Business Focus: What does the Creston chamber do?

Incorporated in 1935 as the Creston Board of Trade, the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce has grown and evolved over the years...

Incorporated in 1935 as the Creston Board of Trade, the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce has grown and evolved over the years both in its membership and in the services it offers. Our organization formally changed its’ name in 2010 to “Creston Valley” to better reflect the whole service area of our organization.

Primarily concerned with the support and promotion of the business community, the chamber directs its efforts toward all aspects of local progress in government, education, and community. Our business is helping grow businesses in the community through cost saving membership benefits, economic and community development and tourism.

Member benefits include Canada’s No. 1 group health plan, discounts on a variety of services (gasoline cards, debit cards, travel and accommodation), advertising and training. We offer networking events, business meetings and workshops provide educational opportunities to learn new business approaches and techniques, and we send out timely and relevant business news. The chamber works for business-friendly policies at the local, regional, provincial and national levels (the latter two through our affiliations with the B.C. and Canadian chambers).

We work closely with the Town of Creston council and staff, and the Regional District of Central Kootenay area B and C directors on local initiatives to stimulate the local economy. Several projects are underway: a new branding strategy, joint marketing, development of a community hub, shop local campaigns, technology planning and agri-tourism initiatives.

The chamber co-ordinates the Canada Day event and the Santa Claus parade. We organize Small Business Week and the annual Home and Garden Trade Show. We work with Community Pride on murals, volunteer projects and Communities in Bloom. The chamber of commerce is a partner with our arts community, hosting Focus On Youth, local art shows and supporting the new art bus tours. Our electronic message board promotes community events for free.

We also operate the official Visitor Centre, which had almost 15,000 visitors in 2011. Offering local information, maps and directions, the centre has public washrooms and free Wi-Fi. Staff attends trade shows to promote the area as a destination. We are the local World Host trainers. We partner with Kootenay Rockies Tourism and Tourism BC to keep community information updated in their numerous publications and websites. We are the first point of contact in the community.

So, what does a chamber do? We educate, advocate, and promote business in the community and promote our quality of life.

Jim Jacobsen is the executive director of the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at 250-428-4342 or manager@crestonvalleychamber.com.

Creston Valley Advance

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