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  • Letter from Our President, J.J. Ballesteros

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    February 04, 2020
    Letter from Our President

    I hope everyone had an amazing holiday and Happy New Year. 2019 was a year of growth for the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. We want to thank all of you who played a role in making it so special. We were able to strengthen our relationships with our member base, sponsors, city officials and community.
     
    As 2020 begins we would like to take into consideration the constructive work accomplished by the Chamber in 2019. It was a memorable year with noteworthy accomplishments. The Board and staff are working mindfully in our preparation for the 2020 year. As always, we are focused on building off the 2019 momentum and being an even bigger advocate, resource and champion for our members and community.

    2019 Accomplishments:
    1. In July, the City Council approved changes in the parking code recommended by the Chamber to ease some of the restrictions on local businesses allowing for the implementation of innovative practices. These include:
    1. allowing major interior remodels without requiring additional parking
    2. expanding the in-lieu parking purchase program to be citywide and removing the cap on the number of spaces purchased
    3. allowing in-lieu payments to be annual and not a one-time outlay
    4. increasing the parking credits for outdoor dining from three to five
    5. allowing use of innovative parking techniques, such as shuttle services, to be used to meet the parking requirements, and
    6. removing the requirement that any new business must supply two parking spaces (this means that a business can sublease space without providing additional parking).
    1. The Chamber reallocated its city funding to contribute to hiring an Urban Economist to perform a study of the downtown and offer suggestions on how to enhance the downtown experience. The study is in and we are awaiting the city’s review.
    2. The Chamber broke attendance records with three signature events, The State of the City, The Chamber Golf Tournament and The Leadership Luncheon.
    3. The Chamber collaborated with KX93.5FM and held its first ever Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival.  The event had over 1,100 people and was a great night for Laguna.
    4. The Chamber, in conjunction with the City, hosted Hospitality Night.  It was a great night of networking and bringing in the holidays.
    5. The Chamber held valuable Breakfast Panels on “How to use local Media”, “How to use Social Media to Grow Your Business” and a Sexual Harassment Course that provided excellent content and was well received.
    6. The Chamber sponsored dozens of Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies celebrating new businesses and new members.
    7. The Chamber also brought back its Ambassador Team which is comprised of a great group of people who are volunteering their time to help us put on these events.
    8. We hired our new Executive Director Paula Arnold and Events & Marketing Manager Ashley von Gremp.
    9. We added two new Board Members Tyler Russell from KX93.5FM and Chef Craig Strong from Ocean at Main.
    10. We instituted Chamber Chat with our partners at KX 93.5, where one chamber member is interviewed live on Friday’s at 8am. 
    11. We had an amazing response for Small Business Saturday with over 100 participating businesses.  One of our locals won the Grand Prize of a two night stay at the Ranch in a 2-bedroom cottage suite, including lunch or breakfast for four. 
     
    Plans for 2020:
     
    1. Think Laguna First campaign
    2. Chamber Board Installation, January 23; Leadership Luncheon, February 27 and State of the City, May 14 events
    3. Chamber Golf Tournament presented by Tropare’ Inc. at Aliso Viejo Country Club, May 18
    4. Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival, October 15; Small Business Saturday, November 28 and Hospitality Night, December 4.
    5. Breakfast Panels covering relevant topics for our local businesses 
    6. Continuing our Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies for new members and businesses
    7. And MUCH MORE…
     
    As the Chamber looks to increase its membership, we also aim to be the number one resource for our local business. Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas or feedback on how we can better assist you and your business.
     
    Thank you again Laguna!!!
    Sincerely,
    J.J. Ballesteros
    President
    Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce