With an old year ending and a new year beginning, the Peachland Chamber of Commerce has a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to.
From an events perspective, the chamber planned and implemented two new community initiatives this year – Okanagan Paddlefest and Festival of Trees. The chamber also agreed to take on the coordination of Christmas Light Up for the District of Peachland as a pilot. All of these events were a major undertaking for a small chamber.
I believe these chamber directed community development initiatives have added another dimension to our community. They have given people more reason to participate in community events, to invite their friends and families, to showcase our valued businesses as sponsors and chamber members, which translates into new economic development investment dollars into Peachland. With each new initiative the chamber launches, the radar screen bleeps with the attraction of many more locals and folks who reside outside of our area.
It takes a community of communities to grow a community and it takes sound investment of resources – capital, social and human – before a community can attract outside investment. It also takes time to see actual investment results. It doesn’t happen overnight. I for one believe we are on the right path.
Christmas Light Up
Kudos to Rob Campbell, Patrick Van Minsel, director of community services Cheryl Wiebe, the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, community volunteers, district staff, chamber staff and board members that helped to make Christmas Light Up magical even in -17° C weather. The lights were outstanding, the vendor’s village was an opportunity to see what our small business community has to offer, the fires were a welcomed treat and the entertainment was excellent. We are grateful to all who braved the cold and made this year’s Peachland Christmas Light Up an event to be proud of.
Kudos to Peachland chamber vice president Gabi Haas and her incredible team of volunteers for producing a fun filled July Paddlefest that was not only well organized but also well attended. It was a spirited event that put a new face on Peachland for summer attractions. Not a lot of money was made but it did not lose money. For a first year event it was absolutely a success. Paddlefest demonstrated that self-sustaining partnerships are a product of a community’s ability to nurture and maintain effective involvement, commitment, team building and leadership.
Festival of Trees
Festival of Trees started as a small discussion during the first Christmas Light Up planning meetings. It was going to be a challenge to make it happen with limited resources and limited time to dedicate to it but because of the level of support for the event from many folks in this community it became a reality. There are 15 wonderful trees all themed differently up for auction.
The following sponsors and supporters did an excellent job of getting this first-time event off the ground: West Kelowna Craftsman Collision, New Monaco Developments, Xocolicious, Your Dollar Store With More, Happy Cow Gluten Free Bakery & Deli, TNI, Peachland Art Group, Bliss Bakery, Peachland Visitor Centre, Johnston Meier Insurance, Okanagan Boys & Girls Club, West Kelowna Salvation Army, West Kelowna Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Peachland United Church Bargain Bin, Peachland Ambassadorial Society, Peachland Central Okanagan Railway Club and Peachland Historical Society, Joan March and Dunamis Projects.
The 2014 chamber membership renewal drive is in full swing. If you haven’t already completed your emailed renewal forms and arranged to pay your dues please drop by or call the office at 250-767-2422 to do so. Membership dues are the main source of revenue for the Peachland chamber and your continued support of our services and activities is critical to developing strategic priorities aimed at attracting new economy business investors and entrepreneurial and relocating families. We are stronger together.
Business After Hours
This month’s Business After Hours event was hosted by Dragon Lotus Restaurant – the best Chinese food in Peachland – on December 3. Sam put on a great evening offering up local beverages and tasty deep fried wontons and crispy egg rolls as appetizers. The informal networking event drew 23 people, including two new businesses – Ian Johnson and his wife of West Kelowna Craftsman Collision and Kristin Skjerpen of Novastar. Marim Henselwood of Valley First Credit Union spoke eloquently and from the heart about the relocating of Valley First to Vintage Hills in the new year. Members were asked to share their thoughts about the relocation decision and Rob Campbell, chamber president, provided thoughtful insight into plans to address the issue. The door prize of Hainle Vineyards wine and Xocolious chocolates was won by Ian Johnson of West Kelowna Craftsman Collision. The next BAH is scheduled for February 12. To sponsor the next event call the chamber office at 250-767-2422.
Upcoming 2014 first quarter events
- January 8 – Q4 2013 Quarterly Meeting (sponsor required);
- February 12 – Business After Hours (sponsor required);
- March 8 – Business Excellence Awards;
- March 12 – Business After Hours (sponsor required); and
- April 12 – Business Expo.
Watch for information about the Business Excellence Awards and Business Expo in January.
Gail Scott / Special to the Peachland View