Message from the Lacey Chamber President


By Jerry Farmer, 94.5 ROXY, Chamber President

Fifty Years. That’s how long the Lacey Chamber has been going strong. Through thick and thin, numerous bubbles, downturns, recessions, and booms; the Lacey Chamber has been a continuing and consistent advocate for business in our community. Our motto, “Your Premier Business Resource,” resonates today as much as ever.


The world has changed a lot since 1961.  For one thing, gas is no longer 31 cents a gallon. Back then, cigarettes used to be cheaper than cigarette lighters. And all our phones were harnessed directly to wall outlets. No one had ever heard of a beeper, much less a smartphone. The really techno-fortunate folk were lucky if they didn’t have a party line. (For you younger members, “party lines” were not social networking apps to promote flashmobs at a local hangout, you actually shared a phone line with your neighbors.)


Hearing about your juicy neighborhood gossip was easier than an FBI phone tap.


The Lacey Chamber has always understood that small business helps build communities. Fifty years ago, Lacey wasn’t even an incorporated city yet—that wouldn’t come until 1966. South Sound Center, which really put Lacey business on the map and was one of the first covered shopping malls in the country, wouldn’t be constructed by Bob Blume until 1966 either. Back then, folks had the primitive notion that having a roof to protect against the rain as you strolled from shop to shop was a good idea. The weather-ignoring concept of isolated big box stores was still a dream of the fledgling northwest umbrella industry.


Many of our local business icons had yet to be. If you can believe it, Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor hadn’t come to town. That wouldn’t happen until 11 years later, in 1972, when Dirty himself and a punk 19-year-old kid from Redlands, California, would serve up the first cashew-encrusted pizza. That punk kid was me, and I have been energized by the Lacey business community ever since. It has given me enormous opportunity and the environment in which that opportunity can be realized and thrive.


We have the entrepreneurial spirit in Lacey and are proud of it. Big brother Olympia always looked a little askance at our brashness. But hey, us little brothers know how to get attention and get things done. And we grow up.


We may struggle for identity, but that struggle makes us stronger, our insights keener, and sharpens our skills to make the best of lean times too. We appreciate how to have a little fun while we’re doing it.


So make sure and come to our Forum on April 6 and enjoy a little of that energy and fun. (Make your reservation online to save money.) Our featured speaker will be Ken Balsley, who’ll be giving us a great presentation on the history of the Lacey Chamber, which is the focus of our soon-to-be-released 50th anniversary edition of our Community Resource Guide.  Ken is our official Chamber historian, and he knows his stuff and how to deliver it in a memorable manner. My hope is we’ll learn a little more about how we came to be what we are and how those things can make our future even better.


The more things change, the more they stay the same. The principles of our organization¾to come together and network, to promote growth and opportunity, and to advocate for small business; the driving force of a healthy economy and community¾are still vital and important. 

We are fifty years young. And fifty years strong. From the Great Generation to Boomers to Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Wired, The Lacey Chamber is as energetic and committed to being your premier business resource as ever.

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