Lafayette Chamber
The end of 2020 is here, and no one is in the office. 
We are working remote, but you may not notice ... 
 

Where do we start? 2020 rocked our world … literally the entire world. As this year comes to close many are happy to see it go. But we must take a moment to reflect and be thankful for the silver linings.  


January welcomed our new Chamber  Board. 2019 President Christina Alba (right) passed the baton to John McCormick (left) as our 2020 President.

We launched new programs like Chamber Connectors and celebrated Jennifer Perlmutter (center), with a sold-out dining room at the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa honoring her as our Businessperson of the Year
February showcased a ribbon cutting for Pillar Cowork and a mixer at Formula 3 Fit. 

Rick and Janet Cronk were unanimously nominated Citizens of the Year. 

We started off March with ribbon cuttings at Chroma Realty/Lamorinda Co-work & Edward Jones Financial - Fred Steingraf
And then everything changed.
Lafayette Chamber
Covid-19 challenges began. California was given strict Stay at Home Orders and shut down most of our state. We quickly learned the term essential business and how it can evolve. Stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitizer, learning to wear a mask in public became routine; elbow bumps, bows and waves took the place of handshakes and hugs. Work from home became the new norm for those that were able. Zoom was introduced. Front porches became our event centers.
Not given much choice, we quickly pivoted.  As a Chamber, we redirected our efforts, refocused on advocacy for our business community and vowed to help get us through this.  
 
We coordinated with the City on Business Resources. We joined the schools and parent organizations to promote a Community Can’t Be Cancelled Campaign. We launched gift guides for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduations with direct links to our member sites, encouraging our audience to support their neighbors and shop local first. 
We welcomed the Community’s response to get involved and help! Our Friends of the Chamber grew from a small handful to nearly 50 new Friends. Quite a few guests from the Citizens of the Year dinner that had to be rescheduled, then canceled, chose to redirect their refunds to our Friends program. Everyone needs friends these days and we are most appreciative. Other guests chose to donate their refunds to the Lafayette Community Foundation. We were able to forward $3000 on their behalf to LCF to continue helping other organizations in need. 
The spring was filled with countless updates to the County restrictions and event cancellations. We launched the webpage Who's Open to help reduce confusion. We physically took to the streets to put up A-frames for open businesses, distribute information flyers and set up barricades. We collaborated with the City to convert parking spaces and sidewalks into safe outdoor dining areas. 
Barbara Gilmore, our long-standing Membership Director retired as planned but unfortunately, we couldn’t bid her the appropriate farewell. Board Members gathered in masks far apart in the office parking lot with signs, tears, flowers and gifts to wish her the best. 

Thank you to Lafayette Social for their special online tribute to Barbara!
Lafayette Strong
The Chamber Team - Jay, Linda, Holly and Sara doubled down. We proudly still maintain our membership base of 575+ members with some dropped memberships along the way, but on the upside, we added 70 new members in 2020! Each new business comes with their own story. We can’t do ribbon cuttings, so we went out to meet and snap a photo with our new members. We shared these Welcome posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. We continue to highlight members and thank our renewing members on social media. 

Your success is key to our success as we are all in this together.  
September was about spreading kindness The City of Lafayette proclaimed the days of September 1-21, 2020 as “BeKind 21” in the City of Lafayette.

#BeKind21 is the brainchild of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the Chamber joined many in pledging participation. We showcased opportunities to participate during the 21 days. We organized a food drive for the Contra Costa and Solano Food Bank and collected over 2,000 pounds of food donations.
Another highlight would be our recent Res Run for Education race - we were still able to hold it in October.

Reimagined, but a real fundraising event, people could participate on their own time - safely and completely virtual through an app-based system. You may have participated along with over 1600 of your fellow neighbors. Through our registrations, sponsorships and donations the Lafayette Chamber was excited to give back a record $32,185.17 direct to our local public schools!  
We updated our Restaurant Guide. It is not yet in print, but click the link for the digital version (PDF). Odd timing, as restaurants are now shut back down except for take-out, but yet a good reminder to the community that our restaurants are here and need community support. 

Grab a gift certificate or order take-out. These businesses need us more than ever. 
November to December brought more cancellations and increased restrictions that had lessened throughout the previous 9 months.

We now find ourselves back with Stay-at-Home orders to close out 2020 and have plenty of questions. We even introduced Q&A with Jay on Wednesdays so people had a place to come for answers.
The Chamber joined our It’s A Wonderful Life co-sponsors Branagh Development and the Dana Green Team in continuing to fund the downtown twinkle lights along Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Lafayette Plaza Park.

Although we couldn’t be together, we asked the community to help us Make the Holiday Season Bright and turn on their holiday lights in solidity on the first Sunday in December. 
We launched the Holiday Gift Guide featuring our Chamber Members to encourage the community to shop locally, support your home town and keep your sales tax dollars here in Lafayette or in our surrounding towns.  
Sadly, we quietly said goodbye to one of our own heroes, Karen Rose, in November. Pictured here front left beside Barbara Gilmore and in front of Natalie Lane and Karen's sister, Adele.

For many people in our community, she was the face of the Chamber for many years and a community cheerleader. She lived for the Art and Wine Festival, she retired from the Chamber 8 years ago and still returned every year to help close the streets, set up tents and help throughout the weekend. Slightly ironic that this year there wasn’t a festival to be held.  
We sent out a dedicated email blast for #givingtuesday and year-end on November 30 encouraging everyone to support our over 65 non-profit Chamber members this holiday season. 

This newsletter is sent out monthly, if you would like to receive it let us know. And if you are a non-profit chamber member that has something to share or promote in 2021 be sure to send it to Holly.  
Our main form of communication is our weekly email blast. It typically is sent on a Monday. We also send important announcements through this distribution. And if we have learned anything this year – information changes quickly. Please do not miss these weekly updates.  
 
We continue to look for the silver linings, ways to promote you, your efforts and our community during these challenging times. Our hearts go out to those in need. As 2020 closes, we know many livelihoods that have been altered and we are sorry for your struggles and losses. We welcome a New Year ahead. Bring on 2021! 
 
Thank you for continuing to believe in us and support our efforts! 

Your Chamber Team - Jay Lifson, Linda Carlson, Sara Regan and Holly Sonne
The Lafayette Chamber is providing COVID-19 business and community resources through a number of channels. Please visit the following for further information:
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Lafayette Chamber Logo

Jay Lifson, Executive Director 
251 Lafayette Circle, Ste 150, Lafayette, CA
Virtual Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-4pm, Friday 9am-1pm
Closed December 23 at noon through January 4 at 9am.


(925) 284-7404 | info@lafayettechamber.org
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