Chamber of Commerce Summer Snapshot

Gabriola Chamber of Commerce

Press Release

Wednesday, July 8 2020

Gabriola Chamber board members: (L-R) Jen Demler (incoming Treasurer), Julie Sperber ( Executive Director), John Pierce (outgoing Treasurer), Graham Bradley (President), Erin Mikulin (Office Administration). Submitted photo.

 

 

Hello Fellow Islanders - my name is Graham Bradley and I have been volunteering with the Gabriola Chamber for over two years. I came on board when the organization started to develop their Community Economic Development (CED) initiative as the Chair of the Advisory Group. 

At the Chamber AGM in January 2020, I became the Chamber Council President. 

I am excited to take on this leadership role in the organization as it continues to grow in capacity and support sustainable development for our island’s future. On a personal note, my roots dug deeper on Gabriola this spring, as I have become the owner and operator of Good Earth Farm. I also continue to operate the Gabriola Food Hub. 

It was recently announced that the Chamber has received $100,000 for further economic development initiatives, from the BC Government. 

This is the second time we have received these funds and they will facilitate a tremendous next step for work that is already underway. The Gabriola Chamber has spent several years building capacity and relationships which gives the government of BC confidence to continue to fund our work. We are very grateful for the support, as this September we will embark on strategic planning which will see us through the next 2-5 years. The strategic plan, combined with these funds and our energy, will nudge our rural economy towards more self sufficiency, lower carbon emissions, and more connectivity of Gabriola’s ingenuity and intelligence. I encourage you to engage and be involved in this planning process.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Chamber pivoted quickly and allocated $11,500 of our funds to be used directly for pandemic economic response. We successfully orchestrated Couch Fest to help artists experiencing a loss of revenue with nearly $6000 going directly to performers. We collaborated with the Gabriola Island Community Investment Co-op to bring interest free loans to business owners. To date $7500 in loans have been distributed with over $12,000 still available to be accessed. We helped educate and connect Gabriolan business people to opportunities, programs, and funding through one-on-one sessions, weekly online group meetings, newsletters and information sharing. We supported and facilitated our community of businesses to participate in the online Gift Certificate and donation platform called Island Comeback - which has already generated sales for local entrepreneurs and will continue to do so into the future. 

If you are not already a member of the Gabriola Chamber, I encourage you to join. For $165 annual fee, you can access the member benefits and the growing network of local businesses that interact through the Chamber. We are working hard to be the best we can in service to our community. These days, we run a tight ship. Even in the short time I have been involved the momentum is formidable, plans well calculated, and the vision is promising.