Author Archive

Another Year Has Ended at the Chamber

Published: 7/1/2016

As many of you know, the Chamber’s fiscal year ends at the end of June. I think the 2015-2016 year has been pretty darn good for the Chamber and our members. Some highlights for you:

  • We have over an 80% retention rate, meaning more of you are staying with us than leaving
  • We served well over 2,100 of you at events and activities this past year
  • We had nearly 33,000 page views on our website
  • If that’s not enough, we’ve seen a 64% increase in followers on our Facebook page

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We’re Back

Published: 7/7/2016

We’re back! That’s right, California has climbed back to be the world’s sixth largest economy. Economic data shows that the California Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total dollar value of the goods and services produced – grew at over 4% from this time last year, up to $2.5 trillion. The countries with a higher GDP are the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Take a second and let that sink in – the State of California is an economic powerhouse! Now, take another moment and think about how we’ve grown with all of the structural and economic impairments in this state. Just imagine where we could be.

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Pokemon Go Craziness

Published: 7/14/2016

Has the Pokemon Go fever taken ahold of you yet? If it hasn’t, you are one of the few who has yet to chase virtual Pokemon all over the place. Not sure what this is? Trust me, you’re not alone. According to the oracle that is Wikipedia, Pokemon Go is a “free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company as part of the Pokemon franchise.” What’s interesting to me is the impact on business. Inc. had an article about the impact on business and how some businesses have started to offer discounts to players. An article in Fortune discussed how some businesses are “activating lure modules” (for a fee) to drive these virtual characters into their stores. One store saw a 75% increase in sales over a weekend. This could be a “game changer” (pun totally intended) for business, especially those trying to reach the ever elusive millennials. Let me know how your business is benefitting from Pokemon Go.

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Change Hurts

Published: 7/21/2016

I know we’ve all heard the phrase “the only constant in life is change.”  Yes, this is true, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, change can hurt. Case in point: we are going through some changes at the Chamber.  The office is undergoing a bit of a remodel, with new paint and carpet coming this weekend. For the staff, this has been a long time coming.  Let me tell you, this change really hurts – we are all sore from packing boxes and moving items (my back is shot!).  I have to admit it’s been fun too.  We’ve come across very old Chamber “artifacts” from years gone by. 

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The Importance of Cutting a Ribbon

Published: 7/28/2016

“So, what’s the big deal with cutting a ribbon?” One of my sons asked me this question the other day when I was telling him about the great ribbon cuttings the Chamber’s had recently (yes, I do talk about ribbon cuttings, mixers, luncheons and events all the time at home). Of course, that started my wheels turning about the significance of actually cutting a ribbon.

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Another Year Passes

Published: 8/5/2016

My wife and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this week. To some of you, this might not seem like a significant accomplishment – I know many of you who have been married for 50 years or more – but it means a great deal to us. A few things you should know, this is the second marriage for us both and we brought some kids along to the party. What I’ve learned from this wonderful mess of a family is that each year we don’t just celebrate the passing of time, but the joining of our new – and very unique – family. When we married, the best gift I received was two sons and Liz got my Meagan. The years haven’t always been easy, but they’ve been perfect. I hope you all are as blessed as I’ve been.

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We’re Here to Help

Published: 8/19/2016

What can the Chamber do for you? It’s a simple question really. How can this organization, dedicated to promoting and enhancing business in the area and serving the community for over 50 years, help your business? What are your goals, hopes, and/or dreams? Give me a call or shoot me an email so we can talk. We’re here to help. Can’t attend our events? No problem, we have ways for you to promote your brand. Oh, and don’t forget we are constantly acting as the voice of business in the community to elected officials at every level of government.

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Living History

Published: 8/25/2016

Most in this area know Don and Julie Knabe. After all, they have lived in Cerritos since 1971 and Don has been a fixture in local and L.A. County leadership since about that time. This week I had the chance to sit down with Julie to go over some historical photos to help identify people and places from the hundreds of photos the Chamber has collected. If you didn’t know, Julie is a bit of an amateur local historian. Her recollection is amazing, as she went back many years to identify folks and locales from years past. But to me, it was all about listening to Julie as she shared stories and memories. Many of you know I’m not all that quiet, but I sat for hours enthralled with each story about the community and the Chamber (Julie has been Chamber Board President twice!). We laughed as she shared her stories and it was an afternoon I won’t soon forget. Thank you, Julie, for all you’ve done for this community, you really are a treasure.

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30 Years Ago

Published: 9/1/2016

My father was a pilot. He flew F-8 Crusaders over Vietnam before transitioning into a role as a pilot (making Captain) for Continental Airlines (which sadly is no longer around). He’ll tell you that flying is the safest mode of transportation and that he never had a close call while he was an airline pilot. However, he studied his craft diligently and was always prepared for the chance when things went wrong. Thirty years ago this week something went very wrong in the skies over Cerritos.  A DC-9 airliner and small private plane collided, resulting in the loss of 82 souls from the planes involved and on the ground. This loss was remembered this week by the City of Cerritos and Supervisor Don Knabe, who was mayor at the time. As he’s said many times, there is no training to prepare you for this type of incident. This type of tragedy demonstrates what leaders are made of and, at that time, Mayor Don Knabe, along with his city council colleagues and city staff, stepped up to provide the community with a sense of calm. We remember and thank you all for your service and leadership.

The significance of this event isn’t lost on the son of a pilot who took it for granted that his father would walk through the door at the end of a trip, hat tipped back with his collar and tie undone. I remember watching television with my mother and little brother that day 30 years ago and praying the plane wasn’t a Continental airliner. This wouldn’t be the only time we felt this type of anxiety. Today, technology has made air travel much safer and it’s easy to track a flight from the palm of your hand – yup, there’s an app for that. Then, there were only news reports. And although my father always came home, we always remembered those who did not in our nightly prayers.

I hope you enjoy your long Labor Day weekend and we hope to see you at a Chamber event in the near future.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

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Stop and Look Around, Don’t Miss It

Published: 9/16/2016

At this week’s Chamber Executive Committee meeting, Board Chair Teri Bazen led the group through a fun activity. She passed around a bag of pennies and we all took a few and then shared something remarkable from the year on each penny. Some of us had a hard time going back several decades, and some had vivid memories (others had a hard time just reading the year on the penny!). This got me thinking about time and how we all take it for granted. I think Ferris Bueller said it best when he said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” What John Hughes wrote in that famous movie (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is 30 years old this year – talk about time flying!) seems as poignant today as it was back in 1986.

