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Powell River Chamber of Commerce embarks on next era

New manager focuses on business support in post-COVID landscape
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Powell River Chamber of Commerce president Dave Formosa and manager Sheilah Denholm.

Powell River Chamber of Commerce is experiencing a fresh start under the new leadership of Sheilah Denholm, a dedicated manager passionate about the community’s post-COVID-19 recovery. With a background in managing businesses in the region, Denholm brings firsthand experience of the challenges faced during the pandemic.

Chamber president Dave Formosa extends his gratitude to the former manager Kim Miller and looks forward to the future with optimism.

“On behalf of our local chamber of commerce board, I would like to thank Kim for her years as leader and manager; we wish her all the best in her retirement,” says Formosa. “The Powell River chamber will always be grateful for her stewardship, leadership and dedication to our local business community.”

Formosa expresses confidence in the chamber's new direction.

“With COVID-19 largely behind us, we are thrilled to have Sheilah leading the chamber. Her capable hands, supported by our enthusiastic and diverse board, ensure that we operate at full capacity.”

The chamber is committed to addressing the needs of the local business community, keeping a close watch on developments from city hall and the provincial government. This vigilance aims to assist members wherever possible and be a reliable resource for new business enquiries, local and from outside the community.

Emphasizing the importance of local support, Formosa encourages businesses to join the chamber as members.

“Your support is crucial for maintaining a vibrant, member-funded organization dedicated to the overall well-being of our business community,” he explains.

Having managed three different local businesses, two of which closed due to COVID-19, Denholm feels deeply connected to her role.

“The past three years have been incredibly tough for local businesses,” shares Denholm. “My role is focused on rebuilding the chamber from the ground up, adapting to a post-COVID world.”

Her focus is on rebuilding the chamber's foundations and renewing and reconnecting with the business community. This includes revamping the administrative office and reintroducing what is available to the business sector.

Denholm says the chamber is working on various initiatives, including a revised benefits package that offers discounts for members across different businesses.

Katrina Sinclair, the chamber's benefits representative, said the chamber’s group insurance plan offers a vital lifeline for small businesses concerned about rising health and dental costs.

“Our plan provides affordable, guaranteed coverage for one- and two-person firms, with no medical questionnaires required,” says Sinclair.

This plan supports small businesses and is designed to grow with them, covering up to nine employees. Additionally, the plan includes options for HR, legal and accounting support and an employee assistance program to ensure employees are at their best.

In a major change in the chamber's event calendar, the Business Awards Gala, traditionally held in February, will move to a spring gala on April 20, 2024. The chamber is also excited about the Small Business Rebate Program, launched in collaboration with BC Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. This initiative offers funds to small businesses for repairs related to crime and vandalism or for implementing preventative measures.

Looking forward to 2024, Denholm is eager to kick off networking and social mixers, responding to a significant demand within the community. These events provide a platform for businesses to connect, support each other and engage in the chamber's activities.

As part of her outreach, Denholm invites community members to visit the chamber for meet-and-greet opportunities.

“Come by the chamber, meet me, and let's discuss how we can work together for the betterment of our business community.” 

For more information or to schedule a meeting, call 604.485.4051 or email office@powellriverchamber.com.