Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Growth & Viewpoints

“Growth, in some curious way, I suspect, depends on being always in motion just a little bit, one way or another.” Norman Mailer’s words seem particularly relevant to our community of Seal Beach. No matter what happens in the larger community, there is steady motion, sometimes forward, other times backwards, perhaps even sideways.

As we enter the heart of the “visitor season,” the summer months, what is in and what is out? What has been happening with the business community? Change has happened in the Shops at Rossmoor as Panera Bread, Subway and Yogurtland all have indicated they will be coming to the center. Main Street has said goodbye to the AT&T store and welcomed another clothing shop, along with Ensemble, the new boutique, next to the Crema Café. These new businesses will definitely serve both visitors and residents.

Our restaurants and hotels seem to be doing quite well with high occupancy and solid sales. If you are having out of town visitors, be sure to check them into the Pacific Inn, Hampton Inn or Ayres Hotel – they all have great rates and are perfect for visiting family. Make a commitment to dine out in one or more of our restaurants. Try something new and if you like it, write a Yelp or other online review to help bring more visitors to our town.

With this in mind, the Chamber marketing committee has developed a vistor’s rack card which will be strategically located at airports, hotels and visitor centers in our region. We hope to continue to drive new customers to our centers of shopping. D on’t forget to use a Seal Beach City map to help navigate our town or to share with visitors. Also, be on the look out for our new 2010-11 Community and Visitor’s Guide, which is being produced by the Chamber again. Full of resources, information, business and content, it will be the official guide to our business community for the next two years.

On the governmental front, we were hoping for some closure to the Title 11, the comprehensive zoning code. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as it was sent back to the Planning Commission for further consideration. It should be of concern that there seems to be resistance to merchants advertising and marketing their businesses with A-frame signs. Further, there seems to be growing discontent with our City Manager, David Carmany from at least one councilman. From the Chamber perspective, Mr. Carmany has been one of the best things that has happened to City Hall. He has consistently been focused on improving our community and moving city staff to a greater degree of customer service to everyone.

With the Car Show and EDGE (Educate, Develop & Grow the Economy) Seal Beach Seminar series, over, the Chamber is ready for the annual Summer Concert Series. It is going to be a wonderful series and as other communities are wondering how they can afford to provide this kind of free summer entertainment, our Chamber and town is producing ten concerts this year.

Look out for bands like Sligo Rags, Nobody Cares, Emperor, the Elm Street Band and locals like Eddie Montana and Robbie Armstrong. Previews of some of the bands will be in the Sun’s “Hot Ticket.” New this year will be our vendor village, in the concrete slab area next to Eisenhower Park. This should give residents and visitors more access and seating in the grass of the park. Look also for a Main Street sidewalk sale kick off on July 7th, the first of the Summer Concert Series concerts. Be sure to shop local and have friends come to town on those Wednesdays. Use the beach lots at 8th and 10th to reduce parking impacts for residents too!

Part of the mission of the Chamber is to “enhance the quality of life in Seal Beach.” As Mailer states, movement is critical. The Chamber is proud of the movement we produce in the community. Major events and partnerships are what give part of the magic to our city. It is always a great time to look for events like the LIONS annual Fish Fry in July and the Rotary’s Fishing Derby and new Chili Cook Off in August.

Finally, remember that the Chamber, our members and volunteers, produces the Summer Concert series. It is through sponsorship, vendors and our member dues that the event is provided as a free benefit to all. Your connection to our merchants helps us keep all of it happening! Enjoy your summer and we look forward to seeing you at our events all season long. As always, shop local!

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