Evaluating the benefits of a strong economy

How valuable do you think a strong economy is? How about our local economy? I'm sure as we enter a time of financial uncertainty the importance of maintaining a strong economy is uppermost all of our minds.

Can you identify what our local economy is? It's the restaurants along Honolulu, the local carpenters and handymen, the stores that sell everything from food to trinkets to chlorine for our pools.

One entity that spends each working day nurturing and promoting our local economy is our local chambers of commerce.

I've been a director on the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce board for the past several years. Most people think that the chambers are only for business people, for those who operate businesses in our area. And they do a great job of that. The chambers host monthly 'mixers' where local residents and businesses can get together and swap ideas on how to build and improve their businesses. These mixers are actually a lot of fun and many times include music, food and drink. As I said, they're open to both residential and business members of the chamber.

The chambers also host some of the valley's biggest events. For example, Oktoberfest.

This party welcomes tens of thousands of people to Montrose for a night of fun. The Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce organizes and presents Oktoberfest and, as I'm sure anyone who has attended can attest, the huge amount of time and money it takes to put this on is obvious.

And of course there's the Hometown Country Fair.

Held at Crescenta Valley Park in September, this is a fairly new event hosted by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. The first year it was roasting, last year it was raining, so this Sept. 13 event should have perfect weather.

In addition to these major events, the chambers also support or operate a dozen other smaller affairs. Many of these are fundraising in nature. These funds, in addition to maintaining the upkeep of the chamber offices, go to scholarships for our local children. And that's the other half of what the chambers do for the area.

They support the residents by providing a directory that gives a listing of its members and the services they provide. I have several friends that go to that directory first whenever they need some type of service.

As I said, the chambers provide scholarships for our students, financial support for various projects and strong leadership within our community. They also monitor legislation that is being contemplated in Sacramento and Washington and are quick to offer a point of view to our legislators that benefits the foothill community.

We're fortunate that many of our businesses are truly “locally owned,” so when you utilize them you're helping the community overall.

For those businesses or residents that have never considered becoming a member in the Montrose-Verdugo City and Crescenta Valley Chambers of Commerce, make sure and visit page 27. Both these chambers prepare informational pieces every week for publication that spotlight new members and community events that are taking place.

If you take the time to learn about membership, you'll discover that it's a small price to pay to become involved and the rewards are great — for you and the community.

ROBIN GOLDSWORTHY is city editor of the Crescenta Valley Sun. Reach her at (818) 790-8774, ext. 14, or e-mail robin.goldsworthy@latimes.com

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