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  • Working Hard on Your Behalf

  • The Chamber's mission is to be a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers, and a champion for a stronger Santa Maria Valley. Here's how we've been working hard on your behalf to serve our local community and fulfill our organization's mission.
     
  • January 2021 January 2021

    Catalyst For Business Growth:

    • The Downtown Revitalization Committee identified their preferred development team and directed staff to formally negotiate with them on the details of a development agreement. The Economic Development Commission has led the marketing, developer recruitment, and review process associated with this project over the past two years.
    • The Visitors Bureau launched The Great Santa Maria Valley Takeout to celebrate restaurant month in the Santa Maria Valley. The promotion took place January 22 – 31 and featured local specials from restaurants, wineries, and breweries. The campaign also featured a selfie contest where participants could share their photos at a local restaurant for a chance to win a local staycation package.
    • The Chamber continues to hold its weekly BYB (Build Your Business) networking event on Zoom, where local professionals have a chance to network and share leads and testimonials.


    Convener of Leaders & Influencers:

    • The Santa Maria Valley Chamber partnered with Chambers across Santa Barbara County on the “Safe Return to Work” campaign, which argues that we can keep people safe while operating businesses safely at the same time.  As part of this campaign, the Chamber sponsored a resolution which the City Council adopted to Support Safe Business Operations.
    • The Tri-County Chamber Alliance offered a webinar through a partnership with the U.S Chamber of Commerce on how businesses can combat the opioid crisis.   A video recording of this presentation can be found here.
    • The Visitors Bureau continues to connect with businesses in the tourism/hospitality industry through their monthly industry meetings.  These meetings allow staff to understand the current challenges faced by hospitality businesses and to share resources and opportunities for these businesses.
    • The Visitors Bureau worked with local hotels to address increased concerns about safety and criminal activities associated with homeless or other transients. In addition to a meeting between the hotels and PD leadership, the Chamber facilitated multiple hotels in creating a joint contract with a local security company to increase security patrols around the businesses. 


    Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley:

    • The Chamber endorsed the ordinance regulating sidewalk vendors proposed by the city council, which requires street vendors to be regulated in a similar way as brick and mortar businesses. City Council passed the ordinance in a 4-1 vote. As part of the Chamber’s engagement on this issue, we partnered with City Councilmember Carlos Escobedo to meet with business owners and hear their concerns about the negative impacts of unfair competition by the street vendors.
    • The Visitors Bureau worked alongside the nonprofit Restaurants Care’s relief fund, which designated financial support to North Santa Barbara County restaurant workers who were furloughed. In total, 20 scholarships were made available to 4 employees at 5 restaurants who had to make the difficult decision to furlough workers.
    • The Santa Maria Public Airport District and Allegiant Airlines announced a new passenger service from Santa Maria to Portland, OR.  The EDC continues to be an active participant in the Airport’s Air Service Team and is proud to be part of increasing options for our community.
    • The Chamber continued to add new resources to our COVID-19 Recovery Tool-Kit including materials related to the PPP-2 loans, additional funding programs and the updated Cal/OSHA emergency COVID regulations.

    February 2021 February 2021

    Catalyst For Business Growth:

    • The Chamber and Visitors Bureau held the Great Santa Maria Valley Takeout as part of restaurant month, and a way to encourage the community to continue to support our local restaurants, wineries and breweries.
    • Santa Maria Valley Chamber Staff attended the virtual conference for the Western Association of Chamber Executives to continue their professional development and learn best practices and successful programming from others in the Chamber Industry.
    • Santa Maria Valley Chamber’s Director of Member & Community Engagement Molly Schiff was accepted into the Western Association of Chamber Executive’s Emerging Leaders Council.


    Convener of Leaders and Influencers

    • The Chamber’s Business & Government Roundtable met for their January 2021 meeting and received an update on local vaccine distribution from the County Public Health Department, and a presentation on the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber’s Roadmap to Recovery plan from Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce CEO Kristen Miller.
    • The Chamber Ambassador Committee welcomed two new ambassadors; Karen Edwards of Laurus College and Kelsi Fitzgerald of Phoenix Property Inspections.
    • The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors welcomed new board member Angelica Gutierrez.
    • Santa Maria Connect Young Professionals produced a video of local leaders discussing how young professionals can do their part to make our society more just and equitable. Clips of the video are showcased on their social media throughout the monthly of February, and the full discussion is available to watch on YouTube.
    • The Chamber continues to host their weekly Build Your Business virtual networking events to provide local professional the opportunity to network and hear from our Chamber Member businesses.


    Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley

    • The Chamber continues to attend CalChamber’s monthly legislative update calls to stay at the forefront of legislation affecting our business community.
    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau Tourism Marketing District launched their stimulus campaign to encourage those nearby to safely visit the area. Local hotels offered a $100 visa gift card to those who booked a minimum two-night stay.
    • Leadership Santa Maria Valley is still accepting applications for their Class of 2021, which will begin in March.
    • The Chamber continues to add resources to their COVID-19 Business Recovery Toolkit and provide timely updates to community members on reopening.

    March 2021 March 2021

    Catalyst For Business Growth:

    • The Chamber launched their “Get Your Business Online” Program to assist local businesses with improving their online presence.
    • The Chamber partnered with the Santa Maria Times on their “Shop Local Santa Maria” Telethon event. The event runs through the month of April and is a way for the community to support local businesses.
    • The Economic Development Commission (EDC) continues to assist small business operators to apply for PPP loans and other state or federal business-assistance programs.
    • The Visitors Bureau launched their Stimulus Promotion, providing a $100 Visa Gift Card to visitors who booked a two night minimum stay. The promotion received national attention and the Santa Maria Valley was featured on NBC Nightly News.


    Convener of Leaders and Influencers:

    • The Chamber held their State of Vandenberg Event, where Colonel David A. Rickards, Director of Staff, 30th Space Wing and Western Range, United States Space Force, Vandenberg AFB, California discussed the Air Force base’s accomplishments for 2020 and upcoming changes in 2021.
    • The Chamber held a virtual mixer with Cnagy Wines, which included networking and an interactive wine tasting.
    • Leadership Santa Maria Valley kicked off their class of 2021 with a virtual retreat.
    • The Chamber held their monthly speaker series for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) on the Basics of Investing and Savings
    • The Chamber’s Build Your Business (BYB) networking group continues to meet every Friday, providing a weekly networking opportunity for the business community.
    • The Chamber helped convene a working group of local builders and other business categories to respond to the City’s proposed increases in service fees. The working group continues to engage in dialogue with City representative to agree on a program that meets both city and business goals.
    • The Chamber remains active in the Tri-County Chamber Alliance, a regional effort to advocate for local businesses. The Alliance held their monthly meeting where they had the opportunity to hear from state and local legislatures on their policy positions and priorities.
    • Newly elected CA State Senator, Monique Limon, joined the Chamber’s Business and Government Roundtable meeting. Additionally, the Roundtable heard presentations by representatives from the offices of Assembly Member Jordan Cunningham, Santa Barbara County, and the City of Santa Maria.


    Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley:

    • The Chamber expanded their partnership with Partners in Education to help connect local businesses to opportunities to assist schools and local students. The partnership with the local nonprofit is part of the Chamber’s workforce development efforts.
    • The Chamber took positions on a number of bills affecting local businesses. A full list can be found here.
    • The Visitors Bureau distributed PPE provided by United Way to hospitality industry workers.
    • The Chamber partnered with the City of Santa Maria on a flyer reminding businesses of resources to help them operate safely during COVID-19. The bi-lingual flyer was distributed to local businesses in the City of Santa Maria.
    • The Chamber joined with other chambers across the County, the City of Santa Maria, and representatives from the local restaurant industry to push back against proposed county rules that would allow for “micro-restaurants” in private homes. The Chamber continues to be engaged in this dialogue pushing for all food producing/serving operations to be required to meet the same standards and requirements expected of commercial restaurants.

    April 2021 April 2021

    Catalyst For Business Growth:

    • The Chamber’s Economic Development team Launched a “Get Your Business Online Program” designed to support local businesses in establishing an online presence in order to create new pathways to connect and build relationships with existing and future customers.

    • The Chamber partnered with the Santa Maria Times on a Shop Local Santa Maria Valley Virtual Telethon.

    • The Chamber continues to hold weekly virtual BYB, (Build Your Business) networking meetings every Friday morning from 8:30-9:30a.m. Each week a member business/organization does a “Showcase” presentation of their business products and services. This meeting also gives members the opportunity to network and share leads and referrals.

    • The Visitors Bureau hosted its Monthly Tourism Industry meeting to coordinate marketing strategies with our hospitality partners.


    Convener of Leaders & Influencers:

    • The Chamber hosted their April Member Mixer featuring CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Santa Barbara County. The Mixer included networking, prizes, and an interactive demonstration of some of the training CASA volunteers go through.

