Join the Chamber

 

The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in the community. A membership in the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is so much more than a piece of paper. Your support is an investment in the cooperation and abilities of the people in the community with whom you can join hands with to accomplish the goals you cannot achieve on your own. The chamber, through its staff, board of directors, and its membership, is a conduit to the lawmakers of the various levels of government. Strategies to make our community a progressive place to operate and do business are consistently being put before government to the benefit of chamber members. Clearly, the stronger the membership in the chamber, the more positive the reaction will be from the powers that be. Think of us as your choir - the bigger the choir the louder the voice. Join us!

Strong Board of Directors

Led by a strong board of directors, the AVCOC has an excellent working relationship with the Port Alberni City Council, Regional Board, Port Alberni Port Authority, Community Futures, our MLA and MP. It is through these solid relationships that the chamber works for the betterment of the business people and the community in general.

Member Benefit Programs

As a long time member in good standing of the BC Chamber of Commerce, your local chamber has access to an array of membership benefits including Group Insurance (Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan) which we have recently succeeded in including a Port Alberni local agent as the Representative for the program. In addition to that we offer Merchant Services through First Data - a very comprehensive plan and one that is almost certainly more cost effective for local small business. Purolator, UPS, Payworks, Constant Contact, Evole Communications, Spark Insurance, Indus Travel and we're soon planning to add Legal Shield to our list of benefits.

Networking Opportunities

One of the most valuable exercises business people partake in is networking. The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce works hard to facilitate networking with a monthly dinner where all attendees are invited to introduce themselves and their product. Special guest speakers of interest to the community are featured regularly. The Chamber of Commerce also offers its members the chance to host specific events aimed at introducing and educating the business community. Our Dinner Meetings are held throughout the community partly as a means of showcasing our unique assets to all.  

Throughout the year the Chamber produces a very well-read Newsletter that reaches over 800 local email boxes with every edition. Our newsletter sees excellent results with an 'open rate' of about 50% which is more than double the target levels suggested. Our click through rate is also tracking at double the usual meaning that people are engaged through this product and interested in what we are broadcasting. 

Member Spotlight

Throughout the year the Chamber features its membership through a program called Member Spotlight. Watch for it on our Social Media links in particular FACEBOOK. The Chamber will interview its membership at some point in the year and then feature that organization on any day. A wonderful way to tell the story of your business to the wider audience. Many of these features have generated business almost immediately for our membership. 

Promotional Services

The Chamber also operates the Visitor Centre, processing close to 50-thousand enquiries per year - enquiries about travel destinations, events, potential investment and community services. Members are given the opportunity to display brochures and business cards at the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre has a number of Video Screens that are typically populated by local Tourism Destinations. This helps us promote those facilities and all others through an engaging video presence. 

Community Events

Organizing events is what Port Alberni is well known for. We are the only BC community to host all four provincial games. The Chamber recognizes that events bring money and people into the area and those people then look for services that they may need during their visit. The Chamber over the past couple of years has dedicated its own resources and personnel to various events to assist in the promotion and success of them. Case in example is the very successful No. 7 Challenge which the Chamber took over in 2016. That event was a struggling one prior to 2016 yet it had a wonderful concept that simply needed some help. The event went from revenues of < $500.00 in any of its 3 years to > $14,000.00 in 2016. The success of that event morphed into a new event for 2017 called the Tri-Conic Challenge. www.triconic.ca  That event was funded in part by CANADA 150 as part of their plans to showcase the Country during the 150 year celebrations. The Tri-Conic Challenge occured over the Canada Day Weekend in 2017 and through the event the entire city got involved with major events all day on Canada Day at the Harbour Quay Waterfront. The Tri-Conic Challenge will continue as an annual event with the Chamber taking the lead on the event. 

The Chamber invested in an upgraded version of this website in 2016 through a partnership with Destination BC. The results can be found under the Visitor tab on the site or direct right here at: www.albernichamber.ca/visitor-info Within the site we have included all major local events along with some awesome pictures and information that highlights the reasons why people should consider each and every event. 

Online Business Listings

The Internet has become more and more important for businesses trying to get their message out. More and more people are researching and shopping on-line. As a chamber member you will be given a directory listing on our busy site with a direct link to your site and even a map so prospective customers can easily find their way to your door. So, a membership in the chamber is indeed a lot more than a piece of paper. Contact our office today for more information about becoming a proud member of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Adventure Map

New in 2014 was the development of an Adventure/Experience Map for the Alberni Valley. Our map is now in its third edition featuring more than 75 local businesses along with another 50 or more local attractions. The map consists of cool grahpics designed by our contracted graphic designer. The map itself is NOT to scale yet it clearly helps direct people around the community. This is done via the graphics themselves. Remember, a 'picture' is worth a thousand words and with more than 135 'pictures' on our Adventure Map we have more than 135000 words! In 2015 we witnessed an interaction between summer staff and a vistitor to the centre. The fellow was showing the visitor a typical street index map as the woman was looking for directions to Harbour Quay. Seasoned staff interjected and placed the Adventure Map in front of the trainee and the Visitor which immediately resulted in the Visitor seeing a graphic of a Food Service environment in the area. She quickly said to her partner...."We're going to ??????? !"

