Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Important News for You
Lodging & Hospitality Grants Open March 14th
$100 million available to support businesses affected by pandemic
The Washington State Department of Commerce announced a new grant opportunity for businesses in the hospitality and lodging industry that suffered business losses due to the pandemic. The application portal opens on March 14 at wahospitalitygrants.com.

An informational webinar is scheduled for Monday, March 13. For questions, email info@wahospitalitygrants.com.

“While some of our small businesses are starting to recover and rebuild in the wake of a global pandemic, more continue to face historic challenges,” said Chris Green, Assistant Director of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. “The hospitality and lodging industry is an essential part of our economy and these grants will help affected businesses across the state recover from public health concerns that disrupted their operations for the last three years.”

The $100 million in grants was provided to the Department of Commerce through the Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which was part of the federal American Rescue Plan. Of the amount provided, $15 million has been set aside expressly to reimburse qualifying lodging establishments that experienced economic losses during the state’s eviction moratorium under the governor’s proclamations.

The grants are targeted primarily for small businesses with $5 million or less in annual gross receipts or sales within designated NAICS codes. If Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants from the target pool, and funds remain, Commerce may be able to provide grants to additional businesses who have annual gross receipts or sales larger than $5 million.
Chamber News
Check out and like the
Greater Kitsap Chamber Facebook pages!
Chamber Luncheon
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 11:00 am
Bremerton GreenDrinks
Thursday, March 9, 2023, 5:00 pm
Join us for Bremerton Greendrinks at the Kitsap Conference Center where they're teaming up with Peninsula Dance Theatre to share a bit about one of our community nonprofits!

Peninsula Dance Theatre is committed to developing young artists and enhancing our community by producing and providing frequent access to high-quality live dance performances.

So get ready to MIX, ENGAGE, REPEAT. But don't forget to bring those business cards and don't forget your glass (we want to be green). This is a 21-and-over event, where we welcome everyone to meet new people and make new connections in Bremerton.

Get your tickets now. Space is limited!

GreenDrinks is a monthly, social networking event for community leaders, concerned citizens, elected officials, business professionals and anyone who wants to make Bremerton a thriving, sustainable community. This event is for adults only (age 21 and older). $15 helps to offset the costs of food and drink.

Advance tickets are available at Eventbrite. Tickets at the door are $20.

Don’t forget to keep the green in GreenDrinks by bringing your own cup!
Renew your membership today to ensure your place as a Charter Member of the Greater Kitsap Chamber! Questions about when to renew or how to upgrade your membership? Contact Irene now!
Missed a previous edition of the Chamber's Community Connections?
View all the past issues on our website HERE.
Member News
New Members - Welcome to the Chamber!
New Members & Renewals for February
Thank you for your support of the Chamber!
Marina Square Celebrates with Open House
Port Commissioner Cary Bozeman Honored
Long-time Chamber members, Sound West Group, celebrated the opening of Marina Square in downtown Bremerton last week with their grand opening and open house. Recognized at the event was Bremerton Port Commissioner and former Mayor of Bremerton, Cary Bozeman, for his ardent support of the waterfront's development. The plaza between Marina Square's two building will be named "Cary Bozeman Place" in his honor. Bozeman also currently serves on the Greater Kitsap Chamber Board of Directors. Pictured, L & R: President & CEO of Sound West Group, Wes Larson and City of Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler. Center: Commissioner Cary Bozeman, Port of Bremerton CEO Jim Rothlin, and Port Commissioners Axel Strakeljahn and Gary Anderson.
Bremerton Names New Superintendent
Dr. Crawford is a 1998 Bremerton High School Graduate
Published in the Kitsap Sun, March 3, 2023

Dr. James Crawford is returning home.

Bremerton's school board on Friday unanimously approved a vote naming Crawford as the school district's new superintendent. He is a 1998 Bremerton High School graduate who attended elementary and middle schools in Bremerton.

Crawford's hiring is dependent on the negotiation of a contract and a complete background check. The expectation is that Crawford would begin work in the district on July 1, 2023.

Leadership Kitsap Application Now Open
Deadline to Apply: April 3, 2023
Join the Class of 2024 during Leadership Kitsap's 30th year anniversary!

Leadership Kitsap Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 by community leaders, the Kitsap County Chambers of Commerce, and the United Way of Kitsap County. The mission of Leadership Kitsap is to promote informed and committed civic volunteerism. The 10-month long curriculum is designed to help participants acquire both a fuller sense of the critical issues affecting Kitsap County, and the leadership skills necessary to motivate and engage others in collaborative efforts to resolve them.

Leadership Kitsap class participants are selected through a competitive screening/interview process conducted by the Leadership Kitsap Foundation’s Board of Directors. Individuals will be chosen based on the following criteria: (1) commitment to civic involvement in Kitsap County, (2) potential for community leadership, and (3) professional and personal achievement.
Early Bird Registration Now Open
Thursday, March 30, 2023, 11:30 am
BNI Pacific Northwest
Helping Chamber Members Grow Their Community
Member Spotlight
West Sound Workforce
West Sound Workforce is a professional placement and staffing service established in 1998 by Julie Tappero and currently owned and operated by Monica Blackwood. West Sound Workforce is a woman-owned small business certified by Washington State as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).

Our company is locally owned and connects job seekers and employers in the South Sound and Kitsap Peninsula, including Kent, Federal Way, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Port Ludlow, Port Townsend, and more from our Poulsbo and Gig Harbor offices.

Chamber members for nearly 24 years, West Sound Workforce believes that promoting local employment for all individuals is essential for people and businesses alike and benefits our communities as a whole.
18819 3rd Ave, Ste. 110 | Poulsbo, WA 98370 | (360) 394-1662
5790 Soundview Drive | Gig Harbor, WA 98335 | (253) 853-3633
Advocacy Committee
Weekly Legislative Updates
2023 Session: Week 8 Report
As an exclusive benefit to our paid membership, the Greater Kitsap Chamber has again enlisted the services of Brad Boswell and team from Boswell Consulting to provide weekly legislative updates during the 2023 legislative session. Brad will also host a monthly Q&A on the last Friday of each month via Zoom to answer your questions directly.
23rd Legislative District In-Person Town Halls
Saturday, March 11, 2023, 10:00 am & 1:30 pm
Senator Emily Randall Hosts Virtual Town Hall
Saturday, March 11, 2023, 12:00 pm
In-person town halls will also be offered on March 18th at four locations:

📍 Bremerton: 9-10 a.m. at Olympic College 
📍 Port Orchard: 12-1 p.m. at South Kitsap High School 
📍 Gig Harbor: 2-3 p.m. at Swift Water Elementary School 
📍 Key Peninsula: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Long Branch Improvement Club
Education Committee
Member Education & Training Resources
Small Business Cybersecurity Training Series
Small businesses are under cyber and data-breach attacks more than ever given the current climate. Cyber attacks happen every day, and for a small business they can be very costly and cripple business operations. Having your systems and information compromised is not only a direct threat to your confidential data, it can also ruin your relationships with customers and cause legal vulnerability. It is imperative to learn how to boost your cyber defense systems.

This four-part training series was developed to help small businesses be cyber safe. The series will be a combination of cybersecurity presentation, subject matter expert panel and Q&A. Join us and become cyber safe today!
Part 1: Protection
March 7 | 10:30 a.m.

Part 3: Systems
April 4 | 10:30 a.m.
Part 2: Authentication
March 21 | 10:30 a.m.

Part 4: Implementation
April 18 | 10:30 a.m.
SCORE: LinkedIn Marketing Essentials
Wednesday, March 8, 2023, 9:00 am
LinkedIn is the Number One B2B social media platform with over 740 million users. Using LinkedIn for networking yourself and your business is fundamental if your business is selling to other businesses. This workshop will not only help you to use LinkedIn effectively and efficiently, but also drive your brand recognition sales.