We are all busy, right? But what are we busy doing? Are you “moving the needle” or are you just doing busywork? There are certainly administrative tasks we all have to do but are there other tasks that just keep you busy? I was taught long ago that you should gauge the value of the task you are working on – if it’s of little or no value, drop it (I confess that this is easier said than done). Meetings keep us busy as well, eating up a great deal of time. Do you really need that meeting, or can it be handled in a different way? Does the meeting even have value? I read a great book called “Death by Meetings.” It spells out several solutions to the common meeting, allowing for more efficient sharing of information (it’s a quick read, give it a shot). So, I guess, my question to you is: what can you give up (meeting, task, etc.) that provides little or no value to you or your organization (is it just busy work?) freeing you up to accomplish bigger and better things? Let me know, I’d love to hear what you are doing to improve your workday!

This is hard to believe, but we are only a few weeks away from the Taste of the Region & Business Expo. With over 20 food booths already confirmed, you won’t want to miss this event. This is a great event where everyone involved wins! Attendees win because the price is right (only $10/person for an all-access wrist band) and they get to sample great food and meet local businesses. Exhibitors win as they get to connect with potential customers. The City of Cerritos wins as many who have not been to the beautiful Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts get a chance to visit this wonderful community treasure. Finally, the Chamber wins as we help the business community while raising needed funds to keep our programs and events moving forward.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs

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It Really Does Take a Village

dream-team

Ambassador Joseph Derthick, Board Chair Teri Bazen, Ambassador Amanda Blanton, and Board Member Gina Cole stuff the Taste of the Region tote Bags

Published: 9/22/2016

“It takes a village to raise a child” is from an African proverb. These days “it takes a village” has morphed into common conversations about how many things take a community to accomplish something significant. The Chamber is many times, that village. We have an outstanding group of volunteers who help the Chamber reach our goals. From our Board of Directors to our Ambassador Committee to those who just want to help their community; we just couldn’t do what we do without them. This is abundantly clear during the Taste of the Region & Business Expo. Our volunteers begin early by helping to spread the word about this event to potential exhibitors and restaurants, then to the general public. You can find them at the event helping out with setting up in the morning to ticket sales in the afternoon to clean up at night. They also help as we prep for the event. This week, we had nearly a dozen volunteers at the Chamber office “stuffing” inserts into the 1,000 tote bags to be distributed at next week’s event. I was in awe as this group worked as a “well-oiled machine” to efficiently get the job done. To those who helped – I can’t thank you enough.

Since we’re on the subject, the 2016 Taste of the Region & Business Expo is less than a week away. We have a ton of great exhibitors and restaurants for you to meet next week. Make your plans to be with us on Wednesday evening – and bring a friend and an empty tummy!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.  – Marcus Aurelius

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Teamwork

Published: 9/29/2016

Last week I wrote about how it takes a village to do all we do here at the Chamber. This week, I’m proud to tell you we hosted the population of a village at the 2016 Taste of the Region & Business Expo. Every large event has its ups and downs, its problems, but the Chamber team works hard to minimize those issues or, if they do occur, to make sure no one notices. This is because of the hard work of the Chamber team – mainly Jill and May. 

Some of you know who these two individuals are…some may not. But they are the ones who are often behind the scenes making sure all the widgets are being made and gears are turning properly at events and every day at the Chamber. They are both Chamber veterans and helped train yours truly when I started just about four years ago. To say they work hard is an understatement – they are put in the hours. What I love is the passion they share for the Chamber. No, they – we – may not always agree on the how, but we all agree on the why and what – why the Chamber is important and what the Chamber means to our members. Jill and May, my hat’s off to you – great job again this week at what I think was the best Taste of the Region & Business Expo yet!

October is upon us (somebody tell Mother Nature!) and soon the holidays will be here. We will have some great events planned for October, including a Let’s Do Lunch on the 18th and a Mixin’ in the Mornin’ on the 27th. Of course, we will also be working on the Turkey Bowl – a Chamber favorite! I sure hope to see you at one of these events.

I hope you have a great weekend. If you were attended this week’s Taste of the Region & Business Expo – thank you!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

Indecision may or may not be my problem.  Jimmy Buffett

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Are you ready?

Published: 10/7/2016

We have an earthquake survival kit somewhere in our garage. I’m not sure where it is or what’s inside it, but I know we have one. Earlier this week California was under and earthquake warning and it occurred to me that we may need this kit. Of course, life got in the way and I completely forgot. However, if you asked me before this week if my family was prepared for a disaster I would likely tell you “probably”. Now I know that’s not the case.
 
Chamber board member Dr. Mark Chung is prepared. In fact, he is a preparedness evangelist. He and his wife Jane are both Red Cross volunteers and he has worked hard to help develop a ham radio program in conjunction with the City of Cerritos. Dr. Chung is worried. He’s not worried about when a disaster strikes, but how local businesses will fair when it happens.
 
Maybe you are prepared at home, but do you have a plan at your business? Do you know how to protect your customers and employees should an earthquake strike? Do you have a phone tree with everyone’s home and cell number in case of an emergency? Do you have a plan on how to keep your doors open in the aftermath? If not, there are plenty of online resources – the American Red Cross has a great deal of info on their website – to help you plan for the unexpected. I’m going to take a few minutes each day to chip away at my plan, and I hope you do the same.
 
October is here and it will be a busy month at the Chamber. Just take a look at the calendar below and you’ll see we are busy. You would think that holding two great networking events and an e-waste recycling drive would be plenty, but we are also busy planning for the holiday season. No, that doesn’t mean we have a Christmas tree up, but we are busy planning the 14th Annual Turkey Bowl & Networking Mixer along with our holiday events. Keep an eye out for more information headed your way about all of the great fun we’ll be having this year.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.  Steven Wright

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Four Years Ago

Published: 10/14/2016

Four Years Ago

Can you remember back to October of 2012? It was just four years ago, but there was a great deal going on in the world. Hugo Chavez was just “re-elected” as President of Venezuela., President Obama and Mitt Romney were debating who should be in the White House, and the dreaded San Francisco Giants won the World Series (BOOOOO!). One other thing happened at that time – I started my time here at the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce.

I’ve told the story of walking into my first interview for this job at the AALRR offices to find the conference room filled with ten past-presidents of the Chamber. Let me tell you, I brought my “A Game” that day and it paid off. Having been involved at several chambers of commerce for years as a member of Corporate America, I thought I knew everything about what a chamber does. Guess what?  I was wrong.  The Chamber team and board spent time with me, bringing me up to speed on all the great things we do for our members and the community.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned since that first day – we’ve had good times and tough times like any business. I do know the times where we’ve succeeded the most have been when this Chamber has come together as a community. It’s been a fun four years and I look forward to many more.

