Updated: Nov 16
More than forty Highway 120 business owners and nonprofit partners gathered at the Groveland Hotel last Thursday for the Yosemite Chamber’s annual Member Strategic Planning meeting. Business members representing two dozen local enterprises voted for their top three programs and services provided by the Chamber. The annual exercise guides the Chamber board in allocating resources to programs that add the most value to our local economy.
Nine current programs/services were presented to members following a review of the previous year’s financial and program results. Business members were asked to rank their three choices in order of importance. Services like live phone and firstname.lastname@example.org email coverage, the Weekly, and yosemitechamber.org are considered essential and were excluded from the ranking, as was Downtown Beautification, a committed program for which we have received a $200,000 Clean California grant via our partnership with GCSD. This project (see last Friday’s Weekly) must be completed by June, 2024 to satisfy the grant requirements.
Public Affairs received an overwhelming 87% of members’ #1 priority votes, and nearly one-third of total votes cast. While this Chamber board has regularly kept membership aware of proposed commercial developments along the Highway 120 corridor, the frequent business disruptions caused by PG&E power outages, Yosemite closures, and storm damage to our major roads post-pandemic has demanded a stronger common voice at County, State, and Federal levels. Increasingly, the Chamber has been that voice on issues broadly impacting our business community. This vote of confidence sent a clear message about the growing importance of this voice and the need to participate in improving our local infrastructure.
Community Support programs ranked second with 18% of total votes. This fledgling program encompasses marketing and financial support for locally-focused non-chamber events, such as the Groveland Grind. Hosted by Groveland Trail Heads, the Groveland Grind attracts trail-biking enthusiasts to experience our unique national park environment. In turn, the proceeds are used to further develop a world-class trail system around Groveland. This year, Chamber partnerships with Groveland Rotary and Pine Cone Performers at the 49er Festival resulted in more than $12,000 in new funding for those nonprofits.
Shop. Eat. Buy. Local and the 49er Festival were a close third priority scoring 15% and 13% of total votes, respectively. The Buy Local promotional program took strong hold early last summer with the First Responders BBQ, co-hosted with ROOFBB. Visitors purchased 142 pints of beer and ice cream from Around The Horn, Iron Door Saloon, Charlotte’s Tavern, The Grill at PML, and The Grove Mercantile as well as spending more than $600 to add to gift cards purchased by the Chamber from a dozen local businesses. First responders and their families received free lunch at the event. Beer and ice cream tokens and gift certificates were distributed amongst local First Responders from GCSD Engine 781, Tuolumne County Engine 531, CAL FIRE Engine 4476, the Groveland Hot Shot Crew, Groveland EMTs, Tuolumne County CSU, and Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department.
Local educators will be the recipients of the next Buy Local promotion, which had a soft launch at ROOFBB’s SummerFest last June. The Chamber will be at the Holiday Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, November 25 (Groveland Resilience Center) where you can purchase tokens or add to gift certificates from local retailers to say “Thanks” for our dedicated educators at Tenaya and Tioga.
2023 was a transitional year for the decades-old 49er Festival. With the new theme of “One for All,” the Chamber reached out to three local nonprofits to partner on certain labor-intensive fundraising elements. Groveland Rotary (Adult Beverage concession) and Pine Cone Performers (Silent Auction & Festival Raffle) provided the people power to manage the activities and reaped big financial rewards. The success of this new model means a more robust, better experience for future festival-goers and a new revenue source for nonprofit partners.
“This is clear direction from a robust cross-section of our retail, lodging/hospitality, and business-to-business/service members,” said Shirley Horn, Board Secretary and Chief Relationship Officer. “Strengthening our voice at county, state, and local levels and partnering with local agencies and nonprofits will bolster our efforts to achieve common goals.”
Based on this guidance, the Chamber board will create a plan and continue our focus on these key program areas, Beautification, and providing essential services, with an urgent priority to recruit volunteers who can help us deliver results. If you’re skilled in administration, accounting, grant writing, project management, WIX, marketing, event planning, social media, or even gardening, and have some free time on your hands, we’d like to hear from you.
Email email@example.com and let's match a need to your skills and available time. If not you, who? If not now, when?