Sandra Thorn

Sandra Thorn

As we begin a new year, the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce continues to create new and more engaging opportunities for our members, while endeavoring to increase the visual appeal and welcoming atmosphere of our community.

The year 2018 brought changes to the way we deliver member services, including having quarterly general membership meetings instead of monthly, a move that allowed us to offer fun and educational workshops for the business community, such as “Marketing From the Cub” and “Social Media Spotlight: Putting Your Business Center Stage.” While we have received excellent feedback for offering these more substantive programs, we realized that a regular networking event was needed to keep people meeting and sharing. Our 3rd Friday Chamber Networking Breakfast debuted this month. This well-attended breakfast sponsored by Willee’s Café brought new people and energy to our community, with many expressing interest in sponsoring future events. The next 3rd Friday Chamber Networking Breakfast will be held on Friday, February 15, at 7:30 a.m. at Willee’s Café. Stay up to date about upcoming events and workshops by following the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.

Our Chamber is gearing up for our 41st Annual First Citizens Banquet and Awards Program on Monday, February 25, at 6:00 p.m. This event honors people and organizations within our community who have contributed to community welfare and development, both during the past year and over a lifetime. This year’s theme is “Looking at our Past, Present, and Future” and will feature past winners of scholarships and awards. Nomination forms for the awards can be found on our website at

Last month, the Winston Chamber launched a Holiday Decorating Contest for Businesses, another new event we will be coordinating every year. The Holiday Decorating Contest, focusing on businesses along Main Street and Highway 42 in Winston, was started by the Chamber to help create a more festive holiday season for residents and visitors to Winston. The contest will be expanded next year to include all businesses and will be open to residents as well. Winston Realty and Insurance took home the prize with a display featuring lights, wreaths, decorative wall hangings, a cheerful snowman, and a jolly Santa.

Also as part of our efforts to create a festive holiday season in Winston, the Chamber is looking at purchasing new holiday banners and light pole decorations, as well as replacing our Safari-themed, business-sponsored banners.

Summer seems far away, but the Chamber is already working to make Trader Days 2019 bigger and better than ever. Last year, we introduced Friday evening entertainment along with food, wine and beer. Vendors were pleased with the increased attendance, and we expect to grow the event, which will be held May 31 through June 2, even more this year.

If you are interested in helping to plan this event, or want to be a vendor, please contact Sandra at 541-425-0015 or

Sandra Thorn is the executive director of the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce.

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