Okay, it’s time to talk events – those looking to make connections have two great events in the coming weeks. Next Tuesday is Let’s Do Lunch at Rosewood’s Family Restaurant – which promises to be a fun time with outstanding food. We’ll be back at the Grove in Cerritos (formerly Vintage Cerritos) for Mixin’ in the Mornin’ Speed Networking mixer on Thursday morning. Don’t forget the Chamber’s E-Waste Drive on the last Saturday of the month at Liberty Park II.  Whew, lots going on!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. George Washington

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Don’t Mean to Brag, but…

Published: 10/21/2016

Don’t Mean to Brag, but…

I was fined last week at the Optimists Club meeting by Bob Hughlett for sending out too many emails. Dr. Bob’s not wrong, “I” do send out a great many emails from the Chamber to let you all know about upcoming events (Let’s Do Lunch next week!) and I’m sure they can seem like “Scott-Spam” at some point. But it’s my job – our job as the Chamber – to make sure the business community is engaged. This past Wednesday was Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day. For many of us in the chamber of commerce world, we have absolutely no idea what to do with this day. You see, chambers aren’t used to bragging. We are “loud and proud” about our members and the communities we serve but are overly humble when it comes to talking about “us”. So, when it comes to celebrating a day about “us” we’re sort of lost.

For those who don’t know, the Cerritos Regional Chamber is a group of about 320 members governed by a volunteer board of directors and run by a staff of four-ish (our bookkeeper only comes in one day a week). We have several committees, including the Ambassadors, who help us and, thankfully, we have a strong cadre of volunteers as well. From our secret lair in the far reaches of Cerritos…er…sorry, fell into comic book speak…from our office in the Cerritos Plaza, we work hard for each of you – to make sure this area continues to be the best place to live, work, and play. So, if you’d like, send us a message from time to time to let us know how we’re doing, or just give us a pat on the back next time you see us. We’re not a needy bunch, but it’s always nice to hear how we’re doing.

Are you ready for a fun-filled, fast-moving morning? Then join us at Mixin’ in the Mornin’ this Thursday at The Grove Cerritos (formerly Vintage Cerritos). This event is a blast! You are guaranteed to make new contacts while you speed network with other local businesses – don’t miss out!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

When unhappy, one doubts everything; when happy, one doubts nothing.  Joseph Roux

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I Had the BLEEP Scared Out of Me

Published: 10/28/2016

I Had the BLEEP Scared Out of Me

I had the BLEEP scared out of me this week. Maybe you’ve heard the Chamber team talk about how our office is haunted. When I started here at the Chamber four years ago, I heard about “Ralph” the ghost who lives in our office. Since that time, I’ve witnessed some strange things from doors closing and locking themselves to shadowy figures to having things pulled out of my hand. The team has also experienced several strange things from hearing signing with no one around and seeing a dog run through the middle of the office.

This week, Tammye McDuff, a reporter for the Los Cerritos Community News, stopped by the office to get some background about “Ralph” for a story she’s writing about local haunted places. She and her husband Scott have done a bit of ghost hunting and we did our own investigation here in the office. I have to say that we experienced several strange things – I can tell you that our ghost is not a Ralph but a Ralph-ina and she made sure we knew she was here. By the end of their visit, I was shaken by what happened. Do I believe in ghosts? Let me just say I don’t not believe (I apologize to my English teachers for the double negative). With Halloween right around the corner, it was an interesting experience and a great deal of fun. I can’t wait to see Tammye’s story.

Although it might be raining when you read this, I can assure you that the sun will be shining on Saturday for the Chamber’s E-Waste Drive event. Bring those old electronics to Liberty Park II on Studebaker, just south of South Street, to dispose of them in an environmentally safe manner. We’ll be there from 9 AM to 3 PM – just drive in and our partners will collect your “stuff.”

Have a spooky weekend!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. Woody Allen

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Perseverance

Published: 11/3/2016

Perseverance

I was going to write about the coming election and the importance of voting, but I think we all get that and besides, something else came up. Instead, let’s talk about perseverance. You can’t talk perseverance without talking about the Chicago Cubs. Although I’m not a Cubs fan, I’m glad to see them win. It’s amazing that their loyal fans have stuck with them through “next year” every single of the past 108 years. The Cubs, sometimes called the “loveable losers,” have been close a few times, but this year new management and “home grown” players led them to a World Series Championship. Think about it for a second, the manager – Joe Madden (who had success in building great teams in Tampa Bay) – and new team president – Theo Epstein (who had success with the Red Sox, ending their curse) came in with a new philosophy that worked, leading to winning the Fall Classic.

Don’t be fooled, Major League Baseball is a business. This team was formed through a business model that was a blend of what both Madden and Epstein had done before. Perhaps it’s the blending of both of their styles that produced a team that achieved great results. No one will argue that luck wasn’t involved, but think about where this team came from for a moment: they only had 61 wins just four short years ago. Now think about your own organization. Are you the Cubs of 2016 or of 2012? Do you have what it takes to make your organization a success? It’s hard to find time to really think about your business when you are in the middle of “doing-the-do,” but maybe it’s time for you to get things in line to improve results. Just don’t wait until spring training!

It’s hard to believe, but we are only a few short weeks away from the Turkey Bowl and the “official” beginning of the holiday season. We have some great sponsors and teams already set, but we still have room for more bowlers/teams/sponsors. Make sure you call us soon as this event is sure to be packed!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. Pele

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Indivisible

Published: 11/11/2016

Indivisible

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
 
The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America, stemming from words written in 1892, has a special meaning this time of year. With Election Day and Veterans Day in the same week, it’s hard not to think of those words most of us started our day with during school. As I stood with my hand over my heart at this week’s Cerritos City Council meeting my thoughts drifted to not only the meaning of the words written over 100 years ago (with some alterations a few times along the way) but to how everyone in the council chambers were all involved, in unison. It was at the moment we all said “indivisible” that it hit me – we are a unique country.
 
We are a relatively young nation, one that had to fight to exist and has had to fight to remain in existence too many times. This week we all participated in free and open elections. As a republic, the individual holds the ultimate power – the right to cast a sovereign vote. No matter who you voted for, it is important that you exercised your right to do so. We’ll also celebrate those who have gone to war to protect the liberty – those individual freedoms – we enjoy. People like my father, Jim Edwards, Dr. Mark Chung, Melanie Broad, and many others who proudly served our nation in time of conflict. I salute those who served and I’m proud of a nation that will again see the peaceful transition of power to a new administration. In the end, we are first and foremost Americans – and we need to remember and cherish the ideals that still guide our country. Do me a favor and think of the words as you say them the next time you take the pledge of allegiance.
 
Who’s bowling? We still have some room at next week’s Turkey Bowl. Come out and enjoy an afternoon of camaraderie and fun with folks from all across our great community. In fact, you never know who will be in the lane next to you! Even if you don’t bowl, come out and enjoy the great food and festive atmosphere of this fan favorite event.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

Courage is found in unlikely places.  J. R. R. Tolkien

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Tis the Season

Published: 12/1/2016

Tis the Season

Here we are, at the starting gates of the holiday season. I bet some of you are finished with your holiday shopping. I’ve started, but have a long way to go. For me, this is a great time of year – not because of presents, but because it’s great to reconnect with family and friends. I enjoy it all – from attending great local holiday events, like tree lightings and holiday open houses (like Senator Mendoza’s even this past Wednesday evening) to our holiday themed Chamber events (luncheon on 12/8 and mixer on 12/13, both at the Sheraton). It’s just plain fun and most folks are in a great mood. With all the holiday cheer going on, it’s hard not to be in a good mood.

