The year 2014 appears to be off to a promising start for many local businesses, according to the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce.
“Everyone is really excited about 2014,” said Lila MacDonald, interim executive director of the organization. Chamber staff member Kathie Richards said many business owners have indicated they are embarking on personal growth to better their endeavors this year.
“I think people are really encouraged and are stretching themselves a little bit this year; we are getting positive energy back,” said Richards. “Some business owners have said they plan to attend classes and put new energy into what they are doing.” Richards explained that opportunities for networking, idea sharing, resource sharing, and continuing education are made available through the chamber.
By utilizing those resources, Richards said, “If a person gets just one idea that they can use (implement), I think that’s fabulous.”
Membership in the Fallbrook Chamber is growing, and that alone is a sign of cohesive progress. After auditing records from recent years, Richards said membership stood at about 375 fairly steadily.
“Going into 2014 we now have 415 members,” said Richards, which indicates an approximate 40 percent growth over 2011 numbers. “[Business owners] are coming to us now to join (rather than a membership salesperson approaching them) and members are bringing others in.
Richards said given the new members steadily coming in, she expects to see continued growth. “Our real membership drive will start in early February.”
The latter part of 2013, Fallbrook saw some fresh new businesses start up. Entrepreneurs with unique ideas are trying to tempt the public with their offerings.
The Fallbrook Chamber has now developed and/or supported four distinct seasons of activities to help support local business.
In the fall, “Fallbrook Scarecrow Days’ is now an annual celebration and the inaugural Fall Faire in 2013 proved to be very popular.
The winter activities of “Christmas in the Village” begin with the Chamber’s ever-popular Fallbrook Christmas Parade, and additional activities have sprouted up to round out December. A new artisan faire that debuted in 2013 looks promising as an annual event.
“April in Fallbrook” builds off of the gigantic Avocado Festival and includes the continually growing Fallbrook International Film Festival, home and garden tours, and more.
Currently under construction is “Summer Sizzle.” According to Richards, the chamber hopes to be able to have events every Friday night downtown. For the last several years, Connections Networking has put on its Hot Summer Nites series on two Friday nights per month.
“We are hoping to work it out with Connections to do it every Friday night downtown,” said Richards. The chamber also organizes “Wine & A Bite Art Walk” events on select summer nights.
In order to enhance tourism friendliness, Richards said installation of a new interactive screen is coming soon to the Fallbrook Chamber office so that visitors can easily access information.
The Bonsall Chamber of Commerce has grown significantly as well. Executive administrator Penelope Richards-Clark said they have realized 100 percent growth in a little over 14 months.
“The economy is really starting to grow. We went from 106 members to currently 208,” said Richards-Clark. The Bonsall organization experienced a significant leadership change during that time period and in addition to Richards-Clark, who has a solid public relations background, the president was Gail Martin. New president Bud Coale is helping carry the momentum forward.
“We are being very proactive in helping promote business,” said Richards-Clark. The Bonsall Chamber is receiving solid support from County Supervisor Bill Horn and State Senator Joel Anderson. “We also now have SDG&E as a corporate sponsor,” said Richards-Clark. “With three full-time chamber ambassadors, the goal is to add more – including youth representatives.
Richards-Clark said the Bonsall Chamber has helped members realize more growth potential through social media and that a good relationship with the Fallbrook Chamber has proved beneficial for both organizations.
“We are holding hands with the Fallbrook Chamber,” said Richards-Clark. “A lot of members belong to both.”
Bonsall’s River Village shopping center is starting to become a bustling center once again.
“River Village is now almost at full capacity; about 1-1/2 years ago it was at 50 percent occupancy,” said Richards-Clark. “That shows us the economy is growing. The other shopping center (post office) is at full capacity now.”
New businesses began popping up in Bonsall and Fallbrook as 2013 wound down. In speaking with a few of these business owners, some insight was gained into what they offer.
Main Street Caf