Our organization was founded in March of 1998 as the Coloma-Lotus Association of Merchants (CLAM). Vicky Moreno of the Olde Coloma Theatre and Pat Kovach of Ponderosa Park were instrumental in getting the group off the ground. Though small, we met regularly and worked to promote our local businesses, from real estate to whitewater rafting companies and campgrounds to the local feed store.
In the fall of 1998, many of our local businesses were threatened by El Dorado County’s Measure W. Our group unanimously voted to oppose the measure and drafted our first press release to express our concerns. We were quoted extensively in both the Mountain Democrat and Auburn Journal newspapers. The business community’s opposition helped defeat the measure.
Also in 1998 we published our first Coloma-Lotus business directory, which we distributed at member businesses and at the World Gold Panning Championships, held at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. We paid for the directories by raffling a gold nugget at the event.
In 1999 we counted 22 paid members. We became ambitious enough to put on our first Barbecue and Street Dance in conjunction with the June ColomaFest event.
In 2000 we topped 30 members and filed with the California Secretary of State to officially changed our name to the Coloma-Lotus Chamber of Commerce (CLCC). This was also the year we sponsored the first Coloma-Lotus Community Easter Egg Hunt, which has continued to be an annual community highlight.
By 2001 our membership had grown to 45 local businesses. In 2002 we topped 60, and distributed 10,000 business directories, now in full color and called the Coloma-Lotus Guide. That year we shared the ColomaFest Barbecue and Street Dance with the Hangtown Posse on the weekend that the Hwy 50 Wagon Train came to town. The proceeds allowed us to donate seed money to the Whitewater Park study and to the newly-formed Coloma-Lotus Community Association.
The past few years our membership has averaged over 100 members. In addition to our annual projects, we have taken an active role in alerting the community to the proposed Caltrans Hwy 49 widening, and worked with Caltrans to understand the project and its implications for our community and its businesses.
In January 2018, we changed our name to the Coloma-Lotus Business Council.
What’s coming next? We hope you will join the Council and help us answer that question!