Ventura Chamber “Together we will overcome”

by Carol Leish

“First, when all of this (closures due to the pandemic), started in mid-March, we reached out to all our members,” according to Ventura Chamber President and CEO, Stephanie Caldwell. “We wanted to find out:

  • How members were doing
  • What members needed
  • If members businesses were open or closed.

She said that, “As things continued to progress, we realized that business needs changed over time. And, we have and continue to respond to the various needs of our members.”

“Through the communication of the Ventura Chamber,” according to Caldwell, “We are able to reach out to both our members and to the business community, as a whole. Since things have been happening so fast, at first, we started sending out our chamber e-news communication daily, or even twice a day, with various updates. The information recently has been slowing down a little bit. We are now sending out our e-news usually about two or three times a week now.”

“Everyone can get our e-news,” according to Caldwell. “You can sign up for free by going”

“In late April, about a month into all of this we realized that, since all of our events were canceled due to not being able to have group gatherings, that our members were struggling and missing being able to connect with each other.”

“We saw, over time, that, some businesses were open, and some businesses had information that they wanted to share,” said Caldwell. “So, instead of doing a monthly ‘Connection Breakfast,’ we started (at the end of April), ‘The Connection,’ which is a weekly Zoom call on Tuesday mornings. It’s free to both members and nonmembers to participate in. Besides networking, it’s also a way for us all to get information in ‘real time’ out to the community, and for those within the community to ask questions. Also, for everyone to be able to share information. We also have someone each week from the City of Ventura who provides us with an update on information. This has included having had the Public Information Officer; and the Economic Development Manager. We will be having the Parks & Community Partnership Division discuss, ‘parks having safe openings soon.”

By mentioning different financial resources that have been and are available, Caldwell, said that, “These financial resources have been/are available to help. The deadline for the Business Assistance Program was July 8th. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Payroll Protection Program both are currently continued to accept applications.”

Caldwell mentions the importance of the advocacy work of the Ventura Chamber by saying, “Through advocacy, we have continued to work closely with the City of Ventura and the County of Ventura to discuss the safe reopening of businesses soon. Businesses within different types of sectors have given feedback to give feedback in order to assist other business during this transition period.”

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