Replacing the regular Soldotna Chamber of Commerce (SCC) luncheon last week was an SCC Mixer hosted at St. Elias Brewing. President of the SCC board of directors Steve Manning of Wells Fargo explained, “The idea is to make things a little different and bring people that might not be able to attend a luncheon meeting while visiting a Chamber member’s place of business and it was nice for us to at a place that is so popular with folks in town,” he said. While there was no featured speaker at the event members took the opportunity to talk business and issues affecting local business this summer, “There is a lot happing this year from the local to the state level, so to provide an environment where people can mingle and discuss what’s happening in town is another reason for this mixer,” stated Manning. Working together is what’s needed according to Manning, “Anytime people can collaborate and work as a team in a community everybody is better off in the long run. So for us to mix and mingle and continue to interact at places of business around town creates a catalyst for new economy. The Frozen River Festival is an example that came out of mixers like this,” he said.
While the legislature wrestles with budget deficits and the low price of oil the outlook for the coming tourist season is predicted to be a record breaking year, “Tourism is definitely a bright spot in the economy, a lot of the visitor related businesses are booked up for the season and I’ve heard from a number of people that they are booked into the 2017 season already. So while there are a lot of negative headlines there are a lot of good things happening in the economy and those sectors provide a lot of jobs and revenue so it’s not all bad news,” he said Manning went on to say that those interested in capturing tourism business should check with the Soldotna Chamber, “We have an extensive list of member benefits that come along with membership and we have a staff that can go over those benefits and explain them and identify the benefits that provide value to any given business across all types of industries.”