Sitting at his desk inside the White Pine Chamber of Commerce, Wayne Cameron takes a second to breathe and enjoy the brief silence of the room before the phone begins to ring. It is a rare moment of rest for the Executive Director of the Chamber, but Cameron wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My favorite part of my job is talking to people,” he said.
As the Executive Director of the White Pine Chamber of Commerce, it is Cameron’s job to promote local businesses as well as the city itself. It’s a broad job description that somedays means telling tourists about all the things to do and see in town while other times means helping coordinate and run events, such as three First Fridays held this summer.
“I enjoy what I do,” Cameron said. “Somedays I’ll have a constant stream of tourists coming through, filling up my office just to ask questions about Ely. I love meeting people and telling them about what we have here.”
The main way the Chamber of Commerce works with businesses in town is through its membership options. Set up as tiers, the chamber partners with different size stores, or even corporate entities, to give them the most prominent promotion, as well as discounted rates to attend events around town. At the chambers most recent board meeting, both Plush Gift Shop and The Pizza Factory were voted into becoming the latest chamber members.
Though there is a fee to become a member, Cameron said that perks that come along with a membership are well worth it.
“We are in the process of getting a complete website redesign. Once that is finished, chamber members will be able to directly link to their businesses website,” the Executive Director said.
The chamber doesn’t just take money in either, it also spits it back out, in the form of its own currency, chamber bucks. Acting almost like a gift card to local stores, chamber bucks are accepted at 25 different locations between Ely and McGill.
“We often times give them away as prizes for raffles at events, though we actually have businesses buy them as well to give to their employees as gifts,” Cameron said. “The idea is to keep the money locally and get people to go into local businesses to shop.
The idea for chamber bucks came about from Elko, whose chamber of commerce distributed “chamber checks” that only worked in Elko. When residents of Ely would win chamber checks, it meant they would have to make the drive to Elko to redeem them, something that Cameron wanted to simplify by starting a similar system in Ely.
For more information on how to become a member of the White Pine Chamber of Commerce, purchase chamber bucks, or any upcoming events in Ely, contact Cameron at 775-289-8877