The Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce hit the streets of Seaside for their Annual Business Walk on Oct. 1. From restaurants to hardware stores, participants and staff greeted local owners to discuss business during the pandemic.
The Chamber enables success with networking opportunities, helping members of regional businesses grow their companies.
Alex Winkle, Vice-Chair of Economic Vitality, discussed the team’s mission.
“It’s about creating a community,” Winkle said, ” [and] making sure their interests are served.”
Before sending attendants down Broadway Avenue, Winkle kickstarted the event at Laguna Grande Park, parring Chamber staff, board directors and students.
There are new and old businesses in Seaside and on North Fremont Street. It’s about ensuring connections, serving interests through outreach and addressing government regulation.
Membership benefits provide a path towards new customers, access to promotion and publicity and invitations to Monterey Peninsula receptions.
Big Sur, Carmel, Marina, Sand City, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach are additional areas that the Chamber serves.
Ernesto Altamirano, Communications and Public Engagement Specialist, described his experience.
“I was surprised how open they were,” Altamirano said. “They took the time to share their successes and what they wanted to accomplish.”
Altamirano works with the city of Seaside, handling press releases and social media content with relevant updates. The area has a significant Latino population, and he ensures that information is available in English and Spanish.
Interacting with local businesses owners in the region provides insight into the variety of people in this diverse place.
COVID-19 has affected business owners for better or worse. Staffing shortages, lower customer sales, and making rent payments while being closed are part of the battle.
Seaside Liquors is a local business that benefited from the past year because of the rising alcohol consumption during the pandemic. However, finding reliable staff remains a challenge for their management.
While some owners watched their business grow, others had to endure a prolonged rebuilding process.
Grant Taylor, CSUMB Alumni, and the Chamber’s Membership Sales Representative acknowledged the local’s generosity.
“They took the time to meet with us when they were busy,” Taylor said. “I appreciated that.”
Everyone has a story, and hearing from locals was an enriching experience, an opportunity to understand the community on a personal level.