    • The Chamber’s Santa Maria Connect young professionals group hosted an IGTV Live event featuring Tyler Skinner discussing Imposter Syndrome and strategies that individuals can use to create a positive image in the workplace.

    • The Chamber continued to partner with local Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapters to host monthly webinars featuring local business and community leaders. April’s session focused on “How to become a community leader”.

    • The Visitors Bureau hosted a meeting with local hotels and other event venues to share newly released COVID guidelines for meetings and events, which go into effect mid-April. 

    • The Chamber Ambassador Committee continues to meet monthly via zoom. Ambassadors continue to serve as the public relations arm of the Chamber and are currently focused on mentoring new chamber members and assisting the Chamber during virtual networking meetings and events.

    • The Chamber partnered with other Chambers in Santa Barbara County to arrange a listening session for restaurant operators and the County Environmental Health department. The meeting will focus on the County’s proposed Micro Kitchen Home Operation ordinance.


    Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley:

    • Santa Maria Connect also launched a “YP of the Month” article series, with the first highlight featuring Robert Cooks of Best Western Plus Big America Hotel.

    • The Chamber launched a Community Input Survey to determine priorities that Chamber and community members want the Chamber to advance in the next 2-3 years. 

    • The Visitor Bureau began working with local event facilities to update marketing materials focused on events and meetings, including facilitating a photo shoot to show how local properties can adapt event setups to follow current health guidelines.

    • The Chamber collaborated with regional Chambers to conduct another episode of the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. Data collected from businesses is used by the Chamber to update programs, fine tune communications, and advocate for policies that best support local businesses.

    • The Chamber partnered with the Santa Maria Times on a new monthly “Local Business Spotlight Series”, with the first video spotlight focusing on Hans Duus Blacksmith.

    • The Chamber’s Leadership Santa Maria Valley class of 2020 unveiled their Mobile Observatory, a part of their legacy project.

    • The Leadership Santa Maria Valley class of 2021 held their first virtual topic day exploring how local government works.

    • The Chamber advocated for support of AB 927, which is a bill that would authorize the expansion of the community college baccalaureate degree program in California, and encouraged the community to write letters in support as well. A full recap of legislative bills the Chamber has taken positions on this month can be found at https://santamaria.com/news/category/Advocacy.

    • The Chamber facilitated an industry working group to develop an alternative proposal for the City Council as they consider updating the City’s User Fee program. The City’s contracted consultant submitted a plan which would result in fees being increased by an average of over 500%, with some being increased by thousands of dollars per instance. The working group’s plan submitted to the City recognizes that the fee program is overdue for an update and that many fees will need to be adjusted, and proposes an approach that strikes a reasonable path to achieve that goal while still keeping fees reasonable in order to facilitate economic activity in the City.

    May 2021 May 2021

    Catalyst For Business Growth:

    • The Santa Maria Valley Chamber was recognized with the 2021 CalChamber Presidents Circle Award, which is given to Chambers who exhibit excellence in business advocacy and helping their members comply with California employment laws.

    • The Chamber continues to support local businesses through their “Get Your Business Online” program, which walks local businesses through the process of improving their online presence. Learn more and get your free intake assessment at https://santamaria.com/get-your-business-online.

    • The Chamber continues to partner with Santa Barbara County Partners in Education on local workforce development programs, including finding local businesses to be a part of their Student Internship Program. Learn more at http://santamaria.com/workforce-development.

    • The Economic Development Commission continues to work with developers on bringing potential projects to the Santa Maria Valley.

    • The Economic Development Commission continues to assist the City with moving forward on the Downtown Specific Plan.

    Convener of Leaders & Influencers:

    • The Chamber Ambassador Committee continues to meet monthly via zoom. Ambassadors serve as the public relations arm of the Chamber and assists the Chamber during virtual networking meetings and events. Ambassadors also mentor new Chamber members and encourage “future member” businesses to join the Chamber by sharing the positive impact the Chamber has had on their business and inviting them to visit a Chamber meeting or event.

    • Leadership Santa Maria Valley held their Sustainability and Natural Resources Topic Day, where they heard from a number of local leaders on new and innovative ways businesses are taking the lead on building a cleaner and more sustainable future.  

    • The Chamber held its State of Education Event featuring a presentation by Dr. Susan Salcido, County Superintendent of Schools for Santa Barbara County. The event highlighted the past accomplishments, current state, and future forecast of education in the City of Santa Maria.

    • The Chamber partnered with Northern Santa Barbara County United Way on a “Homelessness, Housing & Local Business Impact” forum.

