With a brand-new website, new logo and new funding and outlook, the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce is reinventing itself as a resource both for community members and visitors.
Chamber President and CEO Juli Vieira told BenitoLink that the organization has been garnering new attention and enthusiasm in recent months, with membership on the upswing.
“Our membership has increased in the past month,” said Vieira, who took over leadership of the Chamber last October. “It’s great to see so much excitement about the Chamber.”
The Chamber is also taking on a new role to encourage tourism in the county, with the city of Hollister giving a total of $100,000 in the past two years to that end.
Vieira said that the city granted $50,000 to the Chamber last year to promote tourism, and gave another $50,000 at the end of its fiscal year in June.
A new tourism website, www.discoversanbenitocounty.com, will be launched within the next 30 days, Vieira noted.
Helping visitors learn more about the natural beauty of Pinnacles National Monument, the history of San Juan Bautista and Hollister, local wineries and other attractions are all part of the plan, and making it easier to plan trips to the area are itineraries that can be downloaded and printed from the new tourism website, Vieira said.
“We’ll also have new signage on highways 101, 25, 156 and 152 to get people to come to San Benito County,” said Vieira. “We have a lot of people passing by.” The hope is that these signs will entice passersby to explore the county further.
Another very visible change is a fresh look for the Chamber website, which was revamped and launched at the beginning of July, something that was done from necessity but has led to several much-needed improvements.
The redesign came about after the website was hacked, Vieira said, and the old website was taken down in November. The new website now offers an uplifting message and photo at first glance: “Join the Chamber. Helping San Benito County business grow as beautifully as everything else around here.”
Another significant change is the addition of an events calendar to which anyone can post, as well as access for businesses to create job listings and Chamber members to include details about their businesses.
Vieira said there was a need for a place where community events could be posted so that people could more easily find the information they needed.
The website also sports the chamber’s newly refreshed logo, similar to its previous logo, but simplified, said Vieira: “We made it more modern, updated, and easier to print on items.”
The Chamber also has a Facebook page where weekly posts help keep the community updated on its doings.
The Chamber is involved in Wreaths Across America, a national nonprofit that raises money to place wreaths on the graves of veterans every Dec. 12.
Fundraising to provide wreaths at Calvary-Sacred Heart Cemetery and Odd Fellows Cemetery IOOF in Hollister as well as at San Juan Bautista Cemetery is now under way, with a fundraiser planned at Dickey’s BBQ, 551 McCray St. in Hollister on Sept. 15-17. Those interested in contributing can print out a coupon from the Chamber website and take it to Dickey’s on those days, with a percentage of sales going to help purchase wreaths.
People can also donate through the Wreaths Across America website (www.wreathsacrossamerica.org) and click on “Locations” to find San Benito County cemeteries.