If your company is selling your products or services to other businesses, this workshop is definitely for you! This workshop will provide you the tools, skills and knowledge to use LinkedIn for growing your business. It will provide you strategies on how to create a successful LinkedIn page for your business to do the following:

  1. Create a company page
  2. Post relevant and engaging content
  3. Make your company's name known
  4. Add LinkedIn groups to your page
  5. Tag people in your posts
  6. Use LinkedIn hashtags

The workshop will then dive into how to expand your network systematically to reach a broader audience to help you drive your sales. Lastly, you will learn the pros and cons of paying for a LinkedIn subscription and getting the most out of your subscription if you choose to do so.

Workshop Fee: $40
How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in People
Thursday, March 9, 2023, 8:30 am
"Leading Through Argument Culture"
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Join Leadership Kitsap and Greg Abell, Principal at Sound Options Group, for a full day of communication training. Participants will learn how to design, implement, and facilitate conversations of shared learning in our community.

While participants will learn what Argument Culture is, they will also be able to apply this design, implementation, and facilitation technique to any conversation they wish.

The idea behind this workshop is using public discourse (where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action), to our advantage, learning how to guide those discussions into productive and successful actions.

Seating is limited!
Military Relations Committee
RECAP: 2023 Military Appreciation Day
Thank you to the many businesses and nonprofits that joined us on Saturday for the 2023 Military Appreciation Day event at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion. Nearly 1,000 community members were welcomed in from the cold and spent the afternoon learning all about what Kitsap has to offer. Special thanks to our title sponsor, Gesa Credit Union, as well as all of our sponsors and donors listed below. Stay tuned on the GKC Facebook page and YouTube channel for more pictures of the event and be sure to save-the-date for next year: Saturday, March 2, 2024!
Business News & Resources
$1.5 Million in New Grants to Support
LGBTQ+ Owned and Allied Restaurants
Applications Open March 15th
The GSBA is excited to announce that applications will open on March 15 for a series of grants for local businesses celebrating LGBTQ & Allied business resilience as part of the return of the NGLCC Community Impact Grant Program in 2023, in partnership with GSBA and supported by the Grubhub Community Fund.

The grants are expected to range from $10,000 to $25,000 and funds can be used for things like updating security and security protocols, updating/purchasing new equipment, community involvement, marketing and PR services, updating digital/e-commerce presence, purchasing product, staff training programs, employee pay and/or staff incentivized wages, COVID-19 recovery, and maintenance/updating of current infrastructure, etc.

This round of grant applications will close in June.

For more information on the Community Impact Grant Program regarding restaurant eligibility requirements, timelines, how to apply, and more, please visit nglcc.org/ghgrant.
Small Business Disaster Relief Grants
Applications Due March 31st
Commerce has $9.7 million available for grants to small businesses with annual gross receipts of $5 million or less that have sustained a reduction in business income or activity as the result of:
  • Natural disaster such as flood, earthquake, or a comparable
  • Human-caused disaster such as a major utility disruption resulting in property damage or prolonged outages

Grant limit is $75,000 per business. Funds may be used to reimburse the following eligible expenses:
  • Payroll
  • Utilities and rent
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Building improvements and repairs
  • Replacing damaged inventory and equipment
  • Other operational and business expenses related to a qualifying disaster

Applications are due March 31
First, identify and contact the Associate Development Organization (ADO) (webpage) representing your county. You will need the name of your local ADO and a representative's name and contact information to complete the online grant application.

In addition to the ADO information, eligible businesses must provide all of the following in the application:
  • Washington State Business License
  • proof of address
  • W-9 and 2019-2021 tax returns
  • documentation of receipts

Once you have gathered the required information, visit the application portal online at Washington State Department of Commerce Statewide Disaster Relief Grant Application – BUSINESS (smartsheet.com).


