Ponoka Chamber elects new board at AGM

Chamber president Barry Grant on the Zoom meeting Dec. 15. (Image: screenshot)

Chamber president Barry Grant on the Zoom meeting Dec. 15. (Image: screenshot)

The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting and board elections via Zoom on Dec. 15, 2020.

With government subsidies received throughout the year, the chamber showed a small profit over 2019.

Some adjustments and decisions were made throughout the year, as needed, such as reducing executive manager Heather Bendera’s work hours for part of the year, which was a cost savings.

Bendera still supported businesses with resources and information for businesses and worked hard to introduce a couple new programs that will roll out soon, says president Grant Barry.

It also didn’t hurt that the chamber was eligible for a $30,000 CEBA loan.

“From a year, with the covid-situation, we’ve held our receivables a little bit higher throughout the year, for the benefit of the businesses involved, in some cases,” said Barry.

“We did really well considering we lost our primary revenue, which was the trade show, back in April.”

The 2021 budget is an “optimistic one” said Grant, assuming the chamber will be able to return to holding some normal events.

The biggest concern will be if the trade show in April is able to go ahead.

Between now and then, decisions will have to be made, and if a spring show looks unlikely, the chamber may have to switch to a virtual event, and all expenses will have to be considered as 2021 progresses, he says.

“It will be a flexible budget.”

The chamber may be eligible to apply for CEBA for a second time. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

Elections

In by acclamation are Barry Grant, president; Trevor Havardi, vice president and Pam Baron, treasurer.

The new board directors are Natalie Reglin (Boston Pizza), Gurpreet Virdi (Wendy’s), Ryan Crawford (Crawford Insurance Agency), Angie Van Pelt (Heaven and Earth Bath and Body Essentials ), Chelsea Berreth (Vantage Physiotherapy), Andy Farrow (Gemini Fabrication), Judy Dick (Ponoka News), Dustin Robinson (IG Wealth Management) and Diane Rose (Rose Creations).

New members are Shalaine Stebner, owner of Lux Salon and Boutique, Crawford, Farrow and Robinson.

“It’s a good looking list from a lot of different types of businesses around town,” said Grant.

“Some great new members have joined the chamber just recently, so welcome everyone.”

The first meeting of the new board will be on Jan. 12, 2021.

Town initiatives

Rita Odenbach, manager of finance for the Town of Ponoka, presented to the chamber during the meeting, updating members on town initiatives.

Town council passed three initiatives to support local businesses during their regular council meeting on Dec. 8: a Hardship Grant, a new business grant and a commercial new build incentive.

“We’re pretty excited about it and we welcome all applicants,” said Odenbach.

Ponoka