Welcome back to another edition of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce two-cents edition. Today I’d like to talk to you about the big picture of the chamber and how it impacts our community.
My first experience with the chamber was in my hometown of Ottawa. There, the chamber of commerce was a meeting place not just for business owners but also for their employees. The men and women who made the parts, provided the service, and hosted the events that we attended. They all contributed through their business to our chamber community.
Working in Ottawa, I would look forward to the chamber of commerce events like the Christmas party and especially the summertime barbecue that attracted thousands of people – mostly employees – enjoying an event along with other fellow workers and friends.
Meeting other employees at rival companies was always a great time to talk shop, compare work, pros and cons of the work environment and basically just get in touch with other people who are in the same business as you are.
Here in our lovely district, we have a surprisingly large number of small businesses. Did you know that the District of Sooke has more than 800 businesses registered here? Many are tucked away in their basement or in their garage running their business, and for the most part, they are out of sight.
Attending chamber events is a great way to put a face to your product or service and to meet people who can bring you new business and help you with your current business.
In many cases, as it was in mine, I was not the owner of the business but the manager, and I would bring the employees, those wanting to attend a chamber of commerce event, and many connections were made both personal and business-wise.
Having a couple of anchoring events like the Christmas party was a way for employees and employers to gather in a festive location to enjoy a year’s worth of hard work with coworkers.
While Sooke is certain a tad smaller than Ottawa, community connection still matters.
Through the chamber, you can connect with your local business community, the people who work there, and the community at large. We have monthly mixers, a monthly Sooke Newcomers Club, a 5-Chamber mixer (Sept. 22) and our upcoming Business Excellence Awards (Nov. 19).
The next time you’re scanning the papers or surfing the Internet and you see a chamber of commerce event, why don’t you pop in and pay us a visit? We’d love to see you!
Mike Menard is president of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.