Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One of my personal goals for the Chamber is to grow our membership by showing business women and men why they should join rather than asking them or telling them to join.  I want to do the kind of work that businesses value and proactively elect to invest in.  In this day and age of limited budgets, I don't see any other way forward:  we must earn the trust of the business community rather than ask for it or expect it.

I take this mission very seriously and I know my staff and Board of Directors do as well.  We're not in this business for the good of the Chamber, we're in this business for the good of business.  When that message starts to resonate throughout the community as resoundingly as it does within the walls of our offices and meeting spaces, I'll know that our actions are speaking louder than our words.

We're already seeing signs of success.  When a longtime business owner slides me a note during a meeting that says, "I think the Chamber is doing terrific work, please send me a membership application," it's not the sale that makes my day, it's the happy customer.

Businesses join the Chamber for a number of different reasons, but often for one specific reason over all others.  Those #1 reasons vary: 1) networking, 2) exposure, 3) connections, 4) representation, 5) it's the "right thing to do."  For many, the positive outcomes of choosing membership are intangible and unquantifiable. 

If you're not a member, please keep an eye on what we're doing.  You'll see that we work hard in representing you and your needs, in delivering the best networking opportunities possible, in giving you the exposure you need to reach your customers, in connecting you to the people and resources that will move your business to the next level, and in choosing initiatives that you have identified as critical to your success.  That is how we serve you best.  The rest is up to you.

I mean it when I say thank you for your membership.  Nothing shows me that we're on the right track like your trust.

~ Katie

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yesterday, we officially kicked off the Chico Retail Market Analysis, sponsored by Tri Counties Bank, with two focus sessions for retailers. Today at 3:30 we'll host a third at Holiday Inn and we encourage all retailers to attend.

If you missed the meetings, here's a sampling of what we want to know:

What are the top advantages and disadvantages you associate with being a retailer in Chico?  In addition to a strong economy, what are the most important factors to your business success?  What types of retail businesses would you like to see Chico attract or grow to improve its retail business mix?  What could Chico retailers do to attract more local and visitor shoppers?

Find our complete retailer questionnaire here.

Not a retailer but have thoughts to share?  Please take a moment to complete our shopper survey.

Be on the lookout for springtime workshops following this analysis explaining the outcomes and applications of this data for retail success.

Later this month, on April 25th at noon, we're co-hosting a training seminar at The Training Place, Butte College, with tips and tools for empowering your employees.  There is no cost to attend - just call 895.9015 to reserve a seat.  Click here for more info.

And, on April 26th, we're hosting another free Lunch Hour event with Senator Jim Nielsen from noon to 1pm at the Chamber.  Email me to RSVP!

As the weather warms us, we're busily planning our Community BBQ scheduled for a new date and location this year: Friday, June 14th at Manzanita Place in Chico.  Call or email Heather Ugie to participate in the St. Louis-style pork rib cook-off, book exhibit space, or sponsor a team or band!  Tickets go on sale soon.  Get ready for some delicious fun in the sun!

~ Katie

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Business Spotlight is on Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley!

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley was established in 1995 as a call to action from concerned community members who saw a need for the young people of Chico. In 1998, the Chico Clubs merged with the Boys & Girls Club of Paradise to form the North Valley organization. In 2007, the Club opened in Butte County’s Juvenile Hall in Oroville in response to the continuing problem of recidivism, and in 2008 opened a teen center in Oroville to support youth in this community.  Since opening, youth that have been served by the Club have reduced their recidivism from 75% to 29%.

Today, the Club operates nine sites located within Butte County, including three Teen Centers (Chico, Paradise, & Oroville), the Chico Clubhouse, Juvenile Hall, and five school sites in Paradise and Magalia.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley provides direct services to more than 2,000 youth of Butte County; offering wrap around services to many of its youth and their families, fostering positive friendships and adult relationships, and providing a safe place for children to go every day after school.

Their mission is “to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible & caring citizens.” They utilize tested, proven, and nationally recognized programs in five core areas: Character & Leadership, Academic & Career Development, Health & Life Skills, the Arts, and Sports, Fitness & Recreation. They also offer use of computer labs, summer camps, field trips, college tours, credit recovery, job mentoring, tutoring, a healthy snack and supper daily, service learning, youth led initiatives, re-entry to the population in Juvenile Hall, targeted case management, community service, teen programs, family nights, and more.

Here are some of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley’s successes:
·        100% of members who participate in College Bound were admitted into a college in 2011 & 2012.
·        Members who participate in the SAT Preparation Class had at least a 200 point increase on their final score.
·        Members who participate in Power Hour improve their grade point average by a minimum of one letter grade.
·        In 2010 65% of participating seniors graduated without a plan for college; by 2012 100% of our seniors graduated with 98% going to college.

In 2012 the BGCNV served 2099 youth members and more than 2,500 other youth through special events, dances, and activities in the community and on school campuses.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley have a total impact of $4.0 million a year on our local economy and support 119 people including direct and indirect jobs and households.   Our community and local businesses provide a quarter of the Boys & Girls Clubs' funding.

Many thanks to Rashell Brobst, CEO of BGCNV, Valerie Reddemann, Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors, and Audrey Taylor of Chabin Concepts for helping us spotlight the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley at the Chico City Council meeting on April 2, 2013.

~ Katie