We’ve now been through Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday. Some estimates show that this is going to be a banner year for retailers. Online shopping continues to grow and is outpacing previous years’ numbers. One article I read noted that over 70% of all online shopping has been done on Amazon, which is simply amazing to me. I suppose it’s easier to click a mouse than find parking and fight crowds, but there’s something about the holiday hustle and bustle I enjoy. I guess I relate to that line in “Silver Bells” where shoppers are rushing home with their treasures. I like how Mr. Crosby used the word “treasures” in this line – each gift selected has a specific meaning and significance to the “giver” who spent time selecting that perfect item for their loved one. So, maybe take some time to step away from the computer and visit your local mall or favorite retailer – just remember to keep that holiday spirit alive with a smile.

We are only a week away from the “Oh What Fun” Holiday Luncheon!  This year’s event will be a hoot and a great way for you – and maybe your business colleagues or friends – to ring in the holiday season. This event has grown in significance in recent years as we pass along all the items collected through our Holiday Drive to one of our community partners. This year, we are helping out the low-income students and families served by BEE Smart Scholars. If you haven’t yet made a donation at one of our collection sites, please plan on bringing an item with you to the luncheon (we’re giving a free raffle ticket to all who’ve donated!). I hope to see you all there – for FUN! Don’t forget to RSVP.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time. Robert Kennedy

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Giving is Good

Published: 12/9/2016

Giving is Good

People are generous. This is especially true at this time of year. Giving is really part of our culture in the United States. In 2014, Americans donated over $350 billion. Here in our area, there’s a great deal of giving. This past week I attended Pathways Volunteer Hospice’s “Light Up a Life” tree lighting celebration. Pathways is one of the great local non-profits that often flies under the radar. They do great work for individuals, families and even in our schools. But Pathways isn’t the only great non-profit organization in the Chamber. As you think about giving this holiday season, please look at the list of non-profit organizations involved in the Chamber. From the Friends of the 1st CEB to the Crimson and Cream Community Foundation, there are outstanding groups doing great here in our community.

Of course, I can’t talk about giving and not talk about YOU – our members! For the past four years, we have held the Chamber Holiday Drive, where we ask you all to support a local non-profit organization. Each year this program seems to grow and grow, and this year was no exception. Your generous spirit is just amazing. This year’s recipient is BEE Smart Scholars, a program that provides tutoring and education support to local students. They serve many low-income families that have very little this time of year and the donations we’ve collected will certainly make this season bright for many. All I can say is thank you.

The Chamber holiday cheer continues next week with the Holiday Mixer. This is a special event hosted by the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel (thanks, Kent!) who provide delicious treats and a wonderful holiday atmosphere. So, come on by on Wednesday evening at 5:00 PM – hope to see you there.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing. Emo Philips

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A Chamber Carol

Published: 12/9/2016

A Chamber Carol

 

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all across the region

Shoppers were busy, trying to get that perfect gift for the season.

 

The Chamber was all a bustle,

Wrapping up a year full of hustle.

 

May was busy working on the newsletter,

Sharing the latest information for our members.

 

Jill was at work planning the next Chamber event,

Working on golf committee agendas, not yet sent.

 

Board Chair Teri, had just wrapped up shopping,

Knowing she had to get to the Holiday Mixer which would be hopping!

 

CEO Scott couldn’t get Rouge One off his brain,

Wishing Yoda was here telling him “A Jedi I will train!”

 

Before we close the year, here’s something to chew:

The Chamber family would be nothing without each one of you.

 

Happy holidays to all of our Chamber members and the community. This will be the last This Week at the Chamber sent this year. We hope to see you at an event in the coming year. Please note our holiday hours below. Whatever holiday you and your family celebrate, we all wish you joy and peace.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week:

I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.  Ellen Griswald, Christmas Vacation

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!  Buddy, Elf

It’s Christmas Eve! It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we… we… we smile a little easier, we… w-w-we… we… we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!  Frank Cross, Scrooged

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Holiday Shopping Hangover

Published: 1/13/2017

Holiday Shopping Hangover
  
Happy New Year! It’s 2017 and I have the feeling it’s going to be a great year. We made it through the holidays and now it’s back to the “grind”! Recently, there’s been some sad news for some large retailers who will be closing stores. It made me wonder a bit about the state of traditional retail. Many claim that online shopping is taking away from the “brick & mortar” stores, but I’m not certain. Yes, Amazon had their best holiday season ever, shipping more than one billion items to customers. But retail sales, on the whole, were up by almost 5%, with smaller retailers outperforming many department stores. Wonder why? I do!
 
One reason that experts keep pointing to is that customers have changed and retailers haven’t. Customers now want retailers and their products to stand for something and to have an emotional connection. Who was the largest spending group? Well, chill out because it was the “hipsters”. That’s right, the bearded, beanie and flannel wearing group of college-educated millennials spent about $500 more than the average holiday shopper. So, I guess the lesson here is to know who your customer is and how to reach them. I’d like to know how your business fared this holiday season – please drop me a line!
 
The year is off and running! We had a great Let’s Do Lunch at A’Roma Ristorante this week (check our Facebook page for photos) and our annual Labor Law Update is scheduled for 1/26. We have some great events coming in February too – stay tuned!
 
Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week: 

You must do the things you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

 

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New Year’s Resolutions…or Not

Published: 1/20/2017

New Year’s Resolutions…or Not
  
I typically don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, do you? About 41% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s probably not surprising that the number one resolution is to lose weight and eat healthier. Most of you who make a resolution do a great job in keeping it…for the first week or so. The further we get away from New Year’s Day; we find you “resolution-ists” aren’t that successful. Six months from now about 44% of resolutions will still be alive and well. Oh, and the older you are the less likely you are to actually make a resolution. Only 16% of Americans over 50 will see out their resolutions, while nearly 38% of 20-somethings will achieve their resolutions. Whatever your resolution was this year – maybe to be more engaged with your business or the Chamber? – I wish you success!
 
One thing you can count on working at a Chamber is that every week is a bit different. This week was no exception. We were pleased to help Mulhearn Realtors/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties celebrate 50 years of helping customers sell and purchase property. We also spent time at The Gardens Casino, where they held a formal grand opening event for their new, spectacular casino. I’m telling you, it’s as close to Vegas as any local casino I know of. Don’t gamble? Stop by and grab a bite to eat, the restaurant is top-notch.
 
