At The Chamber Door
Costa Mesans are a giving people. There’s a pulse of generosity that beats through this city, powered by neighbors as likely to give you the shirt off their back as a pat on yours.
Groups, committees, associations, teams, volunteers and boards abound, all with the intention of making Costa Mesa – and the lives of the residents and frequenters therein – better in any way possible.
Today we highlight one such public-spirited organization, the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce.
Chambers of Commerce are a long-standing American tradition, with the first ever in the U.S. dating back to colonial Charleston in 1773. While Costa Mesa’s may seem like the “new chamber on the block” by comparison, ours has still been around for over 50 years!
We sat down with Chamber of Commerce CEO, Eileen Benjamin, to learn more about what they do and her future plans for this storied institution.
Costa Mesa Chamber Of Commerce: Corner of Adams Avenue and Mesa Verde Drive East
Benjamin’s previous experience running non-profits put her in close contact with various Chambers throughout the years. So she was well-prepared take over as CEO of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce – along with newly appoint President, Tom Johnson – last August. Her firsthand insight into the needs of member-businesses, coupled with an eye to the future, has already made a lasting impression and led to some pretty significant modernization efforts.
“We’re the leading proponent for business in Costa Mesa,” said Benjamin. “As such, our mission is to advance business efforts and act as a conduit between local organizations and the city. Tom and I are here to make it a contemporary Chamber – as cutting edge as possible – delivering maximum resources and benefits to our members.”
Recent changes have included a new website – launched this past December – that offers improved functionality and a cleaner, more-modern, user experience.
“We needed to build a strong, online foundation – a platform – for getting information out,” said Benjamin. “So the new website was our number one goal and I think it’s turned out great. It’s got a community calendar and a chamber events calendar so people can easily find out what’s going on.
“We’ve added a members forum so members can network, give guidance and share ideas with each other. We have internship and job postings – oh, and a ‘hot deals‘ section where our businesses can post discount offers to the community and to each other.”
The website also includes an easy-to-navigate directory of member businesses and organizations.
CEO, Eileen Benjamin, Is Working To Move The Costa Mesa Chamber Into The Modern Age
Now the new website has officially gone live, the Chamber’s next big step towards modernization is its soon-to-be-released What’s Up Costa Mesa app. A launch party commemorating the app – adorably named the “Appy” Hour Mixer – is happening this coming Wednesday, April 19th in Costa Mesa.
The app will be the mobile embodiment of the website, featuring local listings, events, deals and news, all in an easy-to-use format. Benjamin hopes features, like the new app, will make the concept of joining the Chamber of Commerce more appealing to the next generation of business owners – or those who might want to give membership a second look.
“We’re here to offer energy, guidance, information and networking opportunities – all of which can be really helpful to businesses at any stage,” said Benjamin. “We host monthly breakfasts with educational talks on a variety of topics. One month, it might be all about social media. The next month, we might bring in a speaker to talk about the 405-freeway expansion and how it will affect local businesses.”
Wealth Of Info: The Organization Acts As An Advocate For Local Business And Liaison To City Hall
Benjamin is quick to point out that while the above-mentioned events are the fun side of what the Chamber provides, the new website can also be used as a resource and information aggregator for “all things business” in Costa Mesa.
“We can help in lots of ways people might not realize,” said Benjamin. “You can renew your business license through our website. We have all the important government and civic contacts listed there. We have an economic profile for Costa Mesa, a business assistance guide, tax credit information, economic development, tourism information. It really is comprehensive and I hope local organizations will check it out.”
Benjamin’s accomplishments thus far seem fueled by a genuine affection for the city and the businesses at its core.
“I really love what I do,” said Benjamin. “I’m excited about it, about gaining exposure for commerce in Costa Mesa.
“I give tremendous credit to our members. They’re informed and up-to-speed. When a business joins their Chamber of Commerce, I think they’re really demonstrating two things: first, they care about the city, and secondly, they’re taking business development seriously.
“What’s happening here is really cool and I want other businesses to join us. Come be a part of it.”
We Heart Benjamin’s Big Heart For Costa Mesa Businesses
“I’m thrilled to have landed in Costa Mesa,” said Benjamin. “It’s a vibrant city, such a happening place. We have great restaurants, incredible entertainment – whether you’re talking about ballet at Segerstrom or a concert at the Fair – and wonderful parks and shopping. Places like The Lab give a fun edge to Costa Mesa that distinguishes us from other parts of Orange County.
“I’m a firm believer in collaboration, that if we can work together and be neighborly, everyone advances. It’s a great time for people in Costa Mesa to come together – learn from, and listen to, each other – and keep moving forward for the sake of our city.
“I hope your readers will reach out to us and share their feedback. The Chamber of Commerce is definitely open to listening.” ♥
Get Free Updates:
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from I Heart Costa Mesa!