The Odessa Record -

Community-wide meeting requested by Odessa Chamber


The Odessa Chamber of Commerce, at its most recent meeting on January 10, held another lengthy discussion of its financial situation. As the Odessa Deutschesfest continues to decline in popularity, despite valiant efforts by the members of the Chamber board and those members who participate regularly in its meetings, the revenues of the Chamber continue to decline in lock-step. Last year, in fact, the Desert 100 hospitality tent made more money for the Chamber than did the Biergarten during Fest, according to Chamber president Zach Schafer.

Treasurer Larissa Zeiler reported a net loss in 2016 to the Chamber of over $10,000. As any business person knows, that situation must change. Putting on the Fest and establishing the commercial kitchen in the community center were the two main factors in the loss.

For the past several years, Chamber members have been brainstorming ways to revitalize the Fest and bring it back to a semblance at least of what it used to be in its early days, an attraction that drew thousands of people to town. That may be an impossible task today due to many different factors. Some have suggested coming up with a new idea and scrapping Fest all together. Others want to continue the Fest because of the ethnic heritage angle it represents.

The financial situation has become so critical, however, that the Chamber leadership has called a community-wide meeting to be held Sunday, January 29, at 2 p.m. in the community center. The entire community is invited to attend, and it is especially important to the Chamber board that all of the stakeholders in Fest be represented by someone who can speak for them. Those stakeholders include the all of the Odessa churches, other non-profit groups such as the Girls Scouts and Cub Scouts; school organizations such as FFA, FBLA, sports teams and the like; as well as for-profit businesses that benefit from the crowds that Fest still brings to town. Even those businesses that do not benefit directly from Fest are encouraged to attend, because the Chamber board is requesting input from everyone.

Talent Show

Two fifth-graders at P.C. Jantz Elementary School, Dakota Steward and Austin Read, have been working on a project to produce a talent show for local students in grades one through five. They attended the Chamber meeting along with school superintendent Dan Read to request donations of prizes for the top winners in the contest. The two boys had been actively recruiting people to perform in the show and currently had about 46 individuals competing in 42 different acts.

They plan to hold auditions later in January and then stage the show in early February in order to narrow the field down to about 20 acts.Three members of the senior class at Odessa High School have also been recruited to be the judges of the talent show during the auditions and later on during the show itself.

The voting members agreed to support the efforts of the school children, and several made their donations toward the awarding of prizes right then and there.

Odessa Community Float

Amy and Kevin Schaeffer have agreed to chair the float committee for the 2017 season of parades in various communities throughout eastern Washington. They will be responsible for choosing a theme (with input from Miss Odessa and any princesses), decorating the float (with help from the girls, their parents and any volunteers who wish to help), developing a schedule of which parades to enter and arranging for drivers to take the float to different venues.

Not considered part of their duties will be the organization of a pageant to select Miss Odessa, should there be more than one young lady interested in the position. A volunteer is needed to chair a committee charged with putting on and publicizing a Miss Odessa pageant.

The trailer that is used to deliver the float to its different venues is currently at the Odessa Industrial Park, where Landon Lobe of LL Customs has his auto body business. Once the weather imrpoves, he will finish the job of installing the advertising signs purchased by Odessa businesses for the trailer. The vinyl signs do not adhere well when temperatures are too cold.

Desert 100

Also needed urgently is a chairman for the hospitality tent at the upcoming Desert 100 race weekend April 1 and 2. The event has been chaired for the past few years by Marlon Schafer, but he has his hands full making sure that the site’s WI-FI systems are working properly. He cannot do both the organizing of the event, he says, and the business end of making sure his equipment is set up and providing the kind of service he wants to provide at the race site.

Anyone interested in volunteering to chair the committee or helping to organize the schedule for service within the tent is asked to contact Zach Schafer at 509-279-9870.

Election of Officers

By voice vote, the members present at the January 10 meeting elected the following slate of officers for 2017:

President: Zach Schafer

Vice Pres .: Norm Ott

Secretary: Mo Sheldon

Treasurer: Larissa Zeiler

At-large board members: Lise Ott, Jennifer Martin

Biergarten chair: Volunteer needed.

New Odessa business

Pig Pen Cleaning Service, owned by Amy Schaefer, is the newest business to be established in the town of Odessa.


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