Chamber direction for 2015

On March 10, Summerland Chamber of Commerce members met for the annual general meeting at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery.

On March 10, Summerland Chamber of Commerce members met for the annual general meeting at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery.

Elected by acclamation for two-year terms on the Board are: Robert Hacking of Bad Robot Computers and Electronics, Michael Hughes of Ripley Stainless, Erick Thompson of ET2media and Kelsey Van Alphen of Alder Street Auto Body.

Board members with one year remaining on their current term are Christine Coletta of Okanagan Crush Pad, Jason Embree of Good Omens Coffee House and Kelly Marshall of the Summerland Credit Union.

A new executive will be chosen at the board’s first meeting on March 12.

Outgoing chamber president Arlene Fenrich said, “the new board combines the proven leadership of our incumbents with the energies and talents of experienced newcomers.

They provide an excellent cross section of industry experience and strong business acuity and will lead our Chamber well in the coming year.”

Chamber executive director Christine Petkau, also reviewed the three areas where the chamber is active: Tourism, Member Services and Business Retention and Attraction.

Within the area of tourism the chamber operates the visitor centre, welcoming approximately 12,000 visitors each season.

Along with coordinating the photography and writing the copy for the annual visitor guide, and promoting the community as a tourism destination, the chamber also organizes Summerland’s Festival of Lights.

In 2014 the Chamber launched a dedicated tourism website for Summerland, along with a new tourism video.  2015 special projects include participating in the creation of regional bike path guides and the production of the Summerland Showcase quarterly tourism bulletin – a digital resource distributed electronically to more than 15,000 addresses throughout B.C. and Alberta.

Within the area of member services the chamber provides business advocacy on behalf of its membership and offers educational opportunities.

Members receive promotional benefits through avenues such as the annual awards gala, the Summerland phone directory, business after business events, monthly newsletters and articles in various publications.

In 2014 the chamber hosted a comprehensive election issues blog as well as an all-candidates forum.

In 2015 the new chamber website will be completed. The chamber will also host specific sector meetings to determine key issues for members.

In the area of business retention and attraction the chamber coordinates sector networking, the development of key partnerships and the promotion of Summerland as a place to do business.

In 2014 the Chamber produced an online relocation and investment guide and partnered with the District of Summerland to create a series of economic development videos which are available on-line.

In 2015 the chamber will partner with the District to conduct business walks to engage members.

As well, a video/Facebook campaign is planned to highlight the impact of shopping locally.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com or our incoming chamber president at  president@summerlandchamber.com.

Christine Petkau is the manager of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.