Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Chamber partners on town business project


The Haines Chamber of Commerce has secured an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer to help identify obstacles to local businesses and potential strategies for addressing them.

The chamber, Chilkoot Indian Association and Haines Borough are partnering to participate in the state’s Division of Economic Development’s business retention and expansion program, which assists towns in identifying opportunities to improve the local business climate.

Chamber executive director Debra Schnabel said VISTA volunteer Keri Ewing will arrive in March and start interviewing businesses about the challenges they face in Haines.

Ewing has a master’s degree in sport management from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Western Oregon University. He has worked for Habitat for Humanity, the American Cancer Society, and as an English teacher in China and South Korea.

Schnabel said she chose Ewing out of a pool of about 15 applicants because of his passion for community development. He also has family connections in Haines and has visited several times, so he knows what he is getting into, she said.

Ewing’s volunteer position is for one year.

Once Ewing interviews local business owners, that information will be compiled and used to develop strategies for expanding existing businesses and creating new industries, Schnabel said. That’s where the chamber, borough and CIA will come in.


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