That was this week, who knows what will happen next week?! Oh wait, I do! We have several events going on next week – a ribbon cutting at Crunch Fitness and our very popular Labor Law Update. This workshop is so great. Ann K. Smith, Esq. – a former Chamber Board President – does a fantastic job of breaking down all of the new labor laws YOU need to know in a fun way that only she can do. Hope you can make it!
 
Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week: 

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Rise of the Machines

Published: 1/27/2017

 Rise of the Machines
 
I read a story this week about how 51% of today’s job activities could be replaced by “automated technology.” This means some sort of robot or machine. Okay, I’ll say it now since we’re all thinking it: isn’t this the beginning of the end as noted in movies like the Terminator? Maybe, but probably not like in the movies. This technology would be more apt to conduct work that is easily repetitive or is part of a process – think along the lines of jobs in the retail, food service or manufacturing space. Eliminating these jobs would equate to nearly $3 trillion in wages. The study, by McKinsey, does not this would have an impact on employment with many of those displaced by Mr. Robot having to learn new skills for a new job. Will this really happen? I’m not sure. Even if it does, it will likely be phased in over years and I’m certain employee unions will have a say. One thing is for sure, technology marches on, bringing change and new economic dynamics which are certain to impact the job market…like it always has. Of course, it also may bring on the Terminator.
 
History occurred this week as the DOW Jones Index climbed over 20,000 for the first time. For most of us, it might mean a bump in our retirement funds or investments. But for many, it doesn’t really mean all that much. I am a firm believer of the large disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. Our local economy here may see a trickle down from this economic milestone, but it may be difficult to clarify. We will see what this means to the national economy moving forward, let’s hope it’s sustainable.
 
Believe it or not, January is about to come to a close – we’ve made it through 1/12 of the year! February brings a couple of great Chamber events. We have the Sheriff’s Crime Update luncheon on the 16th and a Let’s Do Breakfast at Rosewood’s Family Restaurant on the 22nd. Click on the links below for more information. 
 
Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week: 

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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Super $

Published: 2/3/2017

Super $

This weekend well over 100 million people will be in front of their televisions watching the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons. Here are a few business related “Did you know?” facts:

  • Cost for a 30-second ad is $5 million
  • Cost for a 30-second ad in 1966 was $37,500
  • Halftime performers see a 271% sales lift after they perform
  • People spent nearly $3 billion on snacks last year
  • Only 43% of people actually say the football is the best part of the Super Bowl
  • Americans will eat 120 million pounds of avocados and drink 325 million gallons of beer
  • The only time Americans eat more food is on Thanksgiving
  • The Super Bowl generates well over $600 million in revenue

I’m not sure who you are cheering for, but I think the biggest winners will be the NFL and Fox. Then again, those avocado farmers seem to be making out pretty good too. No predictions from me this year. I sure wouldn’t ever count Coach Belichick or Tom Brady out. You could say there’s been some great coach-quarterback pairings in the past, but we all may be witnessing football history. One thing’s certain, both teams worked hard to achieve the goal of getting to the big game. It came with dedication and sacrifice.

One quick “shout out” to Captain Nunez and his team of deputies who have arrested several burglary suspects over the past week. The Chamber thanks you for your diligent efforts to keep this community safe. 
 
Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week: 

Football is football and talent is talent. But the mindset of your team makes all the difference.  Robert Griffin III

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At least buy flowers…

Published: 2/10/2017

 At least buy flowers…
 
I learned a long time ago how important Valentine’s Day can be when I skipped it one year. Let’s say it didn’t go well. It’s probably not surprising that 53% of women say they would end their relationship if they didn’t receive something on Valentine’s Day. I would say that guys are pretty darn good about celebrating this day. They – we! – purchase 73% of the flowers bought for Valentine’s Day (we have some great florists in the Chamber who do great work – check them out!), although women do buy 85% of all greeting cards…so, guys, we have some work to do. It might surprise you that average consumer spends about $140 during this holiday, adding up to over $18 billion spent. Still, guys end up spending, on average, over $190 on their significant other, mostly on jewelry.
 
My wife has put me in a difficult situation this year. She said she doesn’t want me to spend money on flowers or gifts. My response: yeah, right! Actually, before you begin shaking your head, I have already done a bit of shopping and the kids and I plan to do something nice for her. I know, many of you are saying to yourselves, “wow, just being married to Scott is enough of a gift.” Of course, you’re right! You know I’m kidding. I am very lucky and, even though she’s giving me a pass this year, I’ll make sure she knows that on Valentine’s Day, and really every day, that she is loved and that I’m a lucky man. Here’s a friendly remember: let’s shop local and at a Chamber member this Valentine’s Day!
 
Enjoy your weekend and I hope to see you at next week’s Sheriff’s Crime Update luncheon on the 16th at the Sheraton.
 
Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week: 

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.  Erich Fromm

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See Something, Say Something

Published: 2/17/2017

 See Something, Say Something

Last week I had the opportunity – maybe more of an honor – to represent the business community and the Chamber’s members at the Cerritos City Council meeting. I was there to ask the Council to carefully consider the outcome of a specific issue: changing the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station from a “full service” station to a “community” station. You don’t have to be a criminologist to know that crime has increased. Most of this increase in crime can be traced back to laws that put criminals back on the street, usually in record time. I know Captain Nunez, who’s in charge of the Cerritos station, and his team of deputies, along with Cerritos Community Safety Director Daryl Evans, do a great job keeping this community safe. In the end, the City Council voted 5-0 to keep the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station as a “full service” facility. But this is a big budget item and will likely be considered during budget hearings when the new council is voted in this April.

Just about every city in L.A. County is facing a crime issue and there is no easy solution. I know Captain Nunez and his deputies are here for us and we need to make sure we are communicating with them. As he says, “see something, say something.” Be vigilant. Be safe.

Who doesn’t love breakfast? Who doesn’t love making new contacts? Well, the Chamber combined both for our “Let’s Do Breakfast” event. Next Wednesday, 2/22, we’ll be at Rosewood’s Family Restaurant for our next “Let’s Do Breakfast” sponsored by the Cerritos Optimist Club. Come on by and enjoy a great breakfast and meet some new Chamber members.

 
Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
Executive Director 

Quote of the Week: 

The best vision is insight. Malcom Forbes

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How did this happen?

Published: 2/24/2017

 How did this happen?

I guess I just have to ask how did this happen? How did a known gang member with a significant criminal record get back onto the street? How did he obtain a weapon? Of course I’m talking about the two Whittier police officers who were gunned down earlier this week. Last week we heard from Captain Nunez about the impact State laws have had on the uptick in crime, and now we’ve seen the consequences. 

In California, we only have ourselves to blame. We are a different breed in this state, one who often looks for the good of the few instead of the good of the many. Maybe that’s admirable. Maybe it’s naive. We have a governor and legislature that has been happy to balance the State’s budget on the backs of local communities. As my father would say, it’s all coming home to roost now. Criminals are back on the street as it’s just too expensive to keep them in jail, and many crimes that used to be serious and felonies are considered lesser crimes. This all gives career criminals an open season to steal and cause business owners’ and resident’s heartache. Something has to change.