After contacting your local ADO, if you still have questions or concerns, please email the Commerce program contact.
WA State Receives $163.4 million to Fund
Innovative Small Business Loan Programs
Washington state has been awarded $163.4 million from the U.S. Treasury Department to operate five capital access programs for small businesses. The new funding will be used to launch an updated version of the state’s highly successful Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program, which was completed in 2016. SSBCI leveraged an original $19.7 million investment from the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act into $150 million in new capital for Washington small businesses.

Retail Sales Surge 3% at Start of 2023
Clear sign economy continues to grow

Retail sales increased in January as job and wage growth and easing inflation encouraged spending, but strong spending complicates Fed’s fight to tame inflation.

A 3% increase in sales with US retailers in January is the most significant increase in nearly two years. This number reflects the strength of the economy as the sales had been forecast to increase by 1.9%, according to a Wall Street Journal poll of economists.

Excluding sales of auto dealers and gasoline stations, the receipts increased 2.6%, which is still a strong number, which could increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates to tame inflation.

In an interview on CNBC, NRF President & CEO Matthew Shay said, “We have very resilient consumers. People are out there spending, and in spite of what they know, and they tell us about concerns regarding inflation, they’re still finding a way to get out there to spend.”
AG ORC Task Force Convenes in Tacoma
March 29th marks 3rd task force meeting
Attorney General Bob Ferguson is convening his third Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Task Force meeting in Tacoma on March 29.

The purpose of the ORC Task Force is to address the growing ORC problem in Washington State by:
  • Increasing coordination between retailers, law enforcement, and prosecutors at all levels of government,
  • Enforcement of laws and prosecutions of ORC theft groups,
  • Deterring retail thefts and making it known that Washington State will not tolerate retail crimes.

Participating in the meeting will be representatives of law enforcement, prosecutors, retailers, loss prevention officers, and members of the AG’s staff. Washington Retail Association President/CEO Renée Sunde, Senior VP of Policy and Government Affairs Mark Johnson, and Communications Director Robert Haase will be attending.

The Washington Retail Association will announce registration details as soon as they become available.
Nonprofit News & Resources
The Greater Kitsap Chamber is proud to be one of only five Chambers statewide selected to partner with the Nonprofit Association of Washington (NAWA) to bring education and resources to nonprofits in Western Washington. Stay tuned to this section of our weekly newsletter for education, resources and more for our nonprofit community. To learn more about NAWA, please visit their website here.
Kitsap Great Give - 10 Years of Impact
April 11, 2023
Greater Kitsap News
Kitsap Public Health District Meeting
Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 10:30 am
Washington State Delays
Bremerton-Seattle Ferry Restoration
Published in the Kitsap Sun, March 1, 2023
Photo: Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun, March 2020

Washington State Ferries has pushed back the timeline for fully restoring pre-pandemic service linking Bremerton and Seattle. The agency now says that it does not anticipate having the staff available to fully restore service in Bremerton until after the end of this year’s summer season.

The agency said in a new service restoration report released on Tuesday that it planned to begin a trial of two-boat Bremerton-Seattle service at the end of September with an estimated restoration in October. The agency did say that in the meantime, it planned to add morning and mid-day trips as crewing and vessel availability allowed and said it would continue to support the added passenger-only ferry service Kitsap Transit launched last year to fill in holes created by WSF’s limited schedule.

The Port Report
Port of Bremerton Winter 2023 Newsletter
The Port of Bremerton's Winter 2023 Newsletter is officially live! To read about the latest updates to staff, tenant highlights, and more, click the link below. This newsletter also features yet another design refresh, so consider letting them know your opinion.

This quarter's foreword was written by Chief Executive Officer Jim Rothlin and describes his perspective on the work being done since covid began - as you can imagine, there has been much growth! 
Comprehensive Plan Draft Alternatives
Public Hearing Delayed
Department of Commerce housing projection report causes local delays in planning.

The Washington State Department of Commerce this week released housing needs projections over the next 20 years and guidance on how counties and cities should address them. This may affect Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan draft alternatives currently under consideration and could require additional zoning revisions, assumptions of growth or other changes to one or more of these alternatives.

