Business Focus: Creston chamber busy promoting valley

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Spring is just around the corner and the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce has a lot going on!

Our business is helping grow businesses in the community through cost saving membership benefits, economic and community development and tourism. As a membership based organization, we are always working to get new businesses to join us. We accept applications throughout the year so it is never too late to join and take advantage of the many benefits of membership.

With the news that the town has eclipsed the 5,000 population mark (we are a growing community) and is now responsible for policing costs, the chamber may see an even bigger role in the community. We are working with the town to minimize the tax impact and that may involve taking over some functions from the town in co-operation with the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

We are currently working with the Town of Creston and regional district Areas B and C on a branding initiative. As pointed out by Joanne Steele, owner of the Rural Tourism Marketing Group, when it comes to small town marketing, “branding is probably the least understood and most important consideration a small town faces.” We have concluded a series of focus group meetings. We are still seeing input from the public. There is an online survey at www.crestonsurvey.com that asks a brief set of questions to assist us in gathering information about our region. Once completed, this brand, or story, will be a valuable part of our marketing strategy.

Another initiative we have been promoting is Shop Creston First. On March 6, we are hosting a lunch presentation on the “10 per cent shift”. Every month, you spend a lot of money — on your home, your family, your car, food, clothes — the list just goes on. So when you think about it, that’s a lot of power you hold in your hands. By shifting 10 per cent of your spending to local businesses and producers, the ten per cent shift is really just about using some of that power to make your community stronger and an even better place to live. Register for the luncheon by calling the chamber of commerce at 250-428-4342.

The Creston Valley Home and Garden Show is fast approaching. The annual show takes place April 20 and 21 at the Creston and District Community Complex. Mark your calendars. There is “tons to see, do, and buy”. And, as always, there are fabulous door prizes. This year’s show is sponsored by Home Hardware Building Centre and Columbia Basin Trust. To book a booth at the show, call the chamber of commerce.

In other happenings, we are sponsoring our farm market attending their provincial conference, planning a dance and a beer and food pairing event during the Creston Valley Blossom Festival, hosting Focus On Youth, participating in the annual Artwalk, gearing up for the busy tourism season and promoting community events on our electronic message board.

For more information about the chamber of commerce, visit www.crestonvalleychamber.com or stop in to see us at 121 Northwest Blvd.

Jim Jacobsen is the executive director of the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce.