Celebrating 120 Years with #ThinkLocalFirst Philosophy

For 120 years, the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce has worked to be a trusted resource for the community. On this milestone birthday, the Chamber asks residents to give the gift of shopping locally this holiday season.

“I think it’s incredible that the Chamber has lasted through the test of time,” says Chamber President Doug Jones. “The Chamber is dedicated to supporting and encouraging successful growth and development as a region. Now more than ever, our message is to think local first by finding a way to make your purchases in your community.”

As 2020 draws to a close, the Chamber is spearheading a cross-promotional initiative, the #ThinkLocalFirst Holiday Edition, to amplify their birthday wish and generate interest in unique local offerings. Understanding that shopping may be more challenging this year due to COVID-19, many businesses have developed online options to make purchasing locally even easier.

Celebrating 120 Years with #ThinkLocalFirst Philosophy

Accelerating Into the Future

Disruption has a way of switching change into high gear; the pandemic has seen many businesses digitalize in an effort to build greater resilience. Kootenay Association of Science and Technology (KAST) recently released the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) program to address the growing needs of Kootenay small-and-medium-sized businesses. It offers free personalized advisory services and coaching on entering or expanding into the digital economy.

“Historically, businesses and organizations in our region have always worked together; we’re very proud of our prosperous community,” says Jones. “The way I see it, as long as we have the right people leading our communities and businesses, we will continue to adapt and get out of this pandemic together.”

Shortly after joining the Chamber as a board member, Jones settled into his position as president in 2015. The Trail native has established his family and career in the region and is invested in its success. A former firefighter at Comino (Teck) for 30 years, Jones also served as the Local Steelworkers 480 Union president for 10 years. He’s pleased to be involved with the Chamber, originally known as the Board of Trade when it was registered on December 11, 1900.

History Repeating: Same Chamber, New Look

“I’m really invested in ensuring that the whole area thrives. I think that we live in a special place, and it’s in my blood to try and help out and be a part of the change that’ll keep us going for another 120-plus years,” he says.

In 1896, Frank Hanna, one of Trail’s founding fathers, assembled a meeting consisting of 45 people, including “the Father of Trail” Eugene Topping, who started the Board of Trade, according to Elsie G. Turnbull’s Topping’s Trail historical account. The result of that meeting was a decision to continue to meet every Monday night on “Matters pertaining to the health of the City and its protection from fire.” 

Photo credit: Trail Museum & Archives photo

That same year, the main goal was to develop a newsprint promotion featuring local businesses in the original Trail Creek News. The similar tactic the Trail Times, EZ Rock, and the Chamber are using today—120 years later—is testament to the culture of partnerships and local initiatives in the region.

In celebration of the organization’s 120th anniversary, the Chamber has revived its branding, releasing a polished logo and newly-branded website to reflect the level of professionalism and service the South Kootenay mainstay delivers.