To allow additional time to assess the impacts of this guidance and provide necessary clarity to the public on what is proposed, the March 13 Board of County Commissioners' public hearing on Comprehensive Plan draft alternatives is delayed until April 10.

Commissioners will take verbal testimony at the April 10 hearing. Until then, written testimony on the draft alternative maps and descriptions will continue to be accepted at compplan@kitsap.gov

More information on the process, purpose and content of the preliminary draft alternatives can be found at kcowa.us/compplan. Videos of past presentations, public meetings and other information are also available on the site.

Send questions and comments to compplan@kitsap.gov or call Kitsap1 at (360) 337-5777 and ask for Planning and Environmental Programs.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
Masks & COVID Testing Kits Available
Free at the Greater Kitsap Chamber & Visitor Center
The Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management provides local businesses with free KN95 masks and COVID testing kits. Pick up your supply at both Greater Kitsap Chamber locations today.
COVID-19 Support & Resources
Kitsap County Health District is now posting a regularly updated list of COVID-19 vaccine providers in Kitsap County. This list can be found here.

Community Information
2024-27 Aging Area Plan Survey
The Kitsap County Division of Aging and Long-Term Care is the designated Area Agency on Aging for Kitsap, responsible for development of an Area Plan that identifies local services for older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers. The Aging Area Plan, currently being developed, is a four-year plan that identifies gaps in services and describes demographic trends, challenges, and opportunities. The plan also addresses how the Area Agency on Aging will administer programs and allocate discretionary funding to support aging in place, as well as informal caregivers.

Kitsap County residents are invited to share your ideas in a survey that will be used in the development of the 2024-2027 Area Plan.

The survey deadline is Friday, March 31, 2023.
Submit an Earth Day Award Nomination
Nominations accepted until March 24, 2023
Do you know an individual, group, or business that deserves to be celebrated for their environmental efforts? Kitsap County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners want to celebrate environmentalism within our Kitsap community. We need your help!

Submit an award nomination at kcowa.us/earthday by March 24, 2023.

Any business, group/organization, school, teacher, educational program/project, or individual is eligible. The nominee does not have to live in Kitsap County, but the efforts on which the nomination is based must occur in Kitsap County. If selected, your nominee will be recognized at the 30th annual earth day award celebration on April 24, 2023 at 5:30 PM (Kitsap County Board of Commissioners Chambers - 619 Division St, Port Orchard).
Live Well Kitsap! Networking Group
Monday, March 13, 2023, 6:00 pm
Tourism Information
Downtown Bremerton Association
St. Patrick's Day Parade & Pub Crawl
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Port Gamble Theater: Buz Whitely's Big Band
Saturday, March 11, 2023, 7:00 pm
Get your glad rags on and get ready to dance at this fundraiser in support of the historic Port Gamble Theater!

Tickets: $25.00 - available only at the Box Office
Box Office opens at 5:00 pm for tickets.
Admiral Theatre Presents:
Mairead Nesbitt's Celtic Spells
Saturday, March 11, 2023, 7:30 pm
A Grammy and Emmy nominated artist and composer, Máiréad Nesbitt has enchanted millions around the world as the featured Celtic violinist and one of the founding members of the globetrotting music phenomenon Celtic Woman. Loyal fans of all ages, across geographical and cultural boundaries far beyond the musical heritage of Ireland, have adored her beguiling stage presence and versatile instrumental talents. She is the featured violin soloist on eleven Celtic Woman albums, all of which reached the number one slot on the Billboard World Music Chart.
The Roxy Presents: Best Original Party
Sunday, March 12, 2023, 4:00 pm
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David Emmons
Irene Moyer
VP, Membership & Strategic Communications
Brenda Kelley
Tourism Coordinator
Bremerton Office (360) 479-3579 | 4th & Pacific Downtown Bremerton
Silverdale Office (360) 692-6800 | Kitsap Mall next to Macy's
PO Box 1218 Silverdale WA 98383
If you need assistance, please contact us directly.