Business Focus: Creston chamber could do more with more members

Web Lead

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

The Santa Claus Parade and festival is done for another year, everyone is busy getting ready for Christmas and the holidays (and making an effort to shop local first, supporting our local businesses, friends and family) and at the chamber of commerce we are gearing up for 2013. And there is a lot to do!

Traditionally, chambers of commerce offer a variety of services to their membership — advocacy, networking events, information sharing and business assistance. These have been discussed in this column previously.

In addition, the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce works with the Town of Creston and our Regional District of Central Kootenay directors (areas B and C) to offer tourism and economic development services.

Of course, one of the big things we worked on in 2012 was a branding strategy to better promote Creston Valley to the world, inviting people to visit, relocate and set up their businesses here. The new community website (which should be online by the time you read this column) will be a one-stop portal to the community — how to get here, what to do here, important news and links, and more. Check it out at www.crestonvalleybc.com.

The chamber of commerce organizes the Home and Garden Show, Canada Day celebrations, shop local campaigns and the Santa Claus Parade. We assist with Creston Valley Blossom Festival, the Creston Valley Bird Fest, Focus on Youth, ArtWalk, bus art tours and the Creston Valley Fall Fair.

We also do a lot of things that people think “just happen”:

·researching and updating dozens of websites and travel magazines referencing the Creston Valley to ensure up-to-date and accurate information;

·working closely with Tourism BC to develop content and promote local stories for their worldwide network of publications (news features on our 10 mile diet, local cheese, world’s best juice, the farmers’ market, the wildlife centre and our wineries have appeared in newspapers, magazines and on TV as far away as Korea, Australia, England, South Africa and Brazil, and across the United States);

·buying ads in tourism publications, business magazines and newspapers;

·developing maps and trail guides for tourists; and

·acting as the first point of contact for relocation enquiries, weather reports, travel info and more.

And this is where you come in. We need your membership in the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce so we can expand on what we do. Your support allows us to buy more ads, buy bigger ads, print more flyers, mail out more promotional material and design better handouts. You can join as a business, as an organization, or as an individual.

We need community support more than ever. Neighbouring cities have marketing budgets 20 times the size of ours. But with a strong membership base we can make a great impression because the Creston Valley has a great story to tell. Let’s grow together.

To join the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce, call 250-428-4342 or stop in at 121 Northwest Blvd.

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