Having moved to the Shelton, Washington area on April Fool's Day 2017 knowing no one and having no job, or real plan (other than trying to find a way to put my internet and language skills to use promoting things I truly believe in) ,I knew I needed to find a way to connect with the community and meet the people who were going to be my neighbors, and hopefully clients.

My experience with the Rockport, Texas Chamber of Commerce way back in 2000 (I'm still a member even though we moved away several years ago) taught me that a relationship with a good chamber of commerce is the single best investment a new business, or resident for that matter, can make. I hoped the Shelton-Mason County Chamber would be an organization of similar quality.

Shelton Chamber of Commerce Exterior

Shelton/Mason County Chamber office on Railroad St.

On my first visit, I was greeted by Heidi McCutcheon, the executive director. I was struck by both the attentiveness of her listening skills and her readiness with answers and helpful suggestions. She made me aware of most of the benefits of membership and the costs and payment options. She also gave me an overview of some of the new things happening in the business community. You could tell she was genuinely interested in helping to promote the local economy and general welfare of the community where she was born and raised.

On my second visit to the Chamber office I was greeted by Deidre Peterson, the membership director. She is a Shelton native daughter as well and is equally attentive in listening and ready with answers and suggestions. One impression I got was of high energy. She seemed to be almost bursting with the desire to be helpful and showed me several local organizations that I might have an interest in contacting to introduce myself and my services. So far, things were looking quite promising.

I attended my first chamber networking opportunity at a business after hours mixer at Exceptional Foresters, Inc., an organization that assists people with special needs in finding employment and helps them achieve lives as independent as their particular challenges permit. The event had lots and lots of people from local businesses, organizations and government and I was a bit taken aback, not knowing who to approach and fearing my  large, hairy, sasquatch-like appearance may be off-putting to the local townsfolk.

I was relieved when Heidi walked over to the wall with which I was merging and began casually chatting with me, thus letting it be seen that I was a generally amiable and approachable person, despite the rough exterior. She introduced me to my chamber "ambassador", Carrie Lemmon of the United Way in Shelton and the rest of the evening was spent visitng with Carrie and easing in and out of conversations as the spirit moved me at any moment.  To summarize, it was a successful debut outing.

Overall, some adjectives that convey my impression of both ladies at the chamber office are: sharp, engaged, invested, enthusiastic and committed. I feel my memberhsip dues have been invested wisely and look forward to discovering what more this new relationship will bring.

For more information about the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce, visit their website at http://www.sheltonchamber.org/

Contact Info:

Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce

PO Box 2389
215 W Railroad Ave
Shelton, WA 98584

(360) 426-2021 local
(800) 576-2021 toll free
(360) 426-8678 fax