The Los Banos Chamber of Commerce is a long-standing non-profit organization within our city and runs many of the cherished local events and traditions. The street fairs, Christmas parade, and the Tomato Festival are among the events they organize. They don’t just organize events though, they promote the city, help cultivate and grow a community of local businesses, and provide services to member businesses such as; networking, labor law updates, promotion, and help with HR, payroll, bookkeeping, and advertising if a business is in need. The Chamber is funded by memberships and event revenue alone. All members on the Board of Directors are volunteers, who spend portions of their free time to help better the community.
Michelle Sandoval, the executive director and only employee, helps head the Chamber of Commerce as it goes into 2023, and has given the Enterprise some insight into its goals for the new year. The current situation at the Chamber is one of optimistic perseverance, gaining new members and recuperating from the pandemic. The pandemic stunted both event revenues, and membership in 2020. Since the height of the pandemic, membership growth has been recovering steadily, and events have been able to raise more funds. The Chamber is grateful for some recent help from the city and will continue raising funds in any way they can, so “we can continue to do our best for the local businesses and the Los Banos Community”, stated Sandoval.
The main goals outlined by the Executive Director were maintaining steady growth of membership, organizing great events, educating local businesses, and promoting the City of Los Banos to the greatest extent possible.
To accomplish those goals, some hurdles need to be conquered. As identified by Ms. Sandoval, those are getting sponsors for events, gaining new members, and outreach to the public. The Chamber of Commerce reaches out using its media platforms to get the word out, provides valuable services to member businesses, and runs traditional; as well as new events to further promote the city. They plan on educating members through workshops, webinars, and Lunch & Learns. They will be educated about changing laws and how they affect them, including new subsidies, taxes, and restrictions.
Ending our interview, Michelle Sandoval wanted the community to know, “how much the Chamber actually does for the Community…All year round the Chamber is constantly getting ready for an event, from the Streets Fairs, to the Car Shows ,Christmas Parade and Tomato Festival and now our newest event Trunk or Treat Movie Night, the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce is always working for the Los Banos Residents.” She would also like the community to know, “many of our events are mistakenly titled as the City of Los Banos event and as much as we try to advertise that is the Chamber of Commerce that is hosting it seems to never get seen. We do work very closely with the City of Los Banos; but, in fact we are two totally different entities.”.
Prospective local businesses can take advantage of these services and opportunities by applying to the Chamber with a membership fee online via an application on LosBanos.com, via a call to the office at (209)-826-2495 or in-person by walking into the office at 932 6th Street. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, feel free to call or stop by the office for more information.