ROOM ENOUGH FOR BOTH of these busy little pollen harvesters.

Healthy businesses and healthy towns

Local businesses need assistance from a local Chamber of Commerce, which needs a commitment from local businesses...

On this Labour Day weekend, my thoughts turned to business, industry, trade… and how they are verbs as well as nouns.

Ashcroft and Cache Creek have Chambers, but they’re dormant, making it difficult to call the president and ask them how local businesses are faring.

Even during those times when the Chamber is active, it has struggled to make plans because the membership hasn’t been engaged. No association can run with only two or three members doing all the work.

It’s not just the Chamber. I often hear from people – “I don’t want to go to meetings. Just call me when you need me.”

But you know, those meetings have a reason. People who come to meetings give input, help make plans, volunteer to take on jobs. Making plans around a table takes a lot less time than the person who gets the task of phoning a long list of people who said they’d volunteer – but who now can’t commit to that date because there’s something else happening at the same time.

The upcoming federal election has brought the absence of a Chamber to the forefront again. All Candidates Forums usually fall upon the shoulders of the local Chamber to organize.

Taking care of the local business community takes time and effort, both valuable commodities, but they yield big dividends, and it can be done in many different ways.

I’ve seen Chambers – have business speakers at their meetings; host annual business awards; arrange an official greeting for new businesses opening; provide mentoring for new business owners; take an active role in local economic development; work with the local Council to look at bylaws and zoning that affects business; promote the businesses to both locals and tourists; liaise with the BC Chamber of Commerce and influence provincial policy on business.

Like everything else, it takes work. And the more people involved, the less work for everyone.

And the better it is for everyone, because a healthy business community means reliable jobs for families.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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