Belmont Chamber of Commerce continues growth 

It’s been almost a year since the City Council and the Belmont Chamber of Commerce went their separate ways, but both parties agree that they have a better relationship today because of it.

The chamber — which has struggled with low membershipnumbers for much of its existence — has started a slow expansion and development since moving out of City Hall last June.

The chamber’s membership has grown from approximately 200 to almost 250; Chamber President Ron Denman said it hopes to reach 300 within a year.

"We’re encouraged by what we’re seeing," Denman said. "We still have a long way to go. There are still some 600 businesses in Belmont that aren’t members."

City Manager Jack Crist said the chamber has undergone a "renaissance" since moving out from under the city’s wing. The council had given the chamber almost $75,000 in funding annually, but that partnership was severed in June after lackluster chamber events and membership drives.

"They still have a tough mountain to climb, but they’re headed in the right direction," Crist said.

Councilman Dave Warden, a major critic of the chamber before the separation, said the group has turned around and has improving under Denman and former executive director Diane Griest, who has since moved on to become vice president of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association.

"I think they needed to be independent, because there were a lot of codependency issues," Warden said. "There was some potential for animosity [after the split], but there wasn’t, and it got them started off on the right foot."

One of its major projects, a business directory for all of Belmont, received $20,000 in council funding in exchange for advertising pages. As a result, the chamber will be able to send the directory to all city residents.

On Wednesday, Denman announced that he had hired Vicki Padelford, a business leader based primarily in San Francisco, to fill the vacated executive director position.

Padelford is not new to Belmont. She spent several months last year as interim executive director before Griest was hired and was a finalist for the position. She could not be reached for comment; Denman said she is currently vacationing in Japan.

,a href="jgoldman@examiner.com">jgoldman@examiner.com

Tags: ,

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

Bio:
A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
Pin It
Favorite

More by Staff Report

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation