June 25, 2013 Sooke News Mirror Chamber Chatter

At a recent meeting, the board of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce made some significant changes to their operating profile to better position the organization for the balance of this year, and into the future.

Randy Welters, who lead the organization in 2011, has returned to the chamber as president to work alongside current vice president Michael Nyikes, who will move into the president’s capacity in 2014. With the departure of former Executive Director Kari Osselton, the board is now preparing a strategic plan to expand the chamber’s resources and services to the business community.

“With a new plan in place, we know we can do more to assist our chamber members and to show leadership in the community as a whole on vital economic issues. We will be working closely with the mayor and council’s priorities in urban renewal and economic development, and improving the overall health of the business community. Through this collaborative effort the chamber will have a better idea of the professional resources required over the coming years needed to implement our ambitious plans which include a new portfolio of both an expanded membership and new services to those members,” said Welters.

Joining the president and vice president in this new direction are:

  • Treasurer Steven Knowles
  • Secretary Naomi Ponech
  • Director Rebecca Armitage
  • Director Lorna Danylchuk
  • Director Debra Johnston
  • Director Karen Mason
  • Director Frederique Philip
  • Director Jeanette Wilford

Over the past number of weeks the chamber has assisted the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Economic Development, headed by Dr. Steve Grundy, in the development and summary of two important surveys. The first was intended to measure the economic health of the business community and the second to determine the spending patterns of local consumers.

Some in the community were surprised at the very positive results of the business survey in which 68 per cent of business owners and managers said that their business was “about the same or better as it had been over the past four years” with only 31 per cent indicating that business was worse than it had been over the past four years.” When asked the question: What is the outlook for your business in the next year? 52 per cent indicated that they were optimistic that their business would stay at the same level in the year ahead while 42 per cent expected their business would expand in the coming year.

Nyikes said, “This is good news for Sooke, and aligns perfectly with the current and future efforts of the Chamber to provide valuable services to the business community to continue fostering economic development.”

Results of the consumer survey will be published in the coming weeks.