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  • Catalyst for Business Growth

  • The Santa Maria Valley is a catalyst for business growth. Here are some of the ways we have been a catalyst during the 2019-2020 fiscal year:

    • Worked with the City on modifications/reopening allowances for businesses trying to reopen, including the use of temporary signage, using parking lot spaces for additional outdoor dining, etc.
       
    • Our Economic Development Commission continues to work with businesses looking to open, expand and grow. This past month, they worked with 1 business on expansion, 2 new businesses, 2 compliance issues, and several conversations regarding downtown projects
       
    • Created a “Business Reopening/Recovery Toolkit” page to help businesses navigate the reopening and recovery process.
       
    • Worked with the County and other leaders to complete and publicize the RISE Guide
       
    • Launched the “Safe and Open” pledge for businesses to promote their Safe & Open status through the Chamber and with free marketing resources. Made the pledge available in Spanish as well.
       
    • Chamber connected the SBC Food Bank with the County’s Workforce Development Board and other local resources to find solutions to their increased staffing needs as they support food distributions sites around the county.
       
    • Supported local industry by advocating against a proposal to add a "work-related presumption" related to COVID-19 workers' compensation protocols. This new methodology would have significantly increased costs to business. To date, the Governor has resisted issuing an executive order implementing this approach, but we continue to monitor similar proposals being introduced in the state legislature.
    • The Santa Maria Chamber co-hosted 3 webinars with regional Chambers to ensure businesses had access to the most current and accurate information possible related to the CARES Act and other business assistance programs.
    • The EDC created a list of local banks who can provide SBA loan assistance to businesses in need of this financial support.
       
    • The Chamber worked with City to relax enforcement of City's sign ordinance, allowing businesses to use temporary signs to communicate status to the public without requiring a permit.
       
    • The Chamber set up a COVID-19 resource page for local businesses and community members to get timely information on the COVID-19 pandemic from trusted resources. The page is updated daily.
       
    • The Chamber created a number of resources to encourage community members to continue to support local business during COVID-19. These include a page listing takeout and delivery restaurants and a page listing local businesses who have online shopping/purchasing options. The Chamber has also started a #SMVOpenForBuisness social media campaign and continues to highlight local businesses on facebook and Instagram through this campaign.
       
    • The Chamber has started a video series, “COVID-19 & Local Business”, interviewing local industry experts to get insight, business advice and industry updates related to COVID-19.
       
    • The EDC continues to work with Tesla to find locations in Santa Maria for charge stations.
    • Chamber CEO Glenn Morris chaired a meeting of the Performance Committee of the Workforce Development Board to ensure that the programs designed to serve local businesses and local job seekers in our county were meeting their goals and expectations.
       
    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau launched a new promotion “Take a trip to Santa Maria Valley for $500 or less” highlighting local businesses and attractions and the affordability of visiting the Santa Maria Valley.
       
    • Community members joined the Chamber on an Industry Tour of VTC Enterprises, which provides an array of services for adults with disabilities.
       
    • Chamber CEO Glenn Morris participated in CalChamber’s Public Affairs Conference, where he received briefings on the state economy, voter attitudes around key economic issues, and the priorities of the new state administration.
       
    • The Chamber attended a meeting of the Chamber Alliance for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties; reviewed results of advocacy efforts in the 2019 legislative session and plans for the Alliance’s annual update in January 2020.
       
    • The Chamber hosed a meeting with regional economic development organizations working on projects related to growing the economic impact of Vandenberg Air Force Base to help better coordinate and collaborate on these efforts.
       
    • Chamber staff attended a workshop on  the art of storytelling and how to apply storytelling to marketing. New techniques learned will help strengthen chamber marketing efforts when promoting the local business community.
       
    • The Chamber joined representatives from the EconAlliance of Northern SB County in Washington DC on October 9 -11.  Chamber leadership visited with representatives from the US Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, and Small Business Administration to discuss initiatives that would benefit our regional economy.
    • Santa Maria Chamber President/CEO Glenn Morris attended the California Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Conference to gain insight on what’s going on at the State level so we can continue to advocate our local businesses here in Santa Maria.