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Now, more than ever, the Westside business community has to be promoted and uplifted.
"Especially with COVID, we have to continually be moving forward," says Amber Hall, the new president of the 350-member Greater Westside Board of Trade.
"Our strategic plan for 2021 and 2022 is to support our members in an ever-changing world."
The board of trade's Shop Local Win Local campaign and contest is aimed at promoting the Westside's business community, keeping dollars local and encouraging people to always think local first.
In the past, the Westside, which has a population of almost 40,000 and includes the City of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation, has often been considered a bedroom community of Kelowna.
But with its concentration of population, own governance, commercial clusters, industry and tourism, the Westside has become an established community.
Hall, who's been on the Westside board for four years, knows many businesses and citizens have suffered through COVID.
But she also knows of many small businesses that have adapted and if not exactly thrived, survived the pandemic.
She says some high-tech companies have done well, wineries have figured out ways to keep going, including the opening of a new winery, Crown & Thieves, and restaurants have adjusted to more take out and delivery.
Hall is an account representative with Telus for small business solutions and new growth markets, so she sees the challenges and opportunities for companies first hand.
"The board of trade office is open, but all our activities right now are virtual," explains Hall.
"I can't wait until we can meet again and grow and the new board of directors to serve members even more effectively."
The 2021 board
- President: Amber Hall, Telus
- Vice-president: Ed Stephens, Daybreak Rotary
- Past-president: Craig Garries, Postnet Printing & Signs
- Sarah Sabo, Aries Accounting
- Julie Pringle, Snap Commercial Photography
- Bryan Fitzpatrick, Pushor Mitchell Lawyers
- John Whitehead, Whitehead & Associates
- Marci Paynter, New Dawn Marketing
- James McCormick, Valley First Credit Union
- Tina Bisson, Manchester Signs
- Dr. Lauren Tompkins, West Kelowna Integrative Health Care
- Jenny Money, Westbank First Nation
- John Perrott, City of West Kelowna
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