By Arlene Fenrich
Approaching Summerland on Highway 97 from the north, less than a kilometre from the Rosedale intersection, you will pass an oddly shaped two-storey building at Thompson Road. What’s in that building?
The most obvious answer is The Summerland Visitor Centre, which occupies the main floor of the building and provided information for 9,400 visitors to our community in 2011.
The rest of the building is home to the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism (SCEDT), also referred to as the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, our local business membership organization serving approximately 800 members.
When asked what a Chamber of Commerce is some people may think it’s a bank; others, a branch of government.
Neither of those is correct, but it begs the question, “What is a Chamber of Commerce?”
Long answer: A Chamber of Commerce is an organization established to promote civic, commercial, industrial and agricultural progress in the community it serves, and to work for sound legislation and efficient administration of the community and at all levels of government.
More simply put, the Chamber exists to make our community a better place in which to live. It provides an avenue for the business people in Summerland to create a positive business environment. It also provides our local business sector with a vehicle to promote Summerland to the outside world – either for tourism or business investment purposes – and helps people find their way when they arrive here.
The Chamber provides the opportunity for those people who create local jobs and drive our local economy, to work with government and the public to build an even better community. It is the recognized voice of business.
The Summerland Chamber of Commerce actively partners with the District of Summerland to support businesses.
Summerland is home to an initiative that is unique in the Province of British Columbia in that every business that takes out a license in our community automatically has a membership in SCEDT. Our Chamber works to market the community of Summerland and serve our membership through support, education, promotion and advocacy. This automatic membership is a tremendous value to new as well as existing businesses.
In addition to our business services and on behalf of the District, the Summerland Chamber manages the Visitor Centre, is responsible for the Festival of Lights and the Business Awards Gala, and supports numerous other local cultural and community initiatives via sponsorships and promotion. It’s a busy place and we want to thank the Summerland Review for giving us an opportunity to tell you more about what we do.
Every other week we plan to bring you information about how our local Chamber is supporting our business and community members. We always appreciate your feedback. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christine Petkau at email@example.com.
Arlene Fenrich is President of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism and the owner of Edgy Petals. All of the members of The Board of Directors serve as volunteers.