Tomorrow, Dec 8 from 5 to 7 pm , you're invited to celebrate the holiday season at the Chair's Holiday Reception hosted by Max Furniture and Ruffell & Brown Window Fashions

Click here to register!
Business Community Honours Mel Cooper
Local philanthropist and businessman Mel Cooper will receive The Chamber's Governors' Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Greater Victoria Business Awards on Thurs, Apr 20, 2017.  
"Mel is a great community leader and is very deserving of this award," said Chair of the Board of Governors, Frank Bourree. "The impact he had on this community as both a businessman and an active volunteer on countless charities and boards is profound."

Mel is as well-known for his business acumen as he is for his work with local charities as well his many hours volunteering on boards across the region. He had a long career in radio and as owner, helped to establish CFAX 1070 as a major media player. Mel's current projects include acting as Chair of the Telus Victoria Community Board. Mel is a recipient of the Order of Canada (1989) and the Order of British Columbia (1992).

Nominations are still open in the other 13 business awards categories. Click here to nominate or learn more.

Chamber News
Opportunities and connections
Chamber Events
Chair's Holiday Reception
Prodigy Group Mingles
Business Mixers

Businesses Rally for Refugees

The Chamber pulled together employers, provincial government representatives and immigrant-serving community associations Thursday Dec 1 at Real English Victoria Language Co-Op for the community support project: Syrian Refugees to Work.
"Syrian Refugees to Work is an informal project organized by The Chamber to make connections between the refugees, language trainers, and businesses," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "We hope this project will  help refugees successfully find their way to employment while filling much-needed vacancies."
This event was attended by potential employers like Farmer Construction, Slegg Building Materials, Van Isle Paint and others, with more than 20 current job vacancies.
"As part of my work with The Chamber, I interact daily with Greater Victoria businesses and found there is great interest in employing the refugees," said Chamber account representative Peter Miles. "With the only real barrier being functional English language proficiency, it only made sense for The Chamber to help connect employers and supporting community agencies to get the refugees where they need to be - at work."
"Real English Victoria Language Co-op is pleased to take part in Syrian Refugees to Work," said Greg Demmons, Board President for Real English Victoria Language Co-op. "The turnout was inspiring, and impressed upon us the importance of our role providing job-related English training."

Over the past year, 350 Syrian refugees have come to Victoria under community and government sponsorship. All of the refugees are given financial and social supports for one year or until they are self-sufficient, whichever happens first. For many, that year is coming swiftly to an end.

Real English Victoria Language Co-Op: member since 2016
Farmer Construction Ltd.: member since: 2013
Slegg Building Materials: member since 2013
Van Isle Paint: member since 2016
Mike Murphy
Food Purveyor of 10 Acres Bistro | Commons | Kitchen | Farm

What is your favourite thing about your job? That everyone can relate to my business through eating, drinking and entertaining. Ironically that can also be the most irritating thing! What is the one thing no one understands or knows about your business? Understanding that my own business success relies in big part, on the success of other restaurants and shops. Downtown businesses in general thrive - making it a popular destination for both the locals and tourists - when we are all doing a great job. Business lunch or after work drinks? I encourage both! What is one job you could never do? Wedding Coordinator. Where do you like to eat in Greater Victoria? Over the last several years the quality of food options - be it charcuterie shops, bakeries, restaurants, niche eateries and bars - has improved so much it's hard to pick just one! 

More about Mike - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found inside the November Business Matters.  

Spinnakers Re-opens!
Just 12 days after having a significant fire, Spinnakers Brewpub's upstairs and downstairs are open and ready to bring you holiday cheer.

The damage from the fire was not as bad as originally thought and with owner Paul Hadfield paying for the renovations out of pocket, while waiting for insurance, the restaurant was able to reopen quickly.

"It's great news to have our famous brewpub back in action through Paul's determination," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt.

The Playing Field & Short-Term Rentals 
As we continue to embrace the sharing economy, short-term residential rental providers such as Airbnb are gaining a larger presence in Greater Victoria. Currently, they do not fall under any of the employment, tax, health and safety or insurance regulations as do traditional accommodation service providers.
Short-term residential rentals can add capacity when tourism is booming, bringing more visitors to Greater Victoria than otherwise possible, supporting local businesses and our economy. During inevitable downturns, however, these units will compete with established accommodation service providers, detracting from their ability to remain viable and to provide stability in our community in terms of jobs, external investment and services.  
Visitors who choose Greater Victoria as a destination often do so as the result of the coordinated and ongoing marking efforts of the accommodation sector through Tourism Victoria. 
"The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce welcomes short-term residential rental providers, provided the playing field is level," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "Given short term residential rentals  are clearly commercial in nature, they should fall under the same regulatory system as traditional accommodation service providers." 
Know a Business with Outstanding Customer Service?
If you do, nominate them for the 2017 Outstanding Customer Service Award!

This award honours a business that:  
  • demonstrates exceptional customer service,
  • serves as a role model, mentor or example of excellence to other businesses, and
  • exhibits a commitment to the community.
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2016 Outstanding Customer Service finalists below.  

Winner: S.A.L.T.S. Sail & Life Training Society
Finalist: The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer
15 Years of Supporting Storytellers
Peggy Kulmala of CPRS-VI and Rina Hadziev of GVPL with the PR collection Dec 1.
Since 2001, the Canadian Public Relations Society of Vancouver Island (CPRS-VI) has made it easier for public relations professionals to stay current in their field through annual grants to the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL). 

CPRS-VI contributes 25% of the interest generated from it's investments  - to the tune of about $400 each year.
"This generous donation allows us to expand the depth and breadth of GVPL's  public relations collection," says GVPL's coordinator of collections and technical services Rina Hadziev. "The commitment CPRS-VI has made to supporting their field is unique and special. We're glad to be part of this partnership, to play a role in helping public relations professionals improve their craft."

 GVPL: member since 2008
CPRS-VI: member since 2013
Welcome to Our Newest Members!

Chamber Members Recognized Nationally
Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa received the Business of the Year Award and Eagle Wing Tours Ltd. picked up the Sustainable Tourism Award at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's (TIAC) 2016 Canadian Tourism Awards.

"Myself and everyone at TIAC are honoured to recognize the outstanding innovation, dedication and expertise all of our nominees and winners have put forward," said TIAC President and CEO, Charlotte Bell. "Recognizing and celebrating these accomplishments is very important, as these industry successes ensure that Canada continues to be seen as a world-class destination."

Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa: member since 2010  
Eagle Wing Tours Ltd.: member since 2013
Need to Get Your Message to the Business Community?
Consider advertising in Business Matters! Distributed to 2,000 business owners and decision-makers in our community, and also available in a digitized format on The Chamber's website.

Book your advertising for 2017 and save up to 25%! If you book Business Matters ads now you'll also unlock special deals on BizNews or box ads on The Chamber's website. The Chamber's online advertising options are a great way to get more responses to a survey, advertise an event or promote a sale.

For more information click here and to book give us a call at 250-383-7191.
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