Mingling business with community service: The KPBA offers networking, ways to give back to community


Irene Torres, KP News

If the turnout for the installation of officers is any indication of support, Jud Morris, incoming president of the Key Peninsula Business Association, may have an easy term.

The dining room at Blondie’s was full to capacity when Morris and other officers were initiated at the KPBA’s annual meeting on Jan. 22. Everyone was “there to support Jud,” many said as they were introduced. His staff from the KP Family Resource Center office attended. Also represented were new startup businesses, some that recently moved to the KP, and others that have been serving the peninsula 25 years like Sunnycrest Nursery, or 35 years like the Home Feed and Grocery Store.

The KPBA has about 80 members, including not only businesses but also nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and individuals.

Outgoing President Bek Ashby said in an interview, “The KPBA provides an opportunity to meet community members and business owners and to serve and be part of the community.”

Ashby, who works for Belfair-based North Bay Mortgage, believes it is important to her company to be part of the community where it does business, including the Key Pen. “The KPBA provides that avenue,” she said.

Morris has been the director of the nonprofit Key Peninsula Family Resource Center/Children’s Home Society for one year. He told the KP News, “KPBA’s election of a nonprofit agency person as president reflects the business association’s view that all organizations provide services and resources. We all serve the same people in the community, whether we refer to them as customers, consumers, or clients.”

He feels his election demonstrates KPBA’s willingness to consider different possibilities and new opportunities, as well as its history, which includes being involved in many community events.

“I believe the KPBA has a solid foundation to support growth and development of services and resources for Key Peninsula residents, and at the same time develop strategies to attract people who do not live on the Key Peninsula to Key Peninsula businesses,” he said. “One of KPBA’s strengths is how members support each other.” He plans to build on that strength.

KPBA provides various benefits to its members, ranging from networking opportunities to visibility. Members are listed in the organization’s marketing brochure and on its Website, www.kpba.org, which also provides a link to members’ sites.

Fire District 16 Capt. Chuck West said, “It seems that you see the same faces at the KPBA that you see elsewhere making this community a great place either as a member or presenting to the group... And we get to be part of an organization that provides a vital boost to the spirit of this community. They are a great association for the KP, doing great things.”

One of those “same faces” is that of Ruth Bramhall. She has been a member of the KPBA for at least 10 years. She said, “I am always selling (raffle tickets etc.), and I enjoy the meetings, working with everyone, and offering suggestions... They depend on me to help… The breakfast and lunch meetings are a good place for established businesses to meet. It gets them acquainted with other businesses from the Purdy Spit to Taylor Bay.”

At the installation ceremony, Ashby acknowledged Bramhall’s dedication to the community, saying, “Ruth knew the name of every single person who attended tonight.”

Ashby said the KPBA is a dynamic group of people. “The interest and focus of the KPBA tends to take on the personality of its active members,” she said. “The KPBA is willing to be what the membership wants it to be.”


KPBA details

The monthly KPBA luncheon meeting, held the third Friday of each month at Blondie’s Bar and Grill, features guest speakers covering topics relevant to business activity or Key Peninsula issues.

February speaker will be the Pierce County sheriff and the Pierce County auditor will speak in March. Breakfast meetings are held the first Friday each month at LuLu’s HomePort, at 7:30 a.m[/box]

KPBA’s community involvement

Outgoing President Bek Ashby outlined the activities benefiting the community: The KPBA is one of the organizing groups for the Key Peninsula Fair. “This is a great service to the community, with much time and energy spent by members,” she said.

The KPBA sponsors a Little League team and gives two $500 scholarships each spring to two graduating Key Peninsula seniors. The organization had adopted a portion of the Key Peninsula Highway near Home for litter pickup, and members clean the roadside four times a year. It also sponsors a f ull-page ad, listing members’ names, each year for the Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa’s schedule, and provides refreshments at the tree lighting.

For more information call Jud Morris at 884-5433[/box]