Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
RIVERSIDE - Businesses in Riverside now have an additional resource thanks to the newly formed Riverside Chamber of Commerce.
Rusty Rogerson, acting director, said one was originally formed 36 years ago and became the Riverside Area Community Club. The organization is responsible for the annual TrekFest celebration every year and shifted its focus to fundraising for the community.
Rogerson said the goal of the chamber will be geared more toward the businesses in town and being a resource for shop owners. He said after talking with local business owners he decided something needed to be done to help organize the nearly 60 businesses in town. So far, Rogerson has 45 businesses signed up to be members of the chamber.
He said the goal of the group will be to work with business owners to help them with grants for things like painting the outside of buildings and finding tenants to fill the vacant store fronts. He said a few years back, the city redid the sidewalks and street scape to make the town more appealing. Now, it's time for the businesses to step up.
'We want to make the businesses behind that fence look like they're viable,” he said. 'I want the chamber to work as a group of businesses for the betterment of the Riverside business economy and to continue improving downtown so it looks very attractive as people drive by.”
Rogerson said creating a social environment is also on the list of top priorities for the group. He said the chamber will have open house events featuring the different businesses in town that will encourage citizens to get to know the owners.
The first event the chamber is hosting will be a Christmas tree walk at Copper Creek Ridge, a new business in town. From 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22, citizens will be able to walk through the building and see a variety of Christmas trees on display. All trees were decorated by the local businesses in town and range from traditional decorations to more creative endeavors. The event is free and welcome to all ages he said.