Okay, I’m taking a deep breath and counting to ten…better now. Did you know we are only about ten weeks away from the 37th Annual Fiesta on the Fairways Golf Classic? Don’t miss out on this year’s event, where a portion of the proceeds will help the Safe Surrender Scholarship Fund – pioneered by former L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe. We already know that Desmond Thompson from Lexus of Cerritos has committed serving as the Hole-in-One Sponsor again this year. So you can both benefit a great cause and potentially win a new car – all in the same day! RSVP here.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

PS – If you want to help the family of fallen Whittier PD Officer Boyer:

The Whittier Police Officers Association has set up an account to receive donations on behalf of Officer Keith Boyer and his family. Donations can be made in person at the police station, in person at the bank location, or mailed to the address below. Please make checks out to: “WPOA Benevolent Fund” and reference account number: 488879.

Mailing Address: 
Credit Union of Southern California
WPOA Benevolent Fund
PO BOX 200
Whittier, CA 90608
ATTN: David Valencia

Bank Location: 
Credit of Union of Southern California
8028 Greenleaf Ave
Whittier, CA 90602 
562-698-8326

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Flex that electoral muscle!

Published: 3/3/2017

Flex that electoral muscle!

Welcome to March 2017, also known as Politics Month. Over the next five weeks or so, Cerritos residents will be learning much more about the seven candidates running for the two open City Council seats. Of course, this will be after the County election next week. Not sure why? Well, the City Council had voted to move the local election day when they were considering placing a sales tax on the ballot. However, that issue failed, but the new election date was already set. So, Cerritos residents now get to flex their “electoral muscles” twice over the next several months.

Why do I bring this up? Well, as I’ve said in the past, local elections have a great deal of impact on your day-to-day life – from who hauls your trash away to what types of businesses enter the community to how much local sales tax or fees you pay. There’s been great leadership here in Cerritos over the life of the City – both elected officials and staff. This city enjoys a great shopping, parks, and entertainment. This does not happen by chance, it takes planning and vision. Let’s hope the two new council members elected in April subscribe to a vision that will take this fine city into a successful future. There will be three candidate’s forums, including one by the Chamber on March 14th, where voters can hear directly from the seven candidates running.

One last thing, my family has seen some medical challenges over the past few weeks. I have to give a big thank you to all of those who provide health care services. From doctors to nurses to office staff, what you do and the service you provide makes a great deal of difference in the lives of patients and their families. In all the debate going on in government about how to pay you, I hope we don’t forget how you strengthen our communities.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.  John Wooden

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Spring Forward = Lose Sleep

Published: 3/10/2017

 Spring Forward = Lose Sleep

For many Southern Californians, this weekend brings some joy. We may lose an hour of sleep, but we’ll be getting more sun. That’s right, Daylight Savings Time is upon us. I’ve always thought of this day as the unofficial beginning of the SoCal summer. The weather typically changes around this time of year and the later sunlight encourages us to enjoy the late afternoons and evenings. Today, we all seem to just go with the “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” of Daylight Savings Time, but it was a rather controversial subject when it was voted into law in 1918 only to see it fall to repeal less than a year later. Although the time change was brought back during World War II, it wasn’t a national program until the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Today, it positively impacts the economy, albeit by sleepy shoppers during the first few weeks after second Sunday in March.

Another thing happens this time of year too: The California Legislature begins cranking out new laws. Already there’s a slew of proposed legislation that could impact wages (again) and add costs to our State’s small business. I understand that many of these laws target larger corporations, who legislators think can afford higher cost burdens (we all end up paying for them), but they impact small businesses more so. Maybe a large fast food chain can make an investment in an automated ordering system to cut down on expenses, but the local restaurant on the corner can’t do that. Watch for more information about bills the Chamber is supporting or opposing and how you can help. We’re all in this together.

We are now about a month away from the Cerritos Municipal Election (April 11th). One of the three scheduled candidates’ forums has already taken place, with the Chamber’s coming next Tuesday the 14th at 7:00 pm. This is a great way for voters and business folks to get to know what the seven council candidates plan to do to keep this city great! Hope to see you there!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. Ronald Reagan

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Luck o’ the Irish, or Not

Published: 3/17/2017

Luck o’ the Irish, or Not

I’m not Irish, and I certainly don’t have much luck…especially during this time of year. That’s right – it’s time for March Madness! The time of year when many of us tune in to see a college we haven’t heard of beat a school we know well. In fact, the first round of games is going on even as I write this column. So far Florida, West Virginia, and Middle Tennessee have won their games. For those of you (us!) who’ve filled out a bracket (purely for fun, right?), I bet you picked some of these smaller, lesser known teams to beat bigger schools. Here’s something you can “bet” on – an estimated $1.9 billion in lost productivity (why are you looking at me?), $9 billion wagered (with about $7 billion of that done “illegally”), and well over $1 billon in TV advertising revenue. This doesn’t even figure in the local economic impact to the cities hosting games during the tournament. Oh, and if you have filled out a bracket, here’s a stat for you – you are two times as likely to win back-to-back Mega Millions lotteries than to fill out a perfect bracket.

This was a great week for the Chamber. We learned a great deal at the Cerritos City Council Candidates’ Forum we held on Tuesday. The Chamber is proud to provide this service to the voters of Cerritos. Make an informed choice on April 11th – weigh what’s best for you, your family, and your community. Democracy is not a spectator sport, be involved and informed. On Wednesday, I served as Principal for the Day at Cerritos Elementary School. Cerrito’s “real” principal, Kevin Amburgey, spent a great deal of time with me, giving me an overview of the campus, students, and faculty. Cerritos Elementary is a special place and Kevin…Mr. Amburgey…should be very proud of his students and staff. Thank you to the ABCUSD for holding this great event each year.

Are you ready to mix it up? Good! Next week, on the 23rd, we’ll be holding a 4 to 6’er Networking Mixer at Romano’s Macaroni Grill in the Cerritos Towne Center. The following week we’ll hear from ABCUSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu at the State of the District Luncheon on the 29th. Stay tuned with the Chamber by checking out the calendar below.

Have a fun St. Patrick’s Day!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden

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Spring is here, with politics

Published: 3/24/2017

Spring is here, with politics

I was going to write about politics this week, but I decided to give you all a break. If you live or work in Cerritos, you know there’s a City Council election going on right now. So then, in keeping with the theme of politics, I thought I might share my thoughts about those who just complain or point out what they “think” is wrong vs. those who actually work to make this a better community. That would likely end up sounding and feeling like politics. All I can say is that this election is pivotal for the future of this fine community and I hope each voter looks past the rhetoric to find truth when considering with whom to cast their vote. Two dates you need to remember: March 27 is the last day to register to vote in the coming election and April 11 is Election Day. Candidates: may the force be with you.

