Summerland positioned to attract new growth

On May 9 Summerland businesses were well represented at the annual All Chambers Valley Wide Business after Business event.

On May 9 Summerland businesses were well represented at the annual All Chambers Valley Wide Business after Business event.

Our participating businesses were Dirty Laundry Vineyard, Okanagan Crush Pad, Words Work Publishing (Tidbits Newspaper), Summerland Hunter’s Hill, Valley Wide Home Improvements and True Grain Bread.

It was also great to see our corporate members ABK Restoration and Brown Benefits.  Entertaining the crowd for the evening was Summerland jazz trio Soul Power.

Chamber board members and staff were there and Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino also attended.  Many more of our business members purchased tickets for this great networking event.

At the Hunter’s Hill booth, developer Patrick Murphy was sharing some of the reasons why Summerland is a great place to invest.

He also points these out at huntershill.ca.  Local infrastructure improvements have been extensive over the past few years and include: storage capacity at the dam that has been more than doubled, a new water treatment plant, twinned pipes for orchards and vineyards, a new RCMP building and both the main entrances to town rebuilt and streetscaped.  Substantial street improvements are occurring at another major intersection. A new much needed industrial park is coming on stream. Recent changes to zoning bylaws are also important.  This spring the District installed electric vehicle charging stations and a comprehensive town wide free WiFi system will soon be available.

When we walk down Main Street we automatically see the gaps from closed storefronts and believe that this is indicative of where our town is headed.

Certainly these are a great concern.  But consider a home renovation.  Before the granite counter tops are installed, you have to replace the furnace, the wiring and the roof. The District has been attending to these much needed improvements.

Last week the chamber hosted a meeting of individuals who work in economic development throughout the region.  They came together to hear about the Summerland Capital Fund and also listened to the experiences of business owner Todd Laidlaw, of True Grain Bread.  Laidlaw shared the importance of business owners having highly detailed information about their customers and the community they were joining.

Around the table there was discussion about the culture and values of our community and how Summerland is uniquely placed to attract new Main Street businesses that are ‘refreshingly relevant’.

In the coming months we will be continuing with this discussion and determining how we can reach and attract this new breed of retailer.

Ultimately, our downtown – our equivalent to the granite countertops of the home reno – will again be a vibrant and beautiful destination.

At the chamber, we firmly believe that our community is unique and is well positioned for growth.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at  president@summerlandchamber.com or Christine Petkau at  manager@summerlandchamber.com.

Arlene Fenrich is President of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism.  All of the members of the board of directors serve as volunteers.