Welcome to 2016 and what a fantastic start to the year with many businesses reporting strong growth over the Christmas & New Year period on last year (which was also a pretty good year I recall!). Certainly the weather did its bit, but also the fall of public holidays and the increasing awareness of Bello and all it has to offer holiday-makers all contributed to a bustling town (terrible for finding a car park, but a strong flow of customers for all our local businesses!).
In my ‘straw-polling’ of local businesses even Camp Creative seemed to work a bit better for all. Always a difficult marrying of expectations (especially for that late afternoon coffee or light snack), but I think the work Rob and Michelle Stockton did leading up to the event by engaging with many shop owners and then adding marketing in their various pamphlets and the like of what’s available and when was a great initiative….in fact on behalf of all local businesses our hat goes off to Paul Tipper, the Stocktons and all those who did the hard work behind the scenes to deliver a remarkable event. The positive ‘brand rub’ we get for Bello as a community should never be underestimated.
After yet another well-attended AGM late last year, we have some new members of our Board, which is just a great endorsement for the work the Chamber undertook in 2015. I (Lily Pily Country House) continue as President, Richard Jennings (Bellingen Brewing Company) continues as Vice President, Breana Vinecombe (Black Bear café) joins us as Treasurer, Jan Dark (Quality Assurance Consultant) joins us as Secretary, and they are joined by Sue Lennox (OzGreen), Geoff Tosio (Bellingen Solar), John Simon (OpenhomeOnline), Hilary Cadman (Hil’s Place), Yvonne Wynen (Lily Pad Cottages), Jason Errey (OEMG Surveyors) and Maggie Porter (Wanderweg Holidays) to make up the Board. Think we have pretty much every business type covered, so if you ever have a question about the Chamber or a matter that you think the Chamber maybe able to assist you with, then I am sure we have a Board member that works in your particular sector….can’t get better representation than that! Full contact details can be found on the Chamber’s website (www.bellingenchamber.com.au) or just go knock on their door!
We have already met a few times over the holiday season and have started to map out our priorities for the year….more member events to network and educate, better engagement with new businesses or business people (as we have had a healthy influx of both over the last few months) and working towards a fuller understanding of what are the key things we can do to see enduring sustainability for our local businesses and through that, a positive impact on our broader community. So as I said, a great start to 2016 and we look forward to working with all our members and stakeholders over the coming year.
Bruce Levy (Lily Pily Country House)
President, Bellingen Chamber of Commerce