At the turn of the century, Pasco residents were just leaving behind the horse and buggy era and beginning to look to motor vehicles for transportation. Yet even then business visionaries were telling people to, "Keep your eye on Pasco."
One of the ways Pasco merchants and businessmen focused attention on their city was establishing the Pasco Chamber of Commerce in 1912.
"For 100 years the Pasco chamber has been a place to network. It's been good partners with the city, the school district, the port and a good advocate for the agribusiness industry. That's our base, that and transportation -- the railroad, airport and waterways," said Colin Hastings, chamber executive director.
To recognize the chamber's 100 years of service to the community, Hastings said plans are in the works for a yearlong celebration.
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Hastings, who was named executive director about three months ago, said, "Very few chamber directors step right into a centennial. It's been somewhat of a whirlwind, but the dust is settling, and we're looking forward to 2012."
The chamber's centennial committee already is making plans. In the works is a June 7 golf tournament at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Hastings is challenging fellow golfers to join him before the tournament for 82 holes of golf at Pasco Golf Land, then another 18 at Sun Willows.
"It's a fun, wildcard thing for those brave enough to face a hundred holes in one day," he said.
Another committee already is working on the chamber's annual Sunshine Ball on Sept. 22 at the Pasco Red Lion.
"We're making an effort to reach out to past chamber presidents, board members and volunteers through the years. Our goal is to get them all together as much as we can this year. Obviously, over the past 100 years some have passed on and others have moved away but there's still many of them around," Hastings said.
"I expect to hear some rich history and stories shared," he said.
Hastings said the chamber is using the centennial celebration as a launching pad to promote the Pasco Chamber. "We'll be offering extra benefits to members and prospective members too to entice them to join," he said.
He already has worked out deals with several businesses to help get money back into members' pockets.
For example, FedEx is giving Pasco chamber members discounts of up to 26 percent off shipping and up to 70 percent off freight. Husk Office Furniture & Supplies in Pasco is giving members a 20 percent discount on office supplies and Charter Business Services is offering a $100 discount on services.
"Pasco Chamber members can take advantage of one of those three or all of them right now, and we're hopeful of announcing more in the future," Hastings said.
"Obviously people have joined the chamber for networking, visibility, advocacy and because of the good things we do in the community. This is a way (for the chamber) to pay back to members," he said.
For more information on the chamber's centennial events, check Facebook or go to pasco-chamber/org.