Kamloops Chamber of Commerce changes name to reflect updated regional focus

Two Sun Peaks businesses are finalists in the 2022 Business Excellence Awards
Executive director Acacia Pangilinan presenting the finalists for the Business Excellence Awards. Photo from Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.

Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce is making an effort to raise awareness that it serves businesses around the region, including in Sun Peaks.

The Chamber began in 1896 to support local businesses and non-profit organizations. It has served Sun Peaks for a number of years, and changed its name from the ‘Kamloops Chamber’ to ‘Kamloops and District Chamber’ earlier this year to reflect it.

Acacia Pangilinan, the Chamber’s executive director, said the name change came after conversations with businesses in Sun Peaks and the surrounding area.

“[Business owners] didn’t actually feel that they were recognized as part of our organization because of our name,” Pangilinan said.

“Inclusivity is one of our core values, so for us to walk the walk, we thought it would be important that our name reflected the area that we represent … It’s also a commitment to our work with Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc.”

Pangilinan said the Chamber supports businesses in four main ways. The first is by providing money saving benefits through programs such as group insurance plans.

The organization also helps with marketing opportunities. Pangilinan said a lot of the Chamber’s members are small businesses with less than 10 staff members, to which they provide opportunities for exposure to the larger community.

The third area of support is advocacy within all forms of government — whether municipal, regional, provincial, federal or Indigenous governments.

“We work with them so that they can understand how business is doing and how they could potentially support businesses, especially in this part of economic recovery from the pandemic,” Pangilinan said.

She added the final area of support is through events and networking.

“Sometimes we’ll do industry-specific events to help industries learn and grow, and then we also do some larger community events,” Pangilinan said. “The Business Excellence Awards Program is probably the biggest one that everybody knows about.”

This year, two businesses in Sun Peaks are finalists for the Business Excellence Awards. Vertical Cafe is a finalist for the People in Motion Service Provider Staff Award for businesses with one to 10 staff, while Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre is a finalist for the Kamloops This Week Service Provider Award for businesses with over 11 staff members. Winners will be announced at the Business Excellence Awards Gala on Oct. 27.

Pangilinan said she hopes moving forward more businesses in Sun Peaks will realize these services are available to them, and that anyone interested in getting involved with the Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce should reach out.

“I’m happy to connect with businesses that are in the area that want to learn more,” Pangilinan said. “If people are wanting to connect, I’m happy to come and meet them. Or if people are wanting to find out how the Chamber can support their business, we’d love to chat with them about how we can do that.”

To learn more or for contact information, visit kamloopschamber.ca.

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