Mountain Community Chamber of Commerce
Pushing Back in 2023
In our choice to live in an area surrounded by seasonal beauty comes a small sacrifice of not having big city conveniences. In particular, the challenges small businesses face up here is no exception. Add to that a global pandemic that forced us to make all kinds of changes, an economic inflation that has been brutal on most of us and it’s been a heck of a past couple years. How can we grow during such tumultuous times?
At one point before the pandemic hit us, our Chamber board had only 3 members. We did have some people join the board but they didn’t stay long. Being a Chamber board member requires a certain level of commitment because the work is constant. It’s even harder with fewer members.
In the past few years, Deborah Turner and I recruited to the board Kathleen and Mel Weinstein (Artworks Community Gallery), Gary Wilson (Mountain Properties), Lindsay Larson-Call (Family Resource Center) and Elizabeth Abshire (Caveman Cavey’s Pizza). This is an amazing group of people who have been very dedicated to the Chamber and to the betterment of the community.
All board members are volunteers. We work for free. The Chamber is a membrane, a network, an embodiment of collective businesses. It is as strong as its total amount of members. The more we have, the stronger we are.
During the last couple of years, in the “working from home” mode, the Chamber turned its focus to improving physical attributes in the community utilizing new strong relationships with the county government and other local agencies. Some of the Chamber’s recent accomplishments include:
Kern County Public Works
• Scheduled road repair in Lebec from Flying J to freeway in spring of 2023
• LA County Public Works repaired the road under the freeway
• Road work around park & post office
• Road work on Frazier Mtn. Park Rd. in Cuddy Valley
• Road work on Monterey Trail
• Multiple fence repairs in Lebec (the white fence opposite Flying J)
• Trash pickups in Lebec along white fencing
• Brush clearance along Frazier Mtn. Park Rd.
• Dead trees removed along Mil Potrero
Kern County Parks & Rec.
• Replaced lights at the park basketball court reducing light bleeding
• Hosted town meetings for community input regarding Prop 68 Regional Park Grant submission (unfortunately, the Grant was not awarded by the State to Frazier Park)
• Supervisor Scrivner allocated approximately $300,000 to Frazier Park for repairs and upgrades
• Second meeting held for groups that utilize the park building. A list of repair work and upgrades was generated and submitted to the county
•Replaced Freeway entrance signs
• We coordinated and provided the Chamber Resident Snow Tag Program: CHP Snow Play meeting headed by Sgt. Karr. Many agencies attended including KC Public Works, Ventura and Kern Sheriffs, LA & Kern Roads Dept., Search & Rescue, KC Fire Dept. etc. Mountain residents should know the coordinated efforts from all the agencies involved in controlling mountain activities and traffic during our snow seasons.
Kern Fire Safe Council/CERT
• Created emergency preparedness workbooks for businesses and residents
• Made those workbooks available on the chamber website
• Coordinated free COVID shots at the park building with Adventist Health
• Streetscape/planter clean up by FFA/Lee Bizzini
• Helped the Mountain Communities Family Resource Center get COVID testing supplies
• The chamber wrote a letter of support for Lindsay Larson-Call, the director of the Family Resource Center who, submitted a grant proposal for the Broadband Initiative for improving digital literacy.
• Started a conversation with Kern Administrative Office for broadband
data mapping and expanding high-speed internet service to areas
without service and low income areas in Frazier Park.
Understanding what the Chamber does is important so that your expectations are in line with our actual function. We provide tools and avenues to assist you with your businesses. Also, as of October 2021, I am the new Field Representative for Kern County, District 2, so our government advocacy is stronger than ever.
The Chamber’s territory goes north to the Tejon Outlets, east to Neenach, south to Gorman and west to Ventucopa. Our website is very robust. We are constantly adding updated, relevant information. Please access our website often at: www.mychamber.com.
There has been much loss in these last two years. I have lost two friends, a band mate and my mother who had a stroke last year losing her mobility and speech. This community has also lost two of its business owners, Falcon’s Nest and Ace Hardware, respectively. Their involvement and contributions to this community over the years were exemplary, and their generosity ran deep. We are grateful to have had them in our community and wish them the best. The Chamber board also suffered a loss when our Vice President, Kathleen Weinstein, retired from the board. We thank Kathy for her dedication to the Chamber and her continued service to the community by serving on the Kern Fire Safe Council and the Meals on Wheels program.
The Chamber has also fallen victim to theft. Our batteries that store power to light the advertising billboards at night have been stolen four times in the past two years. We are looking to “beef up” the storage boxes for the batteries. If any of you contractors have any suggestions, the Chamber would certainly appreciate your input. Other than that, our billboard-advertising program is very popular, and it is a great way to get your business’s name out there.
For 2023, the Chamber will continue to follow through with community projects especially with the park building and road repairs in Lebec. In 2022 we started having social mixers again for the businesses and the community’s residents alike. We will continue to have these so people can network and connect. It has proven to be a great success. We hope to see many of you at these upcoming events. There’s a waiting list but, if you’re interested in hosting a mixer, please contact us for further information at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to thank all of the current board members: Kathy, Gary, Linsday, Elizabeth and Mel. Special thanks to Debbie (our treasurer) for stepping up and being my right hand during such challenging times. Debbie is also on the board of the MCFRC and is now an appointed official as an ETUSD School Board Trustee.
I’d like to thank all the current active members who belong to the Chamber. If you’re not a member, then please consider joining. It’s only $100 a year for the basic plan. Think of the Chamber as a conduit for your contribution to the greater good towards a community that supports you!
Thank you and Happy New Year,
Mountain Communities Chamber of Commerce