    • The Chamber partnered with the other Santa Barbara County Chambers of Commerce to host webinar on the Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations Proposal.

    • The Chamber continued their FBLA Speaker Series for the local Future Business Leaders of America high school students. This month’s presentation was on “Branding Like A Boss” and featured Ryan Underwood, CEO of TeamTRI.

    • The Chamber continues to hold their weekly virtual Build Your Business networking event every Friday on Zoom. BYB gives local businesses the opportunities to network and share leads and testimonials.

    Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley:

    • The Chamber is now accepting nominations for their 2021 Annual Awards Gala which will take place in August. Nominations for Large/Small Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Young Professional of the year are being accepted through June 5th. Learn more at http://santamaria.com/annual-awards.

    • The Santa Maria Valley Chamber launched a bilingual campaign encouraging the community to get vaccinated. The campaign features local business leaders talking about why they got the COVID Vaccine, and provides resources for those looking to get vaccinated. Learn more at http://santamaria.com/get-vaccinated.

    • The Chamber remains active in their advocacy efforts this legislative season, supporting a number of pro-business bills and opposing those which could negatively affect local businesses. A full list can be found at https://santamaria.com/news/category/Advocacy.

    • The Chamber highlighted Safran Cabin and how the COVID pandemic has impacted their business in their latest “Local Business Spotlight” video, a series launched in partnership with the Santa Maria Times. The full video interview can be viewed at http://bit.ly/BizSpotlightSafran.

    • The Economic Development Commission is working with an energy company regarding looking to open a location in Santa Maria.

    • The Economic Development Commission assisted Arista Aviation with finding a building to open in Santa Maria. The company helps repair helicopters and will be opening in June 2021.

    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau published two blog posts featuring our affordable wine country offerings and celebrating May as National Barbecue Month.

    June 2021 June 2021

    Catalyst For Business Growth:

    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau held their tourism partner's meeting to discuss needs and provide assistance to local hotels and tourism businesses.

    • The Chamber continued their monthly “Local Business Spotlight” video series done in partnership with the Santa Maria Times. This month's video highlighted SM Tire, which is celebrating 75 years in business in Santa Maria. You can watch the video interview here.

    • The Chamber launched their “Grow with Google” series partnership with a workshop on getting your business listed on Google. The series includes monthly “Grow with Google” webinars done in partnership with SCORE San Luis Obispo. Find more upcoming events here.

    • The Chamber’s Economic Development Commission worked with some potential business start-ups looking to open a business in Santa Maria Valley.

    • The Economic Development Commission continues to work with the City of Santa Maria on the Downtown Revitalization Project.

    • The Economic Development Commission assisted Arista Aviation, a Black Hawk helicopter repair business, with opening a location in Santa Maria. The business is slated to open in July 2021

    Convener of Leaders & Influencers:

    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau connected with local hotels to provide the Santa Maria Reds Baseball Team with local hotel rates to use for their events.

    • The Chamber Ambassador Committee continues to meet monthly via zoom. Ambassadors serve as the public relations arm of the Chamber and assists the Chamber during virtual networking meetings and events. Ambassadors also mentor new Chamber members and encourage “future member” businesses to join the Chamber by sharing the positive impact the Chamber has had on their business and inviting them to visit a Chamber meeting or event.

    • The Chamber’s Santa Maria Connect Young Professional program held a virtual regional mixer in partnership with the Ventura and SLO Chambers. The mixer provided local young professionals to network with others in the region.

    • The Chamber held their annual board retreat with Chamber staff and Board members to discuss strategic planning and determine the Chamber’s major projects and priorities for the next 3-5 years. The Chamber heard from regional and city officials, as well as other Chamber executives, to get a broad look at the need in our local community and projects other chambers have accomplished.

    • The Chamber continues to hold their weekly virtual Build Your Business networking event every Friday on Zoom. BYB gives local businesses the opportunities to network and share leads and testimonials. Learn more here.

    Champion for a Stronger Santa Maria Valley:

    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau is updating the Santa Maria Valley billboard banner on the 101. Keep an eye out for the new banner soon!

    • The Chamber held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in partnership with Santa Barbara County Public Health. 24 people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

    • The Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau hosted 4 journalists/influencers in the Santa Maria Valley to help drive tourism to the area.

    • The Chamber has resumed ribbon cutting celebrations for new members and businesses celebrating major anniversaries or new locations. 

    • The Chamber gathered nominations from the public for their Annual Awards Celebration, which will take place in August. Nominations were received for Large/Small Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Young Professional of the Year.

