The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in the community. A membership in the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is so much more than a piece of paper. Your support is an investment in the cooperation and abilities of the people in the community with whom you can join hands with to accomplish the goals you cannot achieve on your own. The chamber, through its staff, board of directors and its membership, is a conduit to the lawmakers of the various levels of government. Strategies to make our community a progressive place to operate and do business are consistently being put before government to the benefit of chamber members. Clearly, the stronger the membership in the chamber, the more positive the reaction will be from the powers that be. Think of us as your choir - the bigger the choir the louder the voice. Join us!
Strong Board of Directors
Led by a strong board of directors, the AVCOC has an excellent working relationship with the Port Alberni City Council, Regional Board, Port Alberni Port Authority, Community Futures, our MLA and MP. It is through these solid relationships that the chamber works for the betterment of the business people and the community in general.
Member Benefit Programs
As a long time member in good standing of the BC Chamber of Commerce, your local chamber has access to an array of membership benefits including Group Insurance (Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan) which we have recently succeeded in including a Port Alberni local agent as the Representative for the program. In addition to that we offer Merchant Services through First Data - a very comprehensive plan and one that is almost certainly more cost effective for local small business. Purolator, UPS, Payworks, Constant Contact, Evole Communications, Spark Insurance and we're soon planning to add Legal Shield to our list of benefits.
One of the most valuable exercises business people partake in is networking. The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce works hard to facilitate networking with a monthly dinner where all attendees are invited to introduce themselves and their product. Special guest speakers of interest to the community are featured regularly. The Chamber of Commerce also offers its members the chance to host specific events aimed at introducing and educating the business community. Our Dinner Meetings are held throughout the community partly as a means of showcasing our unique assets to all.
Throughout the year the Chamber produces a very well-read Newsletter that reaches over 800 local email boxes with every edition. Our newsletter sees excellent results with an 'open rate' of about 50% which is more than double the target levels suggested. Our click through rate is also tracking at double the usual meaning that people are engaged through this product and interested in what we are broadcasting.
The Chamber also operates the Visitor Centre, processing close to 50-thousand enquiries per year - enquiries about travel destinations, events, potential investment and community services. Members are given the opportunity to display brochures and business cards at the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre has a number of Video Screens that are typically populated by local Tourism Destinations. This helps us promote those facilities and all others through an engaging video presence.
Organizing events is what Port Alberni is well known for. We are the only BC community to host all four provincial games. The Chamber recognizes that events bring money and people into the area and those people then look for services that they may need during their visit. The Chamber over the past couple of years has dedicated its own resources and personnel to various events to assist in the promotion and success of them. Case in example is the very successful No. 7 Challenge which the Chamber took over in 2016. That event was a struggling one prior to 2016 yet it had a wonderful concept that simply needed some help. The event went from revenues of < $500.00 in any of its 3 years to > $14,000.00 in 2016. The success of that event morphed into a new event for 2017 called the Tri-Conic Challenge. www.triconic.ca That event is funded in part by CANADA 150 as part of their plans to showcase the Country during the 150 year celebrations. Visit our specific website for more information on that event.
The Chamber invested in an upgraded version of this website in 2016 through a partnership with Destination BC. The results can be found under the Visitor tab on the site or direct right here at: www.albernichamber.ca/visitor-info Within the site we have included all major local events along with some awesome pictures and information that highlights the reasons why people should consider each and every event.
Online Business Listings
The Internet has become more and more important for businesses trying to get their message out. More and more people are researching and shopping on-line. As a chamber member you will be given a directory listing on our busy site with a direct link to your site and even a map so prospective customers can easily find their way to your door. So, a membership in the chamber is indeed a lot more than a piece of paper. Contact our office today for more information about becoming a proud member of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber has plans for 2017 to include a BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT concept through our Social Media Platform(s). Find that page here at: www.facebook.com/albernichamber The idea will be to feature each member of the Chamber on a specific day during the calendar year. With over 300 Members we plan to publish Monday through Saturday. Watch for it. And, if you have something to share with us please do so! Let us help you communicate the successes of your business as well as what you, as an ownership group do to help the community prosper. Chances are nobody knows. Let us help you with that - cause you deserve it! Starting Jan 2, 2017.
