When they’re out and about representing the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, Stefan Goldby and Jessica Perkins are performing another job one might not expect. They’re part-time gumshoe reporters.
“We’re not trying to replace journalism,” assures Goldby, the President and CEO of the chamber, which has been supplying a weekly newsletter to not only members, but the community at large. “But we’re proud to support it as a feeder for the (Kitsap) Sun and (Bainbridge) Review. We take some pride that some of the first people to open our newsletter each week are journalists.”
Goldby, who came to the chamber in 2020, revamped the newsletter in an attempt to connect more with chamber members and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vice President for Community Engagement Perkins has been on the job for about three months. They’re joined in the chamber’s Winslow Way office by Operations Manager tj Faddis. The facility also is home to a licensing desk, which provides vehicle and vessel licensing and disabled parking permits, and issues licenses and permits for Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Discover Pass for Washington State Parks.
The chamber’s membership is just over 500. Meanwhile, at last count, an estimated 2,200 businesses and households were receiving the dispatch each Tuesday. See their recent release!
They describe the newsletter as an attempt “to distill down what we have recently learned, heard, or been a part of to create a weekly digest of news you can use when it comes to Bainbridge businesses, and our wider island community.”
“It seemed like a quicker, easier way for us to keep our community up to date on things, particularly city meetings that are coming up that they might want to attend and give input,” Goldby says. “People might not go to the City Council, or Planning Commission unless they know in advance that something’s being covered that’s of interest to them. We can help with that."
“It’s like a digest, really,” he continued. “Like, ‘What have we heard that you need to know?’”
“When Stefan opened it up to the whole community, it just made it that much more useful,” Perkins adds. “Our biggest goal is to get more people to subscribe. It’s free, so why not?”
Goldby said he and Perkins spend “a full day each week” working directly on the newsletter. They take news nuggets they’ve culled from in-person meetings, emails, and phone conversations they’ve had with members, as well as press releases and other newsletters from a variety of area organizations.
They hit the Cyber Bricks, too.
“We look at a lot of web pages,” Perkins says. “It’s a lot, but it’s how we get much of what we use.”
Goldby adds “It’s more than that. Any time we’re out and about, we’re listening and looking for anything that might be of interest. In a way, we’re always working on it." Consequently, there is a ton of research to pound into the equivalent of one workday for two people.
Visit bainbridgechamber.com for more information and to receive the newsletter!