Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Newly-Formed Chamber Hopes to Revitalize Vian Economy, Tourism Opportunities

Members of Vian’s business community have come together to once again revive a Chamber of Commerce in the Lake Tenkiller-area town.

Callie Prier, president of the new Vian-Tenkiller Area Chamber of Commerce, said several business owners were brainstorming ways to revitalize the downtown economy and bring more visitors to the town.

“We were thinking of events and things we wanted to happen in downtown,” said Prier, who owns Morning Sky Boutique in downtown Vian. “We decided, ‘why don’t we just start a chamber of commerce?’ Everything we were already trying to do, that’s what a chamber does.”

Prier said it had been more than 10 years since the town had a Chamber, and that it had probably dwindled due to lack of manpower in overseeing the organization.

But Prier and many of the recently-elected board members are excited about the interest from a younger generation of business owners, along with veteran business owners with previous experience of being a chamber member.

Organized in July, the chamber has already elected a board, adopted bylaws and formed committees. Prier serves as president, vice president is Heather Choate, second vice president is Katie Napier, treasurer is Jessie Young and secretary is Patti Crabtree.

Prier said the group hopes to work closely with the Vian Lion’s Club for the annual Christmas parade, possibly planning an event in the park, and hopes to plan a clean-up day, raise funds to landscape walking trails and bike trails and recruit business along Interstate 40.

The group meets the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at Miss Lilly’s; next month’s meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 because of the Labor Day holiday. Dues are $30 for an individual; $100 for businesses.

You can catch details about upcoming events and plans on the Vian/Tenkiller Area Facebook page; a website is also in the works.

Prier said it’s great to see that generations of business owners are coming together for the good of the town.

“It’s exciting to see the young business owners with new energy coming back to downtown,” Prier said, adding that many who have been to the three meetings thus far have included people who also work on the city council and other organizations that do so much in the community already. “Everyone’s been super supportive. It’s nice to have support from other people.

As the name suggests, Prier said the group also hopes to pull in support from the Lake Tenkiller area and the entire county.

“We want to involve people from Gore, Sallisaw,” she said. “We hope to work together and get the whole community – and the whole county – as a destination place for tourism and send people from one community to the next.”

Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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