Join the Chamber

 

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!

Recent achievements through our Advocacy include: Lobbying for local businesses when the City of Port Alberni was considering the purchase of a Garbage Truck at a cost of +/- $350,000. when such trucks were and are already operating in the city by....many of the city's taxpayers. In 2018 / 2019 the Chamber initiated, along with the Port Renfrew Chamber, an approach to the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Through our advocacy we formed an Island wide group - 18 Chambers along with the Provincial body - the BC Chamber of Commerce through which we then lobbied govt to change their rather drastic closure plans. While the end result wasn't the desired outcome we nonetheless were successful in keeping the Alberni Inlet open for all species of Salmon and we secured a 1 NM extension from the west coast of the Island which was very important for our colleagues along the coast. We are also working with local Government on many other projects led by our desire to improve the 'welcome approach' to Port Alberni.

Strong Board of Directors

Led by a strong board of directors, the AVCOC has an excellent working relationship with the Port Alberni City Council, Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, 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, Spark Insurance, and others.

For your information the First Data Program offered to Chamber Members accross the Country has resulted in significant savings for many of our Members. In 2016 we noticed that Houle Printing was using First Data but we hadn't been made aware of that. So, we contacted FD and ended up saving Houle Printing more than $1000.00 per year. Same thing happened in 2017 this time with Clydesdale Automotive. In their case the savings were / are DOUBLE what Houle saved. And, in late 2018 we again tripped over a client of ours using First Data. This one - Alberni Industrial Marine. A significant user of Payment Systems. They will save considerably as well.  Our most recent success story was with Trends Design who now save at least $500.00 through their Chamber Membership.

We can help your business SAVE money! Call Bill

Networking Opportunities

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 43% 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. 

Member Spotlight

Throughout the year the Chamber features its membership through a program called Member Spotlight. Watch for it on our Social Media links in particular FACEBOOK. The Chamber will interview its membership at some point in the year and then feature that organization on any day. A wonderful way to tell the story of your business to the wider audience. Many of these features have generated business almost immediately for our membership. 

Promotional Services

The Chamber also operates the Visitor Centre, processing over 40-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. Our Visitor Centre now hosts a 'Mobile component' which includes a later model mini-van that is decaled up to help promote the community at various events and destinations.

Community Events

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 was funded in part by CANADA 150 as part of their plans to showcase the Country during the 150 year celebrations. The Tri-Conic Challenge occured over the Canada Day Weekend in 2017 and through the event the entire city got involved with major events all day on Canada Day at the Harbour Quay Waterfront. The Tri-Conic Challenge will continue as an annual event with the Chamber taking the lead on the event. 

The Chamber also hosts the annual Paper Chase run that we brought back to Port Alberni in 2017. It is estimated to attract upwards of 400 people for the 2018 version. The Chamber is also brought back Light-Up Alberni in December of  2017  and will continue to bring this event to the community. The Chamber also developed Breakfast with Santa held at the McLean Mill in December of 2017 where more than 300 people were welcomed at the site arriving by train of course. They were treated to a wonderful breakfast, some great music, Santa was there and he brought something - giftwrapped - for everyone! 

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.

Adventure Guide

New in 2014 was the development of an Adventure/Experience Map for the Alberni Valley. Our map is now in its fourth edition featuring more than 100 local businesses along with another 50 or more local attractions. The map consists of cool grahpics designed by our contracted graphic designer. The guide (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 150 'pictures' on our Adventure Guide we have more than 150000 words!

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. This map is sponsored by Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses featuring Pachena Bay Campground and Kiixon Tours.

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 (2017) it is now referred to as TRY HOME FIRST with the message simply indicating exactly that. For 2016 the Chamber  collected......100 $100.00 gift certificates through more than 90 local businesses. In turn the Chamber has invested in this program by purchasing 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 the following January the Chamber will announce our winners on 93.3 The Peak. The winners will reap the rewards of this program.

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. This program ended in June of 2018 but has now been followed by another one currently under construction. 

Our participants over the next 20 months (Oct 2018 - May 2020) will receive opportunity to join us for a series of Workshops, Lunch 'n Learns and Women in Business programs. Watch our Social Media Pages, Newsletter and Website for more information. 

The subsequent program to the AVTTP is a Business Entrepreneur Training Program that we started in the fall of 2018. That program has far exceeded our initial goals - basically by double. The fall of 2019 will see us develop a day long session for Women in Business and within it we will be inviting well-known female leaders to Port Alberni as part of at least 2 feature key note speaking arrangments. This program lasts well into 2020.

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. Our growth in this event has seen us host about 80 people in 2013, 175 in 2014, 200 in 2015 and 240 in each of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.  We acknowledge the support of our Title Sponsors along the way who have helped us grow this event. 2013 - no title, 2014 the See Group, 2015 Sproat Lake Landing, 2016 Cheryl MacLean Financial, 2017 Westcoast Home Hardware, 2018 Alberni Valley Gaming Association and for 2019 The San Group. 

Initial plans for 2020 include the Roaring Back to the 20's!