Business is a booming in the city by the sea, and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hopes the economic climate will continue to prosper in the years to come.
At a special study session held Nov. 1 at City Hall, Chamber President/CEO Laurel Rosen discussed how the Chamber would work with local business improvement districts (BID) to help develop a sustainable economy.
Specifically, the Chamber pointed out its top shared concerns of BIDs, which included the need for a business ombudsperson in the Office of the City Manager; co-production of Chamber and BID-organized community events by City Hall; a planned district walk-through each quarter with BID members and a City Hall liaison; consistent enforcement of ordinances and practices for new businesses and remodels; and, implementation of a shuttle service prior to or concurrent with the arrival of the Expo Light Rail Line.
“This is something that will hope to create a foundation for the future,” Rosen said. “One of the most important issues that came up is working on the business and permitting processes. It’s really being able to get through the process in an efficient and less expensive way.”
While the Chamber is distinctly separate from the BIDs, Rosen pointed out it was essential that both groups collaborated together to help City Hall fulfill its mission to create a more sustainable Santa Monica.
“Many of the BIDs are chamber members,” she said. “It’s really about helping impact the entire business climate in Santa Monica. We look at all businesses that are either interested in coming to Santa Monica or already here trying to achieve sustainability.”
The Chamber has a plethora of economy sustaining programs in place or in the works, but Rosen focused on specific initiatives such as Buy Local, a New Heroes Celebration, the Samohi Career Day and Job Fair, Sustainable Quality Awards, and the State of the City event.
These programs promote education, public safety, job creation, and economic growth amidst environmental sustainability.
“Our message of sustainability is not just about being green or economic strength. Rather, it is to include the philosophies of the Buy Local campaign,” Rosen told council members.
The Chamber also discussed the creation of The Santa Monica Alliance, which would combine the resources of the Chamber and City Hall to “identify business economic tools and incentives” as well as “leverage Santa Monica resources and competitive advantages.”
Established in 1925, the Chamber is a member-driven organization intent on creating a climate conducive for businesses to be successful, providing businesses with a voice, and working with city government.