Info just one commodity at visitor center | VailDaily.com
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Info just one commodity at visitor center

Kathy Heicher

The Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce recently gave the Eagle County Historical Society a $2,300 check. That money represents the final payment from over $8,000 worth of merchandise that was sold to guests at the Visitor Center during the 2003 season. The Visitor Center is located in Chambers Park, west of the Eagle Diner.

“This is a great way to support the local business community, and the Historical Society,” said Chamber Director Tim Cochrane. The Visitor Center, in addition to offering information about the community, has for the past couple of years been building up its merchandise inventory. Some of the for-sale items are typical tourist trinkets: small, affordable jewelry items; polished rocks; post cards; and books with a local focus.

Other items for sale include specialty merchandise from local businessmen: higher-end silver jewelry from Rich Deane Trading; wood items from Shamrock Woodworking; T-shirts from the Eagle Pharmacy; back-scratchers handcrafted by Eagle resident Jim Dunlap; home decorating items from Alpine Ambiance; locally made chocolates; and books from some local authors.

“We’re offering a lot more than information now,” says Cochrane, noting that locals might enjoy stopping in for a quick shopping trip. He says the Chamber is always looking for more retail items from local, home-based businesses.

About 30,000 people a year stop in at the center to ask questions, use the facilities, or simply to take a break from highway traveling. Many visit the adjacent Eagle County Historical Society Museum during their stop

The Center is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with more limited operations the rest of the year. Staff members field questions as diverse as requests for the mileage from Eagle to Las Vegas to curious questions about what makes the local community tick.

The operation of the Visitor Center reflects a partnership between the Chamber, the Town of Eagle, and some other agencies including the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and the Bureau of Land Management. The town is one of the major funding sources for the center, contributing about $20,000 annually, said Cochrane. The town recently upgraded the parking lot lights, and also takes care of the park grounds.

For the past year, the Chamber has made the Visitor Center its year-around headquarters. The sale of merchandise helps support that effort.

During winter months, the Visitor Center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 pm. Monday through Friday.

This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.


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