Chamber gets new director

The Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Board named Vicki Graham as its new executive director on July 15.

Graham previously worked for four years as the chamber’s events coordinator. She was named interim director after former director Miranda Hoppock resigned in June.

Graham said her plan to take on the economic effects of COVID-19 is to promote and back local business.

“We’re gonna make it through this,” she said. “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to take care of our members off island.”

One of the biggest challenges was getting used to working from home, she said.

In past summers, she said the chamber was knee-deep in facilitating events, parades and carnivals, but most events are canceled this year.

“Trying to get used to no events has been a little challenging,” she said.

“We’ve turned it around and started sinking everything into the Island recovery, the CARES Act, anything we can do to keep our businesses up and running.”

For example, the chamber posted a Facebook video promoting “shop local.” She said the chamber is now organizing a bingo game with local businesses on the cards.

Once a shopper gets “bingo,” they can submit their card into a raffle for a $75 visa card.

“They can put that money back into the community as well,” she said.

The chamber is also partnering with the Main Street Association to host open air Thursdays starting Aug. 6.

Restaurants would offer seating outside in the parking lots.

The chamber is monitoring pandemic instructions from the governor’s office and Island County meetings to ensure it has up-to-date information on COVID-19 guidelines.

The chamber was approved for $10,000 in CARES funding by the Oak Harbor City Council.