What Chambers Are Doing Around the West

Santa Barbara Chamber Provides Visitor Trolley

The Santa Barbara South Coast (CA) Chamber convened a roundtable meeting of downtown businesses to gather insights into their goals for the future of downtown. The meeting served as a platform for exchanging ideas, addressing prevailing challenges, and fostering productive discussions.

A significant concern that could be addressed quickly was the need for a shuttle service to facilitate seamless movement of visitors between the waterfront, Funk Zone, hotels, and downtown areas. Recognizing the significance of this challenge, the chamber took action to address this issue.

Within the span of one month, the Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley was launched, enhancing the experience of visitors and providing convenience for residents that encourages exploring the area, shopping and dining – thus championing for a thriving business community.

Medford Chamber Launches Dream Big Campaign

Faced with the challenge of reaching new dues revenue, The Chamber of Medford & Jackson County (OR) launched the Dream Big program. Designed to benefit small businesses, this initiative allows current members to sponsor struggling businesses that could benefit from chamber services but can’t afford membership.

As a Dream Big sponsor, members provide a sponsored one-year membership, emphasizing the shared vision of helping business succeed. The chamber, in turn, supports these new members with connections, advertising and engagement in the business community to foster growth. Dream Big not only fulfills the chamber’s fiscal goals, but also extends a helping hand to businesses on their path to success. The program far surpassed the initial fundraising goal.

Tulare Chamber Starts Youth Ambassadors Program

The Tulare (CA) Chamber created the Youth Ambassadors for Business Team to provide young adults with an opportunity to develop leadership, interpersonal and management skills, perform community service and become aware of the region’s business, governmental, and agriculture operations. This program was designed as a non-paid work-based learning internship opportunity.

Team members participate in “classroom” and other learning activities and assist at designated chamber and community events; provide input into youth programming through the Tulare Business & Education Council; engage with leaders of business, industry and government; participate in social media campaigns; assist with podcast/video production; and prepare event venue design.

After having completed 90% of the program, it launches into business plan development during Small Business Week to allow the youth to creatively design plans to fill gaps, they’ve become aware of after having explored the town.

The program is sponsored by a local financial institution to cover the costs of youth program-branded clothing. Site hosts/presenters provide in-kind support through meals, etc. Currently it’s a revenue-neutral program that contributes to the chamber’s image and role as a good community steward and stakeholder for a thriving community.

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Information featured each month in Around the West is taken from chamber newsletters and websites that W.A.C.E. receives from its members. We try to share best practices, innovative ideas and programs from chambers working hard to be Catalysts, Conveners and Champions and make a difference in their community. Make sure to subscribe W.A.C.E. to your mailing list, if you haven’t done so already, and you may be featured in a future Insider!