Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce: First Public Interview
In 2006 this organization emerged from the depths of change when nobody expected only to quickly rise and shine in the spotlight for a few short years until one day there was no more Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce again to be found anywhere locally or online. What happened to the group or its members was anyone's guess until now more than a decade later.
A search through the Arizona Trade Name Commision revealed an uncommon name David Hoschouer who after some research became the focal point of the best possible place where someone might start snooping around. It didn’t take long before I had the opportunity to sit down with the leader of 2nd Chamber only to hear a rather remarkable story of survival against impossible odds.
Tiffany Becker: What on earth caused you to raise from the depths a 2nd Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce?
David Hoschouer: At the time there were some people who speculated that it was family who influenced the decision by having members on the Cottonwood chamber Board of Directors. By that I mean the Verde Valley Chamber became the Cottonwood Chamber so this was the perfect time to step in, step up, and make a move if someone wanted to secure the venture.
Tiffany: I can see a plot in the mist perhaps, you mean a quiet change of name and subtle take over by those likeminded?
Dave: Definitely, but like I said this was not the case at all. To be perfectly honest I didn’t know there was a Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce when I created what you just called the 2nd. (Laugh) As far as I knew at the time after having just moved to the area and having researched the tradename, which was available, I at that time created the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Tiffany: At what point did you discover you were not the first to create the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce?
Dave: It was into our third year when while doing an email campaign to some of the local businesses it was brought to our attention someone was calling us a scam. All of this was done through email so it was pretty easy to run down the source. Apparently, someone contacted the Cottonwood Chamber by phone asking about us who had no idea there was now this new organization calling itself the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce. In response to the question, the Cottonwood Chamber could only say what it could at the time which the business then circulated all over. By the time we got to the truth, the damage had already been done.
Tiffany: Wow, you’ve got to be kidding?
Dave: No, unfortunately, I am not. Like I said it all happened by and through email so there’s no he/she said about it. Myself and the Director of Operations at the time went down to the Cottonwood Chamber and discussed the situation at length with them.
Tiffany: You're saying it was the Cottonwood Chamber who was responsible for the rumor to get out that you were a scam all because they hadn’t heard of you since they used to be the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce?
Dave: Yes, in a nutshell, that is correct, however, it was the business who called the Cottonwood Chamber who than jumped the gun sending out the nasty damaging emails. I was satisfied by a personal investigation the event was not done purposely by the Cottonwood Chamber. All anyone could say was they “were sorry.”
Tiffany: What did you do next?
Dave: What could anyone do the damage was done. It was then I had no choice but to pull all funding from this project which took years and lots of money to create. I vowed not to sink another dime until the right time since up until that point the project had been a success. I was able to accomplish a lot in a short period of time behind the helm proving a few points along the way that the area needed such an organization.
Tiffany: I can’t believe something of that nature could happen without someone knowing or at least checking before making such a devastating statement. It’s rather odd if you ask me.
David: It was a great lesson indeed. Cost about 20k and three years all paid for by myself and family. We paid for all employee wages and never took a dime from anyone. The email campaign we sent out was to celebrate our grand opening launch of such a unique local platform, we never expected to get torpedoed in such an unexpected manner.
Tiffany: Wow, I bet you were beside yourself afterward.
Dave: Just moved on as best we could not really knowing where the events would lead. It didn’t take long before it was decided to pull the plug on just about everything except for the websites which were a wealth of information concentrating more instead on other ventures.
Tiffany: I’m amazed you didn’t seek out any kind of litigation against the people responsible throughout it all.
Dave: Not really my style unless I’m forced to and people do make honest mistakes which is what I was led to believe in the matter.
Tiffany: A few years and 20k is a lot to just give up.
Dave: I know huh? But what else can a person do at such times, after all, honest mistakes do happen.
Tiffany: True, but they shouldn’t be at your expense. Is the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce still in operation?
Dave: Yes and no. It’s still legally bound to those who secured the venture just not active in any way other than in name right now which could change at any time. The way I look at it after what happened last time I’m not willing to place any more time or resources into the project that I’m not willing to lose. When I have lots of money to throw at the situation perhaps.
Tiffany: Why not get grants like all the others Chambers?
Dave: When you take and use peoples money there’s a price tag that comes along with it, control. I wanted to take the Chamber in directions the others were not willing to go and were willing to pay a price for doing so since the area has so many hidden treasures and secrets. I was willing to put things on hold and walk away for the time being in order to bring to light the true purpose of the project which was to show the world this area has been called “Gods land” for a reason.
Tiffany: Yes, we are so most definitely going to get into what you have discovered about the Sedona/Verde Valley area in more detail for you have truly set forth a rather interesting dialog most would want to know of in those regards.
Dave: This area truly is magical in so many ways.
Tiffany: Curious though as to what the plans are for the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce in the future?
Dave: The Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce was damages in a litigation out of Maricopa County in Hoschouer v. IPC International. It wasn’t until that case could be resolved anyone was willing to consider to get things moving forward. Now all that is standing in the way is funding to defy the odds and be resurrected once again which has been a struggle to overcome. The new Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce will have no association to my name whatsoever in the future but will have someone who will be more able to defend the organization against attack should further disregard present itself.
Tiffany: I can understand why you would want to step aside letting someone else handle all the legal issues.
Dave: The time I spent involved in the project was more of an experiment to see how things would turn out. Time will tell where the torch will be handed off to. There was a time for a while when the Chamber was floating by on our websites alone but then someone locally we helped illegally accessed the server created a back door and downloaded all data. That really killed us.
Tiffany: You mean a local business was able to hack the Chambers server and download all information?
Dave: Yes. The Chamber server was the same as Arizona Website and Graphic Design. To help a local business get started we allowed them to use a portion of the server. The business called Godaddy and lied to them who then allowed the person to take over and access the server. Once inside they created a backdoor and downloaded all files including those of Arizona Website and Graphic Design clients. Totally destroyed both ventures for all clients and members had to be informed all their personal data was compromised. Had to file a report at the Camp Verde Marshals office.
Tiffany: This is unbelievable yet verifiable nevertheless right?
Dave: No doubt it is. People have no idea the sacrifice it’s been maintaining proper composer through all of it. I even let the business use the Chamber’s forwarding number and answering service because they didn’t have a local number. That’s how far I went to help the place get off the ground.
Tiffany: What’s kept you going through it?
Dave: Been working on other projects to make a huge move or two in the future. The Chamber is not active but that doesn’t mean we’re not actively working behind the scenes. I spent 6 months in Washington trying to raise funding for the Chamber at a Bank being converted into the largest dispensary in the state which turned out to be a nightmare as well so who knows when things will develop.
Tiffany: Seems like it’s not like you haven’t been trying right?
Dave: (Laughs) When you give up you’ve lost the battle. Not only are there a few more points to prove but some closure to be served in the future. (Smile.)