Talking Around the Hitchin’ Post . . . or Rollin Up Your Sleeves – Your Choice, Your Tombstone

Thank you to all who attended the Annual Meeting.   This is the abbreviated version of the State of Chamber speech.   The full version will be available on our website.



  • The City and Chamber mutually agreed that Tombstone Chamber will have full and operational control of Boot Hill for the benefit for the City of Tombstone.
  • Since the success of that agreement, the Chamber was entrusted with similar managerial contracts for the Tombstone Court House and Tombstone Visitors Center.



  • The Tombstone City Council raised a concern with Chamber expenditures. Because of this concern the City Council requested a financial review of the Tombstone Chamber, Boot Hill and the Tombstone Court House.  During this period of investigation which was escalated to the Arizona State Attorney General’s Office, the Tombstone Chamber Executive Director, President of the Board Directors and various Chamber Boards Members resigned.
  • At this point Susan Wallace became President of the Board, David Bales Vice President, and other business people were recruited to fill open board positions.
  • The New Board quickly reviewed, revamped and started the process of paying off what turned out to be approximately over $30,000.00 of unpaid and delinquent debts, left by over by previous administration.
  • Within months, the Chamber was able to start rebuilding relationships with vendors and restart Tombstone advertising and marketing. 
  • After the exodus of the previous administration, it was discovered that the Chamber did not have a discernible, functioning, marketing strategy/plan.  Essentially, for a period of time the marketing effort for Tombstone was fragmented and in some cases non–existent; which had an economic impact for the overall community.  



Chamber Marketing/Advertising

  • Most of you know that at no time in Tombstone history has much advertising been done and touched so many.   The Chamber maintains a cohesive Advertising/Marketing plan that we have been working thru and will continue to expand on; a plan where we not only support the town of Tombstone but the non-profits / community based organizations, individual businesses and the community in-general.
  • The Tombstone Chamber has made great strides since 2011 to regain credibility with local businesses, our media partners, and to become financially stable.
  • Almost 100% of the Chamber’s monthly expenses and efforts are directly related to contractual duties of the management of Boot Hill, the Visitors Center and The Courthouse along with the task of promoting of the City of Tombstone itself.
  • The Tombstone Chamber office:
    • One staff member
    • Receives 100s of calls weekly about things to do in Tombstone
    • 80% of the calls request mailers
    • Approximately 33 mailers are sent out monthly
    • Annually 30,000 copies of the tourist map are handed out.
    • Annually numerous brochures, calendar of events and other information is handed out.
    • The Chamber website also offers all of our brochures online for download. 
  • The Chamber also maintains and documents sign in sheets for the Visitor Center that are submitted to the Arizona Office of Tourism
    • Boot Hill: 
      • 2013 = 138,103
      • 2014 = 139,970
      • 015 YTD = 93,287
    •  Visitor Center
      • 2013 = 58,374
      • 2014 = 38,075
      • 2015 YTD = 23,711
  • The Chamber maintains Tombstone’s now world famous Tombstone Live Web Cam which has been viewed by people all over the world. And believe me when it’s down we get phones calls and emails! 
  • Tombstone Chamber Website:  As we already know, the website is well used.  The Chamber’s Website receives 13,000+ visitors monthly.  After our conversion to the Wild Apricot Membership Management system it was realized that the site itself is not Mobile Friendly.   We are in the process, at no cost to the Chamber, to integrate the membership directory and information from Wild Apricot into a mobile friendly, and search engine dynamic website.   This will enable our visitors to view our information, YOUR INFORMATION on their smartphones, tablets and desktops without a problem.   This is an important step as a large percentage of our visitors just use their smartphones or tablets.   They want to see a website that is mobile ready, if a site isn’t . . . they will click off of the site.

Boot Hill  

  • As you may know our Boot Hill Management contract renews every two years, and it is currently up for renewal.   As you know Boot Hill Graveyard and Gift shop is world-renown, well visited location here in Tombstone. 
  • We have revamped the Boot Hill website to be mobile friendly, and have ordered items for the online store that will be an exclusive online only purchase.   These changes have equaled an overall dollar savings and potential for revenue increase for Boot Hill.  Inside the gift shop we have revamped the look a bit, updated how items are displayed and have ordered new – more appealing items for our “millennial” visitors.
  • We have also secured control of and are monitoring (and responding when appropriate) the Trip Advisor page and Yelp page for Boot Hill.  This is important to communicate with the visitors and allows dispelling or correcting misinformation.
  • This year we also created a new Facebook page for Boot Hill and have recaptured a few Facebook pages that were created by “who knows who” and abandoned.  
  • We are continually training and working with the staff on guest relations and knowing the history of Boot Hill.   This effort translates to positive reviews and repeat visitors.
  • Marketing and maintaining this historic Tombstone location is vital.   We have discovered that because of the location of Boot Hill, people may not visit Allen Street but will make a random stop at Boot Hill.


Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park

  • The App: The tombstone courthouse app is free to the public and now published.
  • The Courthouse is seeing a rise in its Visitor numbers. One reason is because of the advertising we are allowed to do because of the way we are contracted with the state via the chamber. The state made changes to our rates for the military and by doing so we were able to get onto the Colonels preferred list for Ft. H as well as DM! This allows the military to get half off with proper I’d(s)!
  • We are working on new displays. The newest that is up is in or gallows area. You can interact with the jail cells and get a picture in it. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out and you have no reason not to have seen it because all tombstone residents are free! Very soon we will be displaying out first touch screen interactive display. You’ll have to come by to see it soon because I’m not telling what that one is you’ll have to see it for yourself.
  • The rebuilding of the gallows are on hold per the state.
  • Have you checked out the new tombstone courthouse website? Well we have one that is more user friendly and very phone friendly now.
  • Arizona state parks sent down people regarding the Jr. Ranger program. When we met with them they got so excited about some of our changes that now we are first to get the new program in place.
  • We are working on a new list of Saturday events. We are talking about trials as well as basket making we feel this will not only help the courthouse by maybe make it where people will stay the night.
  • We have been approached by the Arizona House of Representatives about the Eagle Scout program. We are working with them to not only host their awards at the courthouse but also to get Eagle Scout projects done at the courthouse as well as in the town.


