It's no secret that new Chamber of Commerce President Paul Beatie loves living in Ferndale. But here's how Beatie, owner of Ferndale Music Company and The Old Steeple, thinks we can work together to make our special town even better.
Dear Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and Community Members:
I am honored and humbled by the call to serve our community as your newly elected Ferndale Chamber of Commerce President. I’d like to publicly thank our past president (of 17 years), Karen Pingitore, for her stewardship and for passing on the organization in such great shape, as well as my fellow chamber board members—all active members of the community with whom I am proud to be serving.
In college I chose to pursue my degree in economics because I like thinking about why people make the choices they do. I know why I made the choice to come to Ferndale, and I believe most who have chosen to settle here would say the same: we want to live in a safe place and be part of something inspiring.
I think it’s important to acknowledge how special and truly unique of a place Ferndale is. Sure, like any town, we have our share of issues, disagreements and missteps. Yet we have something most do not. We have a real community where regular folks step up, get involved and make a difference every day. I think that in most of the country and world, this is on the decline. While tourists are impressed with our architecture and our friendly and engaging cast of characters, what they really fall in love with is the feeling of community they experience here. I believe that is our biggest treasure and hope that, together, its something we can work to preserve and strengthen.
Recently the chamber launched a new and dynamic website, VisitFerndale.com, thanks to the tireless energy of my wife and business partner, Cheri March, and fellow chamber board members Julie Kreitzer and Martin Tubb—as well as priceless feedback from former board member Lowell Daniels.
We approached the website project with a few things in mind. First, we wanted the website to do the job of a visitor’s bureau as well as a chamber of commerce. Second, we saw the need for a website that would function and display well on mobile devices (more than half of our website traffic is on mobile devices and tablets). Finally, we developed a mission statement for what we wanted the website to accomplish: With an expanded website and marketing vision, we aim to inspire a more diverse demographic of tourists to discover the magic of Ferndale and to improve the perception of Ferndale in Humboldt County.
As we move forward, I believe this mission statement can be applied to the Chamber of Commerce as a whole. This is an exciting time for Ferndale, as we are faced with change, challenges, and opportunities. Where some may see empty storefronts, I see room for exciting new ventures. Where some may see division, I see the potential to find unity. What will make it possible is our ability to work together. Let’s acknowledge our differences, but embrace what we have in common: a genuine love for our village. It is vital that we come together to keep our wonderful town beautiful and prosperous.
What can we do?
See empty storefronts as opportunities. I call on everyone to think about what types of businesses you’d like to see on Main Street. Think about your passions and your connections. Ferndale is, I believe, the perfect venue to share your dreams. Be authentic, and the town will support you. Maybe now is the time to take a leap!
Know that lodging occupancy benefits everyone. It’s a matter of cause and effect: If we focus on growing lodging traffic, all other businesses will benefit—especially in the off-season. Overnight tourists dine, shop and seek entertainment, and that benefits all of us. There is room for our occupancy rates to grow, and this is something that I feel the Chamber of Commerce can accomplish.
Become a destination marketing organization. The Redwoods are a world destination and I believe that Ferndale should be THE place to stay and experience when traveling to the Redwoods. We have many tourists from across the country and world. How many people around the globe are dreaming of experiencing the Redwoods right now? Ferndale can be synonymous with those dreams!
From our family-run dairies to Main Street merchants, from young families to relocated retirees, from established industries to emerging economies, we must all rely on each other to succeed.
Each of us can help Ferndale in our own unique ways. We can all make contributions to the overall quality of our community, and our acts—no matter how big or small—will benefit us all. Pick up a piece of trash or pick up a paintbrush. Pull up a weed and scoop some dog poop! Share promotional posts on Facebook and Instagram. Use the hashtags #VisitFerndale or #FerndaleCA. Help distribute the Ferndale Enterprise Souvenir Edition. Come to Chamber of Commerce meetings.
It might sound obvious, but I think it’s worth stating: Think about what business can be conducted in our village before traveling elsewhere. Every local purchase of daily goods, services or gifts, every time we choose to dine in a Ferndale restaurant, every time we help find lodging for friends or visiting relatives, we are boosting our economy and helping our neighbors prosper.
Thank you for your time!
President, Ferndale Chamber of Commerce