    • The Chamber Board Ballot for the 2021-2022 fiscal year was sent to membership and new board members were approved and welcomed to the Chamber Board to serve 1 year and 3 year terms beginning July 1st.

    • The Chamber remains active in their advocacy efforts this legislative season, supporting a number of pro-business bills and opposing those which could negatively affect local businesses. A full list can be found here.  

    • Leadership Santa Maria Valley held their Public Safety and Justice Topic Day, where they got a first-hand look at local first responders and learned more about public safety and leadership in the local community.


  • What Our Members Have Shared

    "As a 40 year resident of Santa Maria, there was never any question where I would start my own business! I have owned Wine & Design in Orcutt for over two years now, and I know first-hand how the right community support can help your business grow! Being a member of the Chamber has opened doors for Wine & Design that we may not have found otherwise! The camaraderie and extensive networking opportunities are second to none! If you are not yet a member, feel free to call and ask me about it! If you are a member, do your business a favor, and look into attending as many Chamber functions as you can! Chamber members take care of one another!"
     

    - Julie Jorge
    Owner, Wine & Design Orcutt

     

    "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce for all the work they have done to keep the busieness community informed during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. As a sponsor member of the Chamber, we have used the services offered to businesses many times. We find that the SMVCC website has numerous resources available to fit the needs of our business. Being a Chamber member also helps us to make connections and gain exposure in the communities we service. This has enabled us to grow our business through networking with other businesses. We would highly recommend any business to become a member."

    - Omar and Petra Hernanadez,
    Owners, Shred 2 You, Inc.

     

    “The SMV Chamber has helped amplify our agency’s marketing efforts and given us opportunities to promote our business in areas that we otherwise wouldn’t be able. We are in constant contact with our Chamber representatives ensuring we are maximizing our membership so we don’t miss out on a golden opportunity. They are always there to help guide, promote, and see to it that we continue to remain top of mind.”

    - Morris & Garritano Insurance Services

     

    "I can honestly say that the Chamber and Visitors' Bureau has significantly helped me with my sales personally. With them always sending us updates on events and what is going on within the city and even the Central Coast, I have been able to turn that information into selling points to get tourist groups to not only visit my hotel but also go to some of these events supporting Santa Maria Valley. Without their assistance and constant updates, especially during COVID-19, we would probably not be doing as well as we are now. Thank You Santa Maria Valley Chamber & Visitors' Bureau! Best Western PLUS big America appreciates you!"

    - Robert Cooks, Sales Manager
    Best Western PLUS Big America

     

    The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce provides me an opportunity to interact with other businesses in the community and gain the exposure that every business needs. With weekly and monthly events available to get involved, you truly will get as much out of the experience as you put in. It has been my experience that the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to providing events which benefit the community and business members. I recommend chamber membership to anyone who wants their business to grow.

    -Timothy J. Bomben
    Wave Business

     

     

    "The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce has been an excellent partner in helping promote and generate visibility to Allan Hancock College’s new skills-based career readiness app/job board; Career Connect powered by Jobspeaker. Working together with SMVCC, we have developed a consistent and efficient way to build and maintain relationships between our local employers and students at Allan Hancock. Our new regional platform is an easy and intuitive way for students to interact with employers. This new app scientifically increased our ability to build and expand relationships with our employer partners and for employers to access an excellent pool of career ready students across the region. As local businesses continue to re-open and look to find the right candidate, Career Connect can help find the candidate with the skills sets that the best suits their need. We look forward to our continued partnership with SMVCC, to generate opportunities for employment and successful placement, as well as to empowering and lifting our community."

    - Alma Miranda, Career Readiness Specialist: Business Partnerships
    Allan Hancock College

     

    The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce has been really good to me and has been great for my business! The Chamber is the hub of the city, the who's, what's, and where's of just about anything in the area. 
    I started a business back in 1995. I had no idea how to network, as I was very shy. I went to a Chamber meeting on an invite from a client, scared to death, and gave my 60-second introduction. The Chamber was very warm, welcoming, and informative; and I built my business just through Chamber referrals! It was so much fun I later became an Ambassador for the Chamber, and still enjoy helping new people with ideas and resources to help their businesses grow!  There is no competition in the Chamber. Members are willing to help other members, even if they are in the same profession, as there are plenty of customers for everybody. I invite you to check out one of our Build Your Business breakfasts on zoom, or a mixer, and learn of the benefits that the Santa Maria Valley Chamber has to offer you and your business!

    - Tara Hoffmann, Owner
    Tara's Mobile Footcare