Street Index Tear-Off Map

In 2015 we developed a new Street Index Map due to Visitor Feedback suggesting that such a product was still desired. The map comes in pads of 50 units and its first run was quickly wiped out due to high demand. The map features the City of Port Alberni, much of the Regional District and on the reverse side it includes all of Sproat Lake as well as indepth information on things to do in the Valley over an A - Z listing set up.

Try Home First

In 2013 the Chamber started a unique Shop Local program aimed at 'rewarding' people for doing so vs. chastising them for not. This concept worked very well and resulted in more than $5000.00 being distributed through this initiative that year. Since then we've morphed it into something much bigger! Today (2017) it is now referred to as TRY HOME FIRST with the message simply indicating exactly that. For 2016 the Chamber  collected......100 $100.00 gift certificates through more than 90 local businesses. In turn the Chamber has invested in this program by purchasing a $25.00 gift certificate for EACH $100.00 one received. Through December a Chamber representative will visit the partners of the program for each $100.00 card received and then interrupt a sale in progress. The customer will be awarded the Chamber purchased $25.00 gift certificate for supporting local business and then he/she and others nearby will all have their names entered into a draw for the grand prizing. Then in the following January the Chamber will announce our winners on 93.3 The Peak. The winners will reap the rewards of this program. For the 2016 season we distributed more than $12,000. to local shoppers including five grand prizes of: $2500.00, $2000.00, $1500.00, $1000.00, & $500.00. How much will it be for the 2017 season? 

This program has grabbed the attention of the Provincial and Federal Govts both of whom have commented on the initiative and overall concept. 

Alberni Valley Tourism Training Program (AVTTP)

Another program initiated by the Chamber is the AVTTP. Through a grant received via the support of the City of Port Alberni the Chamber beginning in December 2016 is facilitating a 20 month program aimed at training FRONT LINE STAFF/STUDENTS on Tourism, Customer Service (via Worldhost), Culture & Social Media. This is being done at no charge to the attendee and it includes 5 X 4 hour sessions. The students will receive a certificate and a package of gift certificates at the conclusion of their training. The value is such that those folks will now be able to provide better information to visitors and they'll no doubt do a better job for their employers. The program includes a goal of reaching at least 300 people through the life of the 20 months. Interested? Please call us!

Food Guide

The Chamber of Commerce developed a local food guide in 2016. The guide itself measures 4 inches by 5.5 thus it will fit in a shirt pocket, hip pocket or small purse. It includes consistent graphics and messaging through its 40 pages featuring more than 50 local food service establishments. That means that it features more than 82% of the locations in the city. The Chamber thanks the students of Ms. Anne Ostwald's Grade 11 class who participated in the development of the concept. Note that the guide will distributed through various local places. 20000 of them were printed in the summer of 2016. 

Events Guide

In 2017 the Chamber developed an Events Guide as part of its plan to help promote our major local events. The guide will be published annually and will feature the many events that occur through the city. DYK that in Port Alberni we race pretty much everything through an event. In March every year we start it off with a running race as part of the Vancouver Island Running Association Series of races. In 2017 it was a certified 10k race and for 2018 the VIRA is asking us to do a 15k race because the 2017 race was so spectacular. In May we follow with a Stand Up Paddleboard Race (ACDC) following that with a Dragon Boat Race in June. Then the Tri-Conic Challenge hits which includes another running race - this one featuring four different distances most of which 'race the train.' Next day is a Bike Race typically on a Cyclocross or similar bike and then we wrap up the weekend with an Open Water Swim on one of the most spectacular lakes in all of Canada. In 2017 the race included a 100m, 500, 2000m and 4000m swim thus attracting all levels of athletes. Plans for 2018 include ramping up the 4k to a full 5k! Next up is the annual Sproat Lake Regatta featuring major boat races. This event initially started in the 1950's and after an absence of many years it was restarted in 2014 and continues to grow. The month of August features an Outrigger Canoe Race - the only one on Vancouver Island outside of Victoria. We also feature the widely known Thunder in the Valley with impressive cars and trucks burning things up on Stamp Avenue. September sees us 'race the salmon' as hundreds of local and not so local fishermen drop their lines along the Alberni Inlet in pursuit of the biggest Spring Salmon to make the annual run up the system. Two weeks later we don't actually 'race' but we see hundreds of motorcyclists converge on the City through the Annual Toy Run. An impressive sight. Later in the year during the wetter times the bike enthusiasts get back at it with fun and impressive bike races again usually on cyclocross bikes. Very impressive! 

 

 

Community Excellence Awards

Every year in April the Chamber of Commerce hosts the Community Excellence Awards. That event has become the biggest and most elaborate event in Port Alberni with upwards of 240 people attending. Many of the attendees are businesses from the entire area who have been identified by a select committe and the public in general as strong performers in their particular category. Please see our awards page for more information on this event. Our growth in this event has seen us host about 80 people in 2013, 175 in 2014, 200 in 2015 and 240 in both 2016 and 2017. We acknowledge the support of our Title Sponsors along the way who have helped us grow this event. 2013 - no title, 2014 the See Group, 2015 Sproat Lake Landing, 2016 Cheryl MacLean Financial, 2017 Westcoast Home Hardware and for 2018 we have confirmed Chances Rim Rock as title sponsor!