The Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce held its Spring Wine & Dine dinner June 1 to a sell-out crowd at the Almanor Recreational building.
Business owners, local nonprofits, community service organizations and public agencies filled the room to honor both the 2019 Person of the Year, (who will act as the Grand Marshal of the 4th of July Parade) as well as the 2019 Business of the Year.
During the wine tasting social hour, guests were entertained with information and activities provided by the Almanor Fishing Association, the Maidu Consortium, Chester Fire Department, Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Alliance for Work Force Development, and Snow Mountain, the new café and gift store concessionaire at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center as well as the Drakesbad Guest Ranch.
The Chamber thanked its dinner sponsors Coldwell Banker Kehr/O’Brien Real Estate and Diversified Resources for making the wine and dinner possible, as well as Julie Wann of Bella Luna Catering for her fabulous meal.
The four wine sponsors of the evening were Giggling Crow, Alliance for Workforce Development, Waganupa and Lake Almanor Brokers.
Person of the Year
Longtime resident Joe Rogers was selected by our community to be the 2019 Person of the Year and serve as Grand Marshal for this year’s Chester 4th of July Parade.
Rogers, who was accompanied at the dinner by daughters Jo Ann Rogers Isaacson and Karyn Bridges Merriman, was introduced at the event by 2018 Grand Marshal Aaron Seandel.
Business of the Year
Sharon Henry, owner of Lassen Gift, was honored as Business Person of the Year.
This award was presented by Felicity Syfrette, one of many young people who have been mentored by Sharon over the course of her career.
Building economic vitality
Keynote speaker and Chamber President Susan Bryner shared the Chamber’s vision for its role in building an economically stable business environment and a community with the attractions and vitality that are needed to attract those that would not only visit, but who would live, work and invest in, our community.
Bryner spoke about the community as a mechanism with many parts, parts that up until recently, have been working somewhat independently of each other.
The premise of her presentation is, that to build a thriving community we need to create a dynamic synergy between each part of our community so that the whole can grow.
By enticing our youth to return back to the community, attracting a skilled and motivated labor force we can keep our businesses open year round and sustain our families.
She added that these individual parts that include families, schools, youth, businesses, employees, nonprofits, service organizations and public agencies need a way to make those connections and communicate with each other.
The Chamber Board of Directors feel this is the most significant role the Chamber can play in the community. That by facilitating communication between the parts, and helping connect the community the Chamber can take a leadership role in building the thriving community that we all need and want.
To that end, the Chamber has instituted several new programs as a pathway to fulfilling that vision.
First is a vision for the old Chamber Mixers, now called Town Talks, where ideas, programs and projects can be shared between members of organizations and public agencies, and the community.
Second is a partnership between the Chamber, the County of Plumas (Supervisor Sherrie Thrall, District 3), Feather River College and the Alliance for Workforce Development to engage in Town Walks with the Chamber’s Team Almanor.
Town Walks are simply a walk with community leaders to visit Lake Almanor Basin businesses and ask some basic questions, such as “How are you doing? Do you have any business climate concerns?” and “Do you have suggestions for building a stronger business community?”
Ask, then listen and finally follow-up with resources or possible needed action.
Two Town Walks took place in May. One went from Hamilton Branch to Canyon Dam with a second covering a section of Chester. Team Almanor looks forward to taking up walks again at the end of the summer season.
The third Chamber program to encourage communication and collaboration will begin this fall with Town Coffees.
Town Coffees will be simple, informal get-togethers around key issues that effect businesses, organizations or community.
The Chamber has several topics outlined for the fall, with more coming as ideas develop.
Some of the topics that have been offered include: increasing retail sales, using social media to promote business, employee recruitment and training, marketing the Lake Almanor experience, and a town plaza for year-round activities.