map project through Village Profile,” said PO Chamber Executive Director Coreen Haydock-Johnson. “We don’t care if businesses buy ads for other projects, but they need to understand there is only one that is official.”

Johnson said a company called United Metro had been contacting local businesses and selling ads for a “chamber-supported” map project.

She first heard about the venture in August, at which point she contacted the company and asked them to stop using its connection to the chamber to sell ads.

Johnson said she received a noncommittal response at the time, and subsequently heard that the ad sales effort was continuing.

A second call earlier this month extracted a promise to stop using the chamber’s name, even though the United Metro project will continue.

After Johnson’s second call to United Metro, the chamber issued a press release, cautioning businesses about United Metro and its local sales rep, Jessica Farrell.

“Several members have bought ads thinking they were supporting the Chamber map,” Johnson wrote. “They are in the process of canceling their ads, and I have insisted the company not charge a cancelation fee. Please call us if you have any problems or calls from this company or rep.”

Johnson said Monday she thought the company had received the message and will no longer represent the chamber.

The official chamber map, produced with Gig Harbor-based Village Profile, will have a detailed map of Port Orchard on one side and South Kitsap on the other.

The company plans to print 5,000 copies that will be available throughout the area, beginning in March.

The Village Profile map will have an online presence, which will allow advertisers to link to their web site or place an instant locator on the map that shows their business location.

Johnson said that any business or member of the public with doubts about whether an enterprise is sponsored by the chamber should call her at (360) 876-3505.

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