Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fernie Chamber remained in a strong position to serve its membership. With approximately 300 member businesses and organizations, we are the largest business association in the Elk Valley. The great team we had in place when the pandemic hit allowed us to be fluid and provide timely information and supports. The Fernie Chamber was also able to execute big-picture projects that will help our community recover from the pandemic and bounce back even stronger.
So, what did the Fernie Chamber accomplish in 2020 and what does your membership with our organization support?
- Advocacy and lobbying – in a “normal” year the Chamber of Commerce network works very hard behind the scenes to make sure your voice as a local business is heard by all three levels of government. Our advocacy machine was in overdrive this year making sure that municipal, provincial and federal governments understood the situation on the ground for Fernie businesses and making sure that government support programs were working as intended.
- Networking and connectivity – the Fernie Chamber hosted ten Zoom calls during the first wave of the pandemic providing the business community with direct updates from our MLA, our MP, our Mayor, our local hospital, Tourism Fernie and Teck. We also co-hosted four BBB (Business, Beer & Banter) networking events in 2020 (two in person and two virtually on Zoom), as well as a virtual AGM.
- Launched the new Work In Fernie workforce attraction website and online job board to attract much-needed labour to our region. Backed by a full SEO, Google and social media campaign, the website was pivoted to attract Canadians for this winter ski season realizing the lack of foreign workers due to the pandemic.
- Opened a brand new non-profit community coworking space in downtown Fernie – 2nd Edition Coworking. With a grand opening planned in January 2021, this new coworking space will be a hub of business activity and entrepreneurship for many years to come by providing a flexible work environment for local and visiting professionals.
- Launched a brand new Fernie Chamber website to better serve our membership with a user-friendly experience packed with resources and information for businesses.
- Hosted a very successful Griz Days 2020 winter festival – the last time our community was able to gather in person prior to the pandemic. Watch a highlight reel from the festival here.
- Celebrated the local business community with a modified Fernie Business Excellence Awards. Watch the full 2020 awards gala here or at the bottom of the Awards page on our website.
- Hosted several professional development workshops for our members on topics including branding, marketing and cash flow management. We also pivoted the Fernie Ambassador Program and provided five virtual sessions this fall.
- Launched a back-to-basics “Help Keep Us Open For Business” COVID campaign.
- Launched a “Shop Local Holiday Kick Off” marketing campaign leading into BC Shop Local week and the holidays.
- Stepped in as lead organizer for Canada Day 2020 virtual celebrations in collaboration with other community groups. Watch the video here.
- Co-hosted provincial election all candidates forum virtually.
- Launched the Fernie Business Pulse Check to collect data from our membership that will be used to guide the Chamber’s decision making and better support our members.
The Fernie Chamber wishes you and your families a safe and joyous holiday season, and a much more prosperous and optimistic new year!
We look forward to supporting all of you in 2021 and our shared goal of