Summer Coming on Strong in Kelowna

June 7, 2016

KELOWNA – This June, at the Kelowna Chamber, it feels like we aren’t even pausing to catch our breath, before forging ahead with more new members, more new programs, more celebrating the conclusion of another successful year’s programming in a range of areas.

We try to work around the end of the school terms, as we know how busy parents and families get: on top of running their businesses or reporting for work, they are attending school sports days, attending graduations, going to arts and culture celebrations at their children’s schools, and volunteering in the schools just before the educational system pauses for its six- to eight-week summer break.

May saw us host or co-host fifteen events for Chamber membership. In June, we are hosting nine events, an all-time June high for us.  Our luncheon features Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist for Central Credit Union 1, the central financial facility and trade association for the B.C. and Ontario credit union systems.

We are co-hosting, with the City of Kelowna, what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion on how businesses can achieve marketing objectives through support of the arts – making arts a key part of their business plan. Participants include the Okanagan Symphony, artsVest, and a local member and business supporter of the arts, Source Furniture

We’re also wrapping up another successful year of our BDO Top Forty Under Forty program; hosting a new member reception at Cactus Club; joining with the Uptown Rutland Business Association for an after-hours networking event; hosting a Women’s Leadership Network Inspire Series keynote speaker event; and more.

Oh, by the way, our May 25th golf tournament – our 31st annual – sold out three weeks in advance of the date this year, both golf foursomes, and sponsorships. A new record, welcome, in this our 110th year. Business really appears quite bullish in Kelowna right now.

Speaking of being 110 – we will celebrate that significant milestone in early July with an open party for all our members, our staff, board and volunteers, and all of our fall Business Excellence Award nominees.  We’re planning an outdoor party at one of Kelowna’s best-loved, and best-sited wineries, Vibrant Vine at Okanagan Villa Estate. Fingers crossed for a sunny afternoon.

It’s been a significant year for us in so many ways, as we prepare to undertake particular tasks over the summer.  With fewer events on the horizon to manage, we can happily turn our attention to some special one-time-only projects ranging from web refresh to looking at our outbound communications, from member needs to new Chamber programs.

There have been times this winter when we’ve felt more like a 24/7 events marketing company than a Chamber. It’s important for all of us to maintain the balance among events (connection), serving our members, advocacy, and all the great work that we are privileged to do year round.

Membership continues to grow as we head into our traditionally quieter summer. Once we’ve celebrated our 110th, staff will start to enjoy their annual vacations with family and friends, and it will be all hands on deck as we pitch in and cover for each other.

All in all, just another (busy) time at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce – in the most beautiful city in Canada. New statistic just in: Kelowna has more restaurants per capita than any city in the country.  Hmmm. I know what I’ll be doing for part of my summer staycation!

– Caroline Grover is the CEO of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached by email at

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