Chamber to sell beer at Gypsum Daze | VailDaily.com

Chamber to sell beer at Gypsum Daze

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Gypsum CO Colorado

GYPSUM, Colorado ” In a show of support for the financially troubled Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Gypsum, Colorado Town Council recently picked the chamber to man beer sales at this summer’s Gypsum Daze country music concert.

A majority of the proceeds from beer sales will flow to the chamber.

Although chamber officials have not pinpointed an exact fundraising goal, beer sales generated roughly $4,000 for the organization last year, chamber board chairman Steven Quiring, said.

“As far as events go, it’s one of our very best,” he said. “I thought it was very important that we got this. The board wanted to get this event. We want to do it successfully.

“Hopefully we can do it again next year, if we perform successfully, and I think we stand a good chance of paying off a majority of our debts with it.”

As the economy has spiraled into recession, the chamber has been grappling with unpaid membership fees, outstanding debts and the resignation of executive director Tim Cochrane, who has said he stepped down because the chamber could no longer afford his position.

A volunteer board has been meeting weekly to tackle those issues and plan for the future. The beer tent is among several fundraisers the group plans to offset its bills.

“As far as the future of the chamber goes, we are looking to continue what we’ve been doing, both to build our membership, and show the communities that we are here,” Quiring said. “We’re going to stick around. We’re not going anywhere.”

The chamber faced competition over beer sales from the Western Eagle Valley Rotary Club, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to local students.

Councilman Tom Edwards said he thought either group would do a good job with beer sales but he was leaning toward the chamber.

“The chamber has done this in the past and has counted this as one of their fund-raisers, and I think we’ve all read in the papers about the financial problems that the chamber’s had,” he said, noting the executive director’s resignation. “I would like to see us continue to support the chamber and see if they can work their way out of the situation that they’re in. I think it’s a down economy and it’s kind of a bad time to go away from the traditional support that we’ve given them.”

For roughly the past six years during Gypsum Daze, the chamber has been selling beer from a 5,000-square-foot fenced-in area outside the Gypsum recreation center, town manager Jeff Shroll said.

Previously, Gypsum officials awarded beer sales to the first group that talked to them about it, he said.

Because the fundraiser has become so successful, officials decided to ask competitors for this year’s beer sales to submit applications, he said.

John Geddes, the treasurer for the Rotary club, said the group applied to operate the beer tent because the economy has made it tough to solicit donations for the Rotary’s annual Eagle Flight Days run at the end of June. He had no qualms with council’s decision, though.

“I’m fine with it,” Geddes said. “I can see that they don’t want to take a fundraiser away from another nonprofit organization.”

Rotary members plan to discuss getting involved in a different aspect of Gypsum Daze, he said.

The chamber plans to sell beer and wine at Gypsum Daze for $5 per drink, Quiring said. Most of the proceeds will flow to the chamber, a nonprofit that promotes Eagle and Gypsum businesses through networking events, discounted advertising rates and a group health insurance plan.

Ten percent of the proceeds from beer sales will flow to the town, which will use the money to defray the cost of Gypsum Daze, Shroll said.

Expected to draw roughly 4,500 people, Gypsum Daze is set for July 17 and 18 at the Gypsum’s Lundgren Theater. Country musicians The Charlie Daniels Band and Little Big Town are performing, he said.

The event has been gaining momentum over the years.

“I think it’s just a way that the town kind of shows their appreciation to the residents and just kind of a community get-together to where people have an opportunity to get to know one another a little better,” Gypsum’s Mayor Pro Tem Richard Mayne said.