New in 2014 was the development of an Adventure/Experience Map for the Alberni Valley. Our map is now in its third edition featuring more than 75 local businesses along with another 50 or more local attractions. The map consists of cool grahpics designed by our contracted graphic designer. The map itself is NOT to scale yet it clearly helps direct people around the community. This is done via the graphics themselves. Remember, a 'picture' is worth a thousand words and with more than 135 'pictures' on our Adventure Map we have more than 135000 words! In 2015 we witnessed an interaction between summer staff and a vistitor to the centre. The fellow was showing the visitor a typical street index map as the woman was looking for directions to Harbour Quay. Seasoned staff interjected and placed the Adventure Map in front of the trainee and the Visitor which immediately resulted in the Visitor seeing a graphic of a Food Service environment in the area. She quickly said to her partner...."We're going to ??????? !"
Street Index Tear-Off Map
In 2015 we developed a new Street Index Map due to Visitor Feedback suggesting that such a product was still desired. The map comes in pads of 50 units and its first run was quickly wiped out due to high demand. The map features the City of Port Alberni, much of the Regional District and on the reverse side it includes all of Sproat Lake as well as indepth information on things to do in the Valley over an A - Z listing set up.
Try Home First
In 2013 the Chamber started a unique Shop Local program aimed at 'rewarding' people for doing so vs. chastising them for not. This concept worked very well and resulted in more than $5000.00 being distributed through this initiative that year. Since then we've morphed it into something much bigger! Today (2016) it is now referred to as TRY HOME FIRST with the message simply indicating exactly that. For 2016 the Chamber has collected......100 $100.00 gift certificates through more than 90 local businesses. In turn the Chamber has invested in this program by purchased a $25.00 gift certificate for EACH $100.00 one received. Through December a Chamber representative will visit the partners of the program for each $100.00 card received and then interrupt a sale in progress. The customer will be awarded the Chamber purchased $25.00 gift certificate for supporting local business and then he/she and others nearby will all have their names entered into a draw for the grand prizing. Then in January 2017 the Chamber will announce our winners on 93.3 The Peak. Those winners will get: 1st prize of $2500.00 made up of 25 of the $100.00 gift cards. 2nd prize is $2000.00, 3rd is $1500.00, 4th is $1000.00, 5th is $500.00 and then there will be at least another 25 winners each of whom will receive a $100.00 gift card.
This program has grabbed the attention of the Provincial and Federal Govts both of whom have commented on the initiative and overall concept.
Alberni Valley Tourism Training Program (AVTTP)
Another program initiated by the Chamber is the AVTTP. Through a grant received via the support of the City of Port Alberni the Chamber beginning in December 2016 is facilitating a 20 month program aimed at training FRONT LINE STAFF/STUDENTS on Tourism, Customer Service (via Worldhost), Culture & Social Media. This is being done at no charge to the attendee and it includes 5 X 4 hour sessions. The students will receive a certificate and a package of gift certificates at the conclusion of their training. The value is such that those folks will now be able to provide better information to visitors and they'll no doubt do a better job for their employers. The program includes a goal of reaching at least 300 people through the life of the 20 months. Interested? Please call us!
The Chamber of Commerce developed a local food guide in 2016. The guide itself measures 4 inches by 5.5 thus it will fit in a shirt pocket, hip pocket or small purse. It includes consistent graphics and messaging through its 40 pages featuring more than 50 local food service establishments. That means that it features more than 82% of the locations in the city. The Chamber thanks the students of Ms. Anne Ostwald's Grade 11 class who participated in the development of the concept. Note that the guide will distributed through various local places. 20000 of them were printed in the summer of 2016.
Community Excellence Awards
Every year in April the Chamber of Commerce hosts the Community Excellence Awards. That event has become the biggest and most elaborate event in Port Alberni with upwards of 240 people attending. Many of the attendees are businesses from the entire area who have been identified by a select committe and the public in general as strong performers in their particular category. Please see our awards page for more information on this event.