Corvallis Business: Boys & Girls Fundraiser, Why Professional Networking Matters, A Final Answer to Main Street Question, Chamber Events

Let’s all welcome Keirra Woekel to the Office of Economic Development. This Oregon State University graduate in Applied Science formerly worked at Trillium Family Services. Woekel is a well needed new set of hands for the office which has been running one employee behind for a few months. We all look forward to seeing her magic in the many impressive projects Economic Development runs.   

Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser: The Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis does a remarkable amount of good for this community. Now, there’s a chance to give back to them. This is a chance to see what this group is doing as one of the top 15 employers in our area.  

The Club is having their 24th annual Celebrate Kids Breakfast. They have built what amounts to a small village for local kids which includes medical, dental, and mental health services; help with homework for the kids who need it; and practical business experience in the shape of a coffee shop for older kids.   

For 2022, the event has received a matching gift challenge from Julie Ringo Battaglia, the daughter of the late Bob and Kathy Ringo who were long-time residents in Corvallis. Ringo Battaglia has pledged $25,000 toward this year’s campaign to be matched dollar for dollar with your donations.   

Check here to see about having a bite of breakfast with the Boys & Girls Club, Thursday, September 22. Over 300 locals have already signed up, so here’s your chance to make that number surpass 400.  

Why Support Boys & Girls Club: One of the things the Club offers that could make the largest impact on our county as a whole is their Training Teens for Tomorrow program. This is a five-phase program The Boys & Girls Club offers area teens to prepare them for successful careers.   

Helen Higgins, Chief Executive Officer, said, “Part of what we’re doing for kids is helping them build their business and professional network, because everybody knows that it’s not necessarily what you know, it’s who you know. And the challenges of children coming out of poverty and populations of color – especially in Benton County – is helping them tap into and connect to a professional network.”   

Higgins went on to say that the importance of connecting kids to a local network has to do with keeping them here as adults. “We want to help them connect into a professional network in Benton County, because [we] want those young people to stay in this community. We desperately need our young people to stay and to enter our workforce.”  

Kate Porsche of the Economic Development Office agrees. “To me it’s about networking, it’s about getting involved in your community and whether that’s the Chamber [of Commerce] or the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance or whatever groups are out there, and doing the networking work to spread word and make the connections and get the support you need.”  

Who’s Gifting Who: A new business model that we can expect to see more of in 2023 is personalized gift services, and one company that’s doing that right is locally owned Bella Vino.  

Whether ordering a prearranged gift basket or one your business has custom built, from craft beers to Corvallis Made, these gift boxes are designed to impress customers and business partners. Their offerings can even be chosen specifically by who made the items included. The art of giving a well-timed, thoughtful gift can create the potential for a lasting memory and repeat business. And as we all know, local is better.  

To add to the charm of these services is the fact that this is a woman-owned, small business that grew right here in Corvallis. Check out Bella Vino here 

The Oregon Main Street Final Answer: The question of whether or not Corvallis is still “Main Street USA” member or not, and who will actually take the mantle when possible, has an even more definitive answer from the office of Sheri Stuart of Oregon Parks & Recreation Department’s Main Street Network.  

According to Stuart, “We hold the licensing agreement with the National Main Street Center/Main Street America and are the only entity authorized to designate main street communities in Oregon. While there isn’t a fee to participate in our Network, membership does not transfer from [one] organization to another (i.e., once DCA gave up their membership in our Network, Corvallis is no longer considered a network member). We would welcome an application from Corvallis if there is an entity that would like to participate. We re-vamped our tier structure and won’t be accepting main street track communities until later this year through a competitive application process.”  

Moving forward, the Economic Development Office – which will be applying for Main Street – and the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce – which has begun a committee focused on Downtown – will be working together to see how they mesh. However, the official application will be coming from the city.  

Chamber Events: Coming this week from the Chamber of Commerce…   

Tuesday, September 20, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. will find many businesspeople at Greeters. This week, it will be held at Linn-Benton Community College’s Chinook Hall, located at 931 NW Reiman Ave.   

Later on Tuesday, Lumina Hospice & Palliative Care will be offering a virtual workshop called Decluttering After Death from 12:00-1:00 p.m. An organizing specialist will discuss the best places to begin this task and important factors to keep in mind through this difficult process. Register for this event here.  

Wednesday, September 21, come on out for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Trivia, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Beer Place, located at 401 SW Jefferson Ave. Untangle the concept of Pay Equity as you help support CARDV and the Linn Benton NAACP. $5 donations are suggested, larger donations are welcomed. Register for this event here. 

On Thursday, September 22, join ABC House for two hours of online safety information. This virtual training runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and it covers the basics of how to keep your kids safe in the internet world. Click here for more information.  

Saturday, September 24, comes out and Walk to End Alzheimer’s with the rest of the Mid-Willamette Valley. The walk begins at 9:00 a.m. in Bruce Starker Arts Park, located at 4485 SW Country Club Dr. Click here for more information.  

By Sally K Lehman 

Do you have a story for The Advocate? Email