New chamber board sets direction

On March 15, members of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce met for the Annual General Meeting and the first Tourism Showcase.

On March 15, members  of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce met for the Annual General Meeting and the first Tourism Showcase at the Summerland Waterfront Resort.

Elected by acclamation for two-year terms on the Board are: Marion Christian of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Julian Scholefield of Okanagan Crush Pad and Colin Powell of IGA Summerland.

Board members with one year remaining on their current terms 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 .

Outgoing president Kelly Marshall said, “the 2016 chamber board is an effective combination of leadership skills and wide ranging sector representation.  Board members are committed and enthusiastic and will lead our chamber well in the coming year.”

The 2016 board held their first meeting on March 17 and elected the following team: President  Erick Thompson, Vice President Robert Hacking and Treasurer Michael Hughes.

The chamber’s 2016 business plan was presented to members at the AGM by executive director Christine Petkau, who reviewed the three areas where the chamber is active: member services, business retention, expansion and attraction and tourism.

Within the area of member services the chamber provides business advocacy on behalf of its membership and offers educational opportunities. Promotional benefits include the annual awards gala, the Summerland phone directory, business after business events, monthly newsletters and articles in various publications.

In 2015 the chamber website was completed with improved design and functionality for members as well as an improved business directory.  The chamber also hosted sector-specific meetings to determine key issues for members.

In 2016 the chamber will host social media training for members and deliver succession planning workshops.

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

In 2015 the Chamber partnered with the District of Summerland to conduct business walks to engage members.  These were well received and will be held in spring and fall in 2016.

As well, a video/social media campaign is being launched next week to encourage Summerland residents to shop locally.

The campaign is called #discoverhome and will run through September of this year.

Within the area of tourism the chamber operates the visitor centre, welcoming more than 12,000 guests at the Highway 97 location and an additional 5,000 at local markets.

The chamber also organizes Summerland’s Festival of Lights.

In 2015 special projects included 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 12,000 addresses throughout B.C. and Alberta.

In 2016 the Chamber is partnering with Penticton and Naramata to create and promote a regional bike festival called Chain of Events through May and early June.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at  or our chamber president, Erick Thompson, at .

Christine Petkau is the Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.