On a side note, welcome to spring! The sun’s up a later, it’s getting warmer, and we’re starting to think about summer. The weather’s not the only thing that’s heating up – the Chamber’s schedule is as well. Get this, over the next seven weeks we’ll be holding six events ranging from the State of the District Luncheon with Supt. (of the year!) Dr. Mary Sieu to a business conference to networking to the Fiesta on the Fairways Golf Classic – whew! Keeping the golf tournament in mind, we’re introducing something new this year: golf lessons! That’s right, even if you don’t golf you can enjoy time on the course as part of a group lesson with a golf pro. Not only that, but you get the opportunity to enjoy some of the great activities we have on the course and you get a seat at the evening’s banquet. Let us know if you are interested in this new way to involve those (like me) who are “golf-challenged.”

As we think about what happened in London this week, let’s all take a moment to consider where hate has gotten the world. We see, time-and-time again, that hate only results in more hate. If you pray, send out a prayer to those impacted by this horrific event. In the end, we are all in this life together and we have more in common than not. Something we need to remember…especially at election time.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg. Samuel Butler

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Just Vote

Published: 4/7/2017

Just Vote

Let’s talk about elections and voting, not politics. For nearly 230 years Americans have been casting votes. Next week, Cerritos voters will vote for two new City Councilmembers. I can’t stress to you the importance of this election. As you know, the Chamber cannot support or endorse candidates, so let’s get that out there right away. This message is for those Cerritos residents. I ask that you vote. No, this isn’t simple or easy. It takes time to consider a candidate, and you have two to consider this time around. However, these are the folks who will represent you and guide this City moving forward. Like every city in California, Cerritos will face many challenges over the coming years and you need to vote for the candidates who will make the hard choices – on where to spend the City’s funds, how to repair infrastructure, along with a myriad of other issues. Whoever you support in this election – just get out and vote – please. (Here’s a good place to get more info on candidates with no bias – http://elixiraddons.com/cerritos/ and here’s a map of polling places: http://www.cerritos.us/main/election/2017/polling_place_map_english.php)

Getting off of that soapbox now. This week, we were proud to join the City of Cerritos in putting together a business conference focused on disaster preparedness. When you think of a disaster, you usually think of tornados, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes, right? For a business, it can be something like a water heater flooding their store, or a fire that takes out a restaurant kitchen. Whatever the disaster, your business should be prepared. Our presenters at the conference provided a great deal of information and it’s now up on the Chamber website – get them by clicking here. Thanks again to our speakers and sponsors, along with the City of Cerritos, for making this event a success.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

When you stand alone and sell yourself, you can’t please everyone. But when you’re different, you can last. Don Rickles … RIP

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It’s a Long Season, Keep Playing

Published: 4/14/2017

It’s a Long Season, Keep Playing

Let’s first congratulate the new Cerritos City Councilmembers projected to take the two seats up for grabs – Grace Hu and Chuong Vo. This was not an election for the faint of heart, and all of the candidates seemed to find out as they walked the City from one end to the other, attended candidates’ forums and shook thousands of hands. We look forward to working with the new Councilmembers, and the City of Cerritos, to continue growing the local economy.

I’ve often compared baseball to life…or just about anything. Two of my favorite baseball seasons were 1988 and 2002. Of course, 1988 was the magical year where the Dodgers won the World Series. They were not the favorite that year and they were down to the Mets, but they fought back – against the odds (if you believe in such a thing). It was capped off by Gibby’s miraculous home run. In 2002 the Angels took home the World Series Trophy. This was a team that was horrible in the first half of the year and was written off by everyone – except their manager, and a member of that 1988 Dodgers team, Mike Scioscia. The team was spectacular in the second half of the season and made it through Wild Card and League Championship series to face the mighty Giants in the Fall Classic. I remember Game 6 like I remember Gibby’s homer – it was the stuff of legends. Okay Scott, get to the point (which is likely obvious). The point is don’t give up – the baseball season is 162 games and it takes talent and perseverance to win. Just like in business. Just like in life. Fail today? There’s always tomorrow. Keep playing. Keep swinging. If the Dodgers can win in 1988 or the Angels in 2002, then there’s hope for all of us.

Hey, let’s do lunch next Wednesday at Lucille’s! This is an invite to all for our next Let’s Do Lunch networking luncheon at the site where these great luncheons all began – Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. We expect a big crowd, so be sure to RSVP by emailing us or using the link below. We look forward to seeing you soon.

For those of you who celebrated Passover this week, we hope you enjoyed this festival of freedom. Happy Easter to those of you celebrating this weekend – we hope the Easter Bunny (I’ve heard you can find him at the Los Cerritos Center) is good to you.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.  Dr. Seuss

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Small Business = Big Impact

Published: 5/5/2017

Small Business = Big Impact

This was National Small Business Week in the U.S. I know, most of you are focused on Cinco de Mayo or looking forward to Memorial Day, but this week is important. Think about this – there are nearly 29 million small businesses in the United States, employing about half of all American workers. If you don’t think small business has an impact on the U.S. and local economies, think again. Over half a million new businesses start up each month in the U.S. Locally, small businesses have helped propel Los Angeles County to great heights, making the County the 19th largest economy in the world. So, when you are out-and-about or looking to do some business with another firm, look to a small business.

It was a great week here at the Chamber with the Fiesta on the Fairways Golf Classic on Monday and a ribbon cutting at the new Islands Restaurant on Thursday. Every week is different here at the Chamber – we could be on a golf course one day, then meet with an elected official a few days later. It’s a great place where we make an impact on local businesses – from small to large – each week. Now, we are rolling into one of our biggest events of the year – the State of the City Luncheon. Take a look below and RSVP as soon as you can as this is a local favorite where Mayor Hu and City Manager Gallucci will be presenting an overview and outlook for the City. Mr. Gallucci usually has a surprise for everyone, and I don’t think this year will be any different.  Hope to see you there.

Next week, the Chamber will join with six other local chambers of commerce at Kaleidoscope – a joint networking mixer benefitting CAPC, Inc. Enjoy a great event in a fun atmosphere – and don’t forget to wear our Chamber’s color: purple! Don’t miss this one!

 

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.  Steve Jobs

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It’s great! Trust me…

Published: 5/19/2017

It’s great! Trust me… 

I was asked recently why a business would locate in Cerritos. Now, this is right in my wheelhouse and I knocked it out of the park with my “Great place to live, work & own a business” speech I keep in the forefront of my feeble brain. Just in case you’re wondering, this speech is full of all the greats – schools, city structure, weather, proximity to transportation (freeways, ports, airports), and the local demographic is perfect for most retailers. But what makes this community so great for business is much more than all of that. Obviously this is a special community because of people – the residents who call this place home, the folks who come here to work each day, and the shoppers who travel from all across the region to make a purchase here from cars at the Cerritos Auto Square (you bet I say “Yes Cerritos!” as often as I can!) to great specialty items at unique retailers like Native Visions – all of these groups lead to the strength and vitality of this place. You can count the “destination” cities in SoCal on one hand, and Cerritos is certainly one of them. Great restaurants, businesses – both large and small, and the safe environment bring people here. Yeah, it’s a great community to start a business or to run a chamber of commerce. Can I get an “Amen”?

