The original South Lewis County Chamber of Commerce was formed in Toledo, Washington in 1982 originating in the mind of Don Wade, a Toledo Accountant. Other community leaders in Toledo were board members. They met occasionally, working to create interest in Toledo businesses for visitors to Mt. St. Helens. Dennis McNelley, a Toledo business person along with other community leaders whose names have been lost to history were all part of the original Chamber.
In 1997 or 1998 the South Lewis County Chamber was re-established and the Board ambitiously set out acquiring membership from all parts of Lewis County as well as the three cities it represented Toledo, Vader and Winlock. Grant applications were written resulting in the creation of an information kiosk at I-5 Exit 63 advising the traveler of local business in the three cities and surrounding area. A full color Chamber membership directory was created, a Mission Statement was honed and members were a significant help in bringing Cardinal Glass to the south county area. A website, telephone and a Chamber office staffed by volunteers was accomplished as well. Growth was coming to south county! Mickelson Dairy farm land bordering Interstate 5 was for sale for commercial development attracting large out-of-the -area developers and the Chamber was in a highly visible position to help.
During this exciting time, the Chamber was instrumental in keeping businesses informed of all aspects of growth as well as providing private citizens input by hosting public meetings. Input was gathered regarding the impact of growth to schools, creating downtown revitalization programs, preserving our small town way of life as well as other ways to be involved in what appeared to be major growth. At it’s peak, the Chamber touted 125 members. But the growth didn’t come. It was not yet time for south county.
In 2014 the Chamber, due to lack of membership, dissolved as a registered 501C6 with the Washington State Secretary of State and has remained so until community leaders in Toledo believed the time was right. That time is now.
Meet Our Board
John is a a 40 year resident Toledo resident and the owner of Southwest Washington Reality.
As a Designated Broker in Real Estate since 2000 and calling Toledo Home since 1981, John decided to open an office locally and serve Southwest Washington with a high level of skills and a local market knowledge.
Jess is the owner of A & J Bookworks, LLC in Toledo. She has been an
accountant for about 15 years, and is new to Lewis County having moved to
Vader in 2021. Jess has previously served as treasurer of several non-profit organizations
benefiting children and adolescents in Cowlitz County.
She works with numerous business industries, from hotel and hospitality to
construction and consulting as well as several non-profit organizations. She
believes in small business and hopes to help local businesses reach their
goals and financial understanding.
Penney worked in critical care at various hospitals for several years in two different states. She segued into a different kind of profession, within the caretaking of individuals. She became the Public Relations Officer for Snohomish & Island County Dispute Resolution Center. She is a certified professional mediator/Large Group Facilitator. She has worked for several nonprofit agencies concentrating her expertise on the vulnerable and senior citizens. Later she focused on sales in education, real estate and independent senior living communities. Her professional focus was to empower the vulnerable young and old to live a full, safe and happy life.
Joe is a 7 year resident of Toledo and moved here from Maple Valley, WA where he witnessed substantial growth to the area. He and his wife own the old Doctors office in downtown Toledo. It has been renovated to help spur small business growth.
Knowing that growth is coming to the Toledo/Winlock/Vader area he wants to ensure the local communities get “a seat at the table” for planning the future. Small businesses are the heart of any community. He wants to help small businesses get a strong foothold now so they are prepared to meet future opportunities as they arise.
He is a firm believer in giving back to the community by investing time, money, and effort.
Cyndi is the owner of Farmers Insurance in Toledo for last twelve years and a Toledo resident for twenty plus years. President of Toledo Community Foundation, board member of Toledo Cheese Days, and Lions Club member. Cyndi is a firm believer in investing in our youth and our communities. She supports local charities such as Women United, Hope Alliance, local food banks and Toledo Schools.
She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, especially the Long Beach Peninsula.
Mary has a diverse and long entrepreneurial career. She has created four successful businesses, served as a civil servant and worked in the private sector. She has served on numerous non-profit Boards of Directors, been active in her professional associations and has served on a Lewis County Commissioners Advisory Board. She has received several accolades for economic development from various groups, spearheaded the Winlock Downtown Association serving as it’s leader as well as serving as President of the South Lewis County Chamber for 13 years.
She is a currently a licensed auctioneer, personal property appraiser and personal property liquidation consultant.
In 1997, Rachel became a Licensed Agent and went onto earn her designation as Certified Insurance Representative. In 2004 she opened the Rachel Phillipps Insurance Agency, which later changed to Phillipps Insurance Group, Inc. Rachel is also the owner of Café Aromaz Coffee Shop, in Toledo.
Rachel moved from California to Washington in 1992, settling in Toledo in 1993 after her husband retired from the Air Force. She enjoys vacationing and spending time with her family and beautiful granddaughter.
While Rachel does not currently hold any other board positions, in the past she was the President of the Toledo Lioness Club. Rachel was also very active in the South Lewis County Chamber previously as a board member and served as President.
Over the years Rachel has become a strong supporter of all kinds of groups in the Toledo Community. She is an especially avid supporter of the Toledo sports teams. Her support includes special donations, scholarship and sponsorships among other things.
We provide periodic updates on new members, business announcements and community activities.
Send Us a Message
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the Chamber in more detail, please drop us a message here.