Chamber moves into new office near downtown

mgaytan@losbanos enterprise.comDecember 27, 2013 

— The Los Banos Chamber of Commerce will begin the new year in a new office. Last week, chamber office workers and volunteers were busy packing boxes and planning the move from J Street to Sixth Street.

The office the chamber occupied for around 20 years was too small, said Geneva Brett, chamber president.

“We outgrew that office,” she said. “We were just really crammed.”

The office at the corner of J and Fifth streets was around 300 square feet. The new office is 945 square feet, according to the chamber.

“Our old office was in desperate need of a makeover,” Brett added, “and there were some things that couldn’t be changed.”

The opportunity to move came after Jerry Knoester, interim executive director, and interim administrative assistant Bertha Faria found an empty space on Sixth Street.

“I said this is great for what our needs are,” Knoester said.

Chamber members also used a storage facility for additional items they were unable to house in the old office. The new office now allows for storage of those items.

“We had a storage unit for many years,” Brett said. “So not only are we eliminating our cost of our storage facility, we also have all of our property in one location.”

The Chamber of Commerce aims to promote the general welfare and prosperity of the area business community.

Knoester said the location is in a good spot because it is closer to downtown merchants. “Most chamber of commerces are located in downtown,” he said. “From our merchants downtown, they like us being here.”

The new location has ample space to hold a conference table, a few cubicles, desks and other furniture.

Kagome donated the conference table, which is where the chamber will now hold board meetings. Kagome also donated chairs, filing cabinets and cubicles.

The chamber is still looking for a refrigerator. “We need it for when we host bars at events,” Brett said. “We have mixes that we need to keep refrigerated.”

After the new year, the chamber will be under new leadership.

Knoester has been filling in as executive director for the last six-months until the position is filled permanently.

The application process for the position is now closed. Brett said she is feeling confident in the future once a new director is hired.

“Were going to take it to the next level and get an executive director in place,” Brett said. By the end of January, organizers hope to have the position filled.

“It looks like it will be a prosperous year,” Brett said.

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6562 or mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.com.

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