Guests started arriving for the July 14th chamber luncheon at Kanab Center just before 11:30 AM. Torrey Cluett, Kanab Center Coordinator, and Julie Lee, Kanab Center Assistant, were on hand to make sure everything was ready to go. Tables and chairs with clean black tablecloths set a professional tone. The folks at Kanab Center do good work!
Lunch for the meeting was provided by Wild Thyme Café, and included a delicious array of fresh salads, hand-prepared and ready to eat with home-made dressing and individual portions of chicken on the side for those who wanted it. Cookies and ice-cold water rounded out the luncheon menu.
Chamber board members Pat Guerrero, Ron Thomas, Matt Claflin, and Don Jennings were all on hand for the event. Businesses and organizations at the meeting included Best Friends Animal Society, Best Friends Roadhouse & Mercantile, Burro Flats High Desert Lodge, Datalogiq360, Desert Air Heating & Cooling, H&C Development, Juice Plus, City of Kanab, Kanab Tour Company, Kane County, Kane County Hospital, Kane County Water Conservancy District, Mountain America Credit Union, Parry Lodge, Realty ONE, The Cut Scene, Flybook, TURN Community Services, Zion Cycles, and Zion Guide Hub. About 35 people were in attendance – a great turnout!
Pat Guerrero said a few words of welcome as folks were collecting their food, noting that Parry Lodge, H&C Development, and Taro Coffee Bar had joined the chamber since the last meeting. She then introduced Camille Johnson Taylor, Executive Director of the Kane County Office of Tourism as our first guest speaker.
Camille spoke at length about tourism and its impact on the local economy, outlining the office’s efforts over the last several years to maximize outcomes in the face of the pandemic. These efforts include targeted advertising in markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and the Wasatch Front, as well as marketing campaigns focused on enjoying and maintaining the area’s unique features. She noted that since coming on board with the tourism office grant revenue had increased from roughly $200K to $1.5M, funding programs, services, and marketing to support economic development in the county. Of particular note were her comments on expanding tourism during the "shoulder seasons."
"When you spread out visitation you have more businesses that can remain open and keep employees year-round, so there's more sustainable income for Kanab households. We're looking for quality visitors that connect with our locals, have a connected experience, and want to come back and bring their friends and families."
County Commissioner Wade Heaton started off his comments by announcing that Kane County is joining the Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce as a sponsor member! Listings for the county’s departments and services will now be included in the chamber’s business directory at kanabchamber.org. “I want to thank the chamber for all that they do,” he said, adding, “we’re really looking forward to working with you in the future."
Wade then spoke about his feelings for the county and the people who live here.
“I’m not a glass-half-empty kind of guy. It’s easy to only focus on things that need to be fixed and improved, and the danger in that is we start to think there are only problems out there. We get so concerned about the broken limbs on the trees that we can’t step back and see the forest. Take a moment to look at where we live… this is a wonderful place with wonderful people.”
Commenting on the challenges of governing through change, he added, “It’s an interesting time to be an elected official. I’d ask that if you interact with someone in government at the county or city or service district level, take time to consider their role. Consider them as a person. I know that this county is filled with humble, kind, and good people. It’s what Kane County does best, and we should reflect that.”
Camille's and Wade’s comments were informative and warmly received. A community celebrating shared progress is a community embracing a hopeful future.
The next chamber luncheon will be held at Houston’s Trail’s End on August 14th from 11:30 – 1:00, where we’ll be hearing from Mayor Colton Johnson about the state of the city. Save the date!