What is the real value of joining a Chamber of Commerce?

Your membership supports our community and the Chamber to pursue the goal to have Tombstone remain and international destination. A strong membership is vital to the continuation of our community’s growth and success.   

There are:

  • Advertising Opportunities.
  • Build name awareness.
  • Membership rewards: 
  • There is Credibility Being a Chamber Member.  
  • Referrals to Your Business by the Tombstone Chamber. 
  • Web Based Marketing of Your Products or Services. 
  • Increase your visibility in the community. 

The Chamber is periodically creating/finding tools and guides to assist Chamber Members:

  • Special Event Planning Guide (Chamber and Website);
  • Parade Organization Tips (Chamber and Website);
  • Using your Facebook Business Page (Website);
  • Facebook Business Page & The Power of Likes (Newsletter, 3/18/ 2015)
  • The Necessity of Social Media Marketing (Newsletter, 4/22/ 2015)
  • Website Tips &  A Mobile Friendly Website (Newsletter, 4/29/2015)
  • Heritage Tourism and Tombstone AZ (Newsletter, 5/6/ 2015)
  • Can My Facebook Business Page Replace My Business Website? (Newsletter, 5/13/2015)
  • The Impact of Airing Dirty Laundry on Facebook (Newsletter, 5/27/2015)
  • 10 Facebook Etiquette Tips for Small Businesses (Newsletter, 6/3/2015)
  • Volunteering and Promoting Events (Newsletter, 6/10/2015)
  • Guest Expectations (Newsletter, 6/17/2015)
  • Branding the Community (Newsletter, 6/24/2015)
  • AOT – Tourism is Economics (Newsletter, 7/1/2015)*
  • AOT – Arizona Tourism:  Who is traveling and what’s the financial impact? (Newsletter, 7/9/2015)*
  • AOT – Tombstone is ranked as one of the Top visited Destinations in Arizona or is it? And why do we care? Or do we? (7/13/2015)*
  • AOT – Sometimes all you need is a different perspective (7/22/2015)*
  • What is Success – Are You Flying Like Superman?  (7/29/2015)

* Extracted from the Arizona Office of Tourism Conference

Working Together and Needing Participation

The Chamber wants to create more opportunities for our Chamber Members to network together and for small business education (such as social media marketing, etc).  

We’ve tried this in the past without much success, and I know that we are ALL BUSY; however your participating is crucial! Your participation will keep you in the “know” for industry trends and local happenings.

If you have noticed in the last few email blasts I am listing my Chamber email address –   I want to hear your ideas about how we can ALL become more involved and cohesive.

If you don’t have time to come to us, have us come to you and offer to host a chamber brown bag lunch or email your information – i.e., sales, special, events to  so we can post it on facebook!

At minimum, your involvement could be you actually read the weekly email blastsJ and can pass the word around.


I said this last year… and it bears repeating

It’s easy for people to say what needs to be done or how you should do it. And it is possible to go out and start something new . . . like an activity, event or program – a new “thing,” though it can be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that new “thing” event or program without resources, partnership and planning.

Many times that new “thing” just dilutes resources, causes battles and ends up being less than what was hoped for….we are a small community.   Tombstone is too small to have duplication of efforts, events, activities or programs.

Why not look around and see what’s already in progress?

Why try to recreate or reinvent the wheel? 

Why not encourage others to participate instead of criticize?

OK, seems like a lot to ask…But as I look around the room I see many of you who have already put in a lot of time on various committees and events, some of you still do.

You all know those individuals who stand the hitching post and solve the world’s problems.   Those individuals who think they have the answers about how to save Tombstone by degrading those who were already in the trenches?   This type of negativity doesn’t help further the cause of promoting Tombstone in a positive manner.


As a Chamber Member Be looking for your opportunity to participate! 

It doesn’t’ have to be for hours and hours.  Each of you have some gift that can be utilized.   Your participation can be something as simple and making sure your employees are dressed western or period, that raises the bar for others and that’s what tourist expect to see. 

Or your participation could be making a donation toward our Christmas season activities account.   Yes, we have an account to support the weekend events that happen in December and there is one every weekend.   

However, if you or someone you know is interested in starting a quality activity or event, suggest they take the time to plan and prepare.  And to assist in that preparation, we have created an event planning packet which is available free of charge!

The Chamber does not put on event, except for the December Christmas events, which we inherited with from our partnership with The Tombstone Fire Department.  We do partner to advertise events with whoever shares the event information with us.  We have organized a variety of positive efforts that promote Tombstone, the events and its history. We also look forward to providing more assistance to the individual business.

I would like to note that although we have seen a slight drop in hotel privilege tax collections we have seen an increase in Privilege Tax Collections in the areas of Restaurant and Bars and in retail.

We hope that you can see where we have been and our intentions to move forward. We are fulfilling our promotional objectives and believe that by local business and groups working together, and with the city support, we will be very successful in the promotion of our city, attracting new and returning visitors and can assist and support more business and the economic development in Tombstone.


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