Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

The Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce has a new home at last and for the first time in more than a decade, it is in the county seat.

The Chamber, which has been without offices since it left a downtown Angels Camp space in October after falling behind on rent payments, opened its doors Dec. 4 at 39 N. Main St. in San Andreas.

The business organization bounced around a number of Angels Camp locales after moving to the city in 2000. The move was controversial at the time, Executive Director Diane Gray said.

"There's always been that tug-of-war of where in the county to be," Gray said.

The Chamber sought an agreement in November to share office space

with the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, but the fair board decided

against that arrangement. Last month, Ken Foley, owner of the Black

Bart Professional Building in downtown San Andreas, offered the Chamber

three years rent-free and it accepted.

"The price was right," Gray said. "The street is charming. It's the

county seat. It seems appropriate to be here. We're going to try to

bring business back into San Andreas."

The Chamber hosted a grand opening mixer Dec. 15, she said, in

which most of its Main Street neighbors stayed open late including the

Calaveras Arts Council, county museum and the Black Bart Inn.

The Chamber hopes to act as an ombudsman to those hoping to open a

new business and walk them through the process at the nearby Government


Gray said the Chamber is continuing work to assemble its "virtual

Chamber" program, with an expanded Web presence and kiosks in a bank

lobby in each Calaveras County town. That is expected to launch later

this year. Gray said the Chamber is also at work preparing for its

annual Bridal Faire in March, Home and Garden show in April and an

inaugural Olive Festival in late summer.

Contact Sean Janssen at or 890-7741.