Chamber moves to where the tourists are

In an effort to be closer to tourists, the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce is moving to a new location.

By the time the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival comes around the first weekend of August, the chamber office and visitor’s information center will operate out of its new location in Mariner’s Court on historic Front Street.

Volunteers are already busy packing up the current center located in Coupe’s Village on South Main Street.

“The visitor’s information center needs to be more visible and in an area where most of the tourists go,” said Linda Eccles, executive director for the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce. She added the new space, which is located in the former home of A Touch of Dutch, is also cheaper than its current location.

Chamber President Sue Cunningham attended Tuesdays Coupeville Town Council meeting looking for help with the move.

She said the chamber needs town help in providing parking and improving the signs directing people to the new visitor’s center.

The chamber requested two parking spots on the east side of Alexander Street assigned as 15-minute or visitor information center parking.

Mayor Nancy Conard said a loading area on Alexander could be reconfigured into parking spaces.

Cunningham said the chamber sign on Highway 20 will be changed but she wants additional signs on the roads that enter into town to direct people to Front Street.

Conard said staff will push to have the signs and parking spots ready before the chamber completes its move.

Council members questioned what the business community thinks of the visitor’s information center move. Conard responded that the downtown business owners generally are thrilled.

Those sentiments were echoed by Çouncilwoman Dianne Binder, who also owns a bed and breakfast near Front Street.

“I think it’s a long time coming to move the visitor’s information center downtown,” Binder said.

Eccles described the move as a “win win.” The chamber is moving into a better position while reducing costs at the same time.

She said the chamber will try to continue a presence on the south side of town by having some kind of rack in one of the businesses. Ideally, she would like to see a trailer similar to the WOW wagon the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce operates near the Deception Pass Bridge.

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