“Necessity is the Mother” of a San Miguel Chamber of Commerce
By Miki Landseadel
President of the San Miguel Chamber Development Group
Why is a Chamber of Commerce necessary in a town like San Miguel? Answer: San Miguel has a rich and vibrant history…but clearly in recent years has suffered a downward trend in terms of its capacity to meet the needs of its people or to encourage tourism beyond the mission and the adobe. Yet, a Chamber of Commerce can help drive the agenda of the community, help its business community grow and flourish to the benefit of local residents and provide additional incentives to all of those folks who come here to experience our mission and the area’s wines. A Chamber can offer the business community, as well as everybody else in San Miguel, the ability to raise and fulfill expectations of community vitality, self-reliance and self-respect.
Some time ago I began longing for a regular grocery store and hardware store in San Miguel. I am told there used to be both in our town. I grew tired of driving seven miles away to get those regular groceries that people in Paso take for granted as being available just around the corner from them or down the street. When I needed extra nails or paint, or an “Open” sign for my little business, I didn’t want to drive out of town to get it. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to see the little town of San Miguel become, once again, just as complacent about its access to everyday mundane needs as any other Central Coast town.
Happily, I wasn’t alone in this desire. Thanks to the San Miguel Resource Connection, which agreed to take us under their wing as a sub-committee, we were able to pursue the spectrum of similar wishes and support some rather serious envisioning from local people. San Miguel actually does have a group that understands the need for growth and development of our town’s businesses. Collectively, this group has taken some rather concerted first steps to create San Miguel’s very own Chamber of Commerce. Wishes have led to actions and so far, we have a Board of Directors that was duly elected in September 2011 at The 10th Street Café, in a special election called for by a number of concerned community members. The Board has already written and adopted its Bylaws for self-governance as well as produced Articles of Incorporation as part of the process of obtaining nonprofit status. We are moving forward at a good clip and should complete all necessary state and federal obligations in 2012. Once that’s done, we will no longer be part of SMRC, but will be fully recognized as a bonafide Chamber of Commerce. With our new independence, we plan to roll up our sleeves and begin improving local business advertisement as well as completing grant-writing for a grocery store.
In a way, I have a lot of nerve to think that I have any business helping to support business development in San Miguel, Ca. After all, I’ve been a Public High School English Teacher for most of my adult life and, therefore, what the heck do I know from corporate vs. small business or even between accounts receivable vs. accounts payable…I now own a small mercantile, but even though I’m relatively new at business ownership, I’ve learned one thing: you don’t have to have an MBA to recognize that it’s up to the community to figure out what matters to it and its future. All you have to be is someone who cares enough to do something about it and join other like-minded people in that endeavor. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish together.
For more information regarding the Chamber Development Group and its Board of Directors’ meetings or plans for business development in San Miguel, contact Miki Landseadel at (805) 975-6996. We invite membership. Anyone joining The Chamber Development Group this year will be recognized as a “Charter Member” of the Chamber of Commerce once it has achieved its nonprofit status. The group will have a general meeting once again in January 2012. We’ll keep you posted.
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