While we’re on this topic, let me remind you that the State of the City is scheduled for next week. If you want to know what’s going on in this City you need to attend this event. Both Mayor Hu and City Manager Gallucci give a comprehensive overview of the City’s activities and local economy. Oh, and I’ve heard that Mr. Gallucci has another great surprise for everyone this year – not sure how he can top last year. RSVP today if you haven’t done so yet.

I hope you have a great weekend. Mine will be spent marrying my brother (yes, I’m an ‘ordained’ minister for the purposes of this wedding) on Saturday and recovering on Sunday.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle.  Robert Anthony

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Paper cuts are part of the job

Published: 5/26/2017

Paper cuts are part of the job

Just three people make up the Chamber team to do our day-to-day business and events. Three. So, when I’m asked who does our office janitorial work, I’m happy to say the staff. When we hold a big event, you can often find us all pitching in to make things happen – from packing boxes to folding event programs. This can be backbreaking work and it often time leads to paper cuts. But it’s all part of the job. Of course, we have a great “force multiplier” when you factor in our super talented and “can-do” Ambassadors who step in to help us transport “stuff” to the golf course at zero dark thirty to stuffing tote bags before a luncheon. We simply could not do what we do for our members without our Ambassadors and volunteers. Speaking of which – we will be handing out our annual business awards (including Ambassador and Volunteer of the Year Awards) in just a few weeks at the Installation & Business Awards Luncheon – make your plans now to attend.

Today’s State of the City was pretty darn amazing. Mayor Hu took a helicopter to the event and SWAT Team member repelled from the ceiling in the theater at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. Of course, City Manager Art Gallucci gave a thorough overview of what’s going on in and what will be coming here in Cerritos. You can find the Mayor and City Manager’s presentation here on the City’s website. Thank you again to all over our sponsors and we hope to see you all at next year’s event…I wonder what Mr. Gallucci will do next year!

I hope you enjoy the long weekend. Please take a moment on Monday to remember the reason behind this holiday – the fallen men and women who have served our nation. While you’re at it, keep those men and women who are serving around the globe in your thoughts as well.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Fortune is like glass – the brighter the glitter, the more easily broken.  Publilius Syrus

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Summer, Summer, Summer

Published: 6/2/2017

Summer, Summer, Summer

There’s nothing better than the beginning of summer. I love making vacation plans (ComicCon anyone?) and spending time out-and-about in the evening while the sun’s still up (don’t give me a hard time DeKriek). Summer doesn’t just bring a change of weather, but a change in the economy as well. Our spending shifts to vacations, paying for the AC that’s running more and more, and the price of gasoline goes up. While most folks are out on vacation, it’s easy to see how economic output drops. However, the job force is typically flooded with high school and college students looking for seasonal employment. While part-timers are getting jobs, factories typically shut down for retooling for new models (so we can see shiny new 2018’s at the Cerritos Auto Square!). Construction typically gains ground and tourism – from both domestic and international tourists – peaks in July and August (when 22% of all international tourists come stateside). Whatever you do this summer – whether it’s a “stay-cation” or a trip across the nation – you will be contributing to this strange seasonal economy.

Speaking of summer…it’s not summer until the Chamber has our Summer Mixer at The Grove at Cerritos (used to be Vintage Cerritos). The folks at The Grove always have a great spread of delicious food and wine chilled to perfection to enjoy on their beautiful patio. I just arranged for perfect Chamber of Commerce weather, we’re talking mid-70’s, so it will be a lovely evening to make new contacts and visit with old friends. Let me know if you’re going to make it!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. Sam Keen

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And the Awards Go To…Dad? 

Published: 6/16/2017

And the Awards Go To…Dad?  

This week marks a few things: The Chamber’s Installation of the new board of directors & awarding of our annual business recognition awards and, of course, Father’s Day. A few words about this year’s awardees…they are a great group of business people who are making a difference in this region. Here’s a list of this year’s awardees:

  • Business of the Year – Lexus of Cerritos
  • Businessperson of the Year – Paolo Quiroga, Edward Jones
  • Ambassador of the Year – Anna Rodriguez, Young Systems
  • Volunteer of the Year – Oscar Velasco, LBS Financial Credit Union
  • Doug Padelford Memorial Award – Jill Ovard & May Peitzsch, Cerritos Regional Chamber

Please join me in congratulating this esteemed group!  Of course, my new group of “bosses” was also sworn in. Chamber board members bring so many different experiences to the “table.” One thing for sure is they are all committed to ensuring that this region is a great place to do business. We’ll have the new board listed on our website on July 1.

As for Father’s Day, I’ll carry on with what I started with Mother’s Day with a few quotes:

A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.

Unknown

It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.

Barack Obama

You can tell what was the best year of your father’s life, because they seem to freeze that clothing style and ride it out.

Jerry Seinfeld

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. 

Jim Valvano

I hope you have a great weekend celebrating dad!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

P.S. – Congrats to the Class of 2017!  We know you will accomplish great things!

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Tough Love is Still Love

Published: 6/30/2017

Tough Love is Still Love  

You never know what you’ll get when you ask for feedback. This week I was happy to break bread with a small group of Chamber members to find out how we are doing in meeting their needs and what we can do better to help their success. The group was not shy at all and we had a very productive conversation about how the Chamber is impacting their business and what potential changes they’d like to see. Every member of the group felt that they get value from their Chamber membership and all had different ideas of what that value was – from being more involved in the community to gaining to customers. It’s not easy to ask for feedback, but it’s always a good thing and I know it will only help us deliver a great product to all of you – our members. All-in-all, it was a meeting with lots of love shared and a bit of tough love – which, in my book, means it was a great meeting with honest dialogue.

This weekend begins what is a four-day weekend for many (the Chamber included as we’ll be closed Monday and Tuesday) as we celebrate our nation’s independence from Britain. I love the History Channel this time of year with its programming about our nation’s birth. I’m always amazed that our founding fathers, many with very different opinions of how to run our country, came together to sign the Declaration of Independence. Let’s be clear, many of these men despised each other and were happy to create “fake” news about their rivals. Still, they came together to form this most perfect union – which has stood many tests and still remains. This weekend, we are not members of a party or class, we are Americans – something unique only to us. We take this time to celebrate a common theme, our nation.

I hope you enjoy your weekend – celebrate safely