Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce holds AGM

President Ellis Howard called the Chamber of Commerce meeting to order and welcomed the 30 plus business owners and interested residents to the meeting.

The election of the board and directors took place, with the Oat of Office administered by Pastor Bill Hendley. Standing for a second term are, on the executive; President Ellis Howard; 1st vice president Anthony Boos (Cascade Realty); 2nd vice President Joanne Kirby (Tags Food and Gas); Treasurer Peter Mandeville (Toolbelts Inc.); and Secretary Karen Meyer. Past President is Sandy Miller, Tumbler Ridge Floral Fantasy.

Returning Directors are Josie Pindera (Hub International Barton Insurance). Newly appointed directors for 2008 are Colin Giesbrecht, CGJ Enterprises, Darryl Krakowka, owner of ShopEasy; Berita Deleeuw, William Hendley, New Touch Carpet Cleaning; Jan Legaspi, Northern Lights College and Joan Zimmer, a Tumbler Ridge artist.

After the ceremony Bruce Lantz, District 12 Director of the BC Chamber spoke to the group. In his presentation Lantz pointed out that 95 percent of businesses in British Columbia are made up of small business, and that 52 percent of those are either owned or managed by women.

Lantz stated that the question he gets asked most in his position as director is, ?What does the Chamber do?? There are several misconceptions about the Chamber?s role, from the arm of the government to the enemy of the government.

In fact the Chamber of Commerce has only one function, which is to represent its members. Membership in the local Chamber also provides membership in the BC Chamber of Commerce.

Membership also gives members access to business information that may be difficult or impossible for the individual to access, and provides a wealth of other benefits for small business.

For example, as a Chamber member some of the benefits that one has access to, and are important for small business are a preferred rate on credit card charges, the ability to apply for and receive reasonable health care benefits.

Gas discounts and other preferred business perks are available as well. More information can be obtained from Marie Therriault, Chamber manager. She can be found at the Chamber office in the Community Centre from 9am to 4pm, closed for lunch from 12-1pm. The chamber phone number is 250-242-0015 or email the Chamber at trcofc@pris.ca

Ray Proulx, District of Tumbler Ridge Economic Development Commi6tee and Ryan Murray, Northern Strategies, spoke to the group about the ?Commercial Investment Strategy Project.?

Proulx said there will be a public meeting February 6 at 7pm and hopes to see as many local businesses as possible there.

The ten page backgrounder is on line at www.tumblerridge.ca/mh/retailinvestment.htm

The backgrounder includes: what is offered, what is here, locals can fill gaps, and results are also attractions for newcomers.

The public meeting will be held on February 6 at 7pm.

2008 is looking to be a winner for our local Chamber with plans to put members on the Chamber website, a quarterly newsletter for members, late night shopping, and small business seminars.

With Marie Therriault in the role of manager, which she does very capability and a strong board and executive, this looks to be the best year ever for the Chamber. Of course that also makes it a winning year for local business, thanks to the new board and directors, who are taking time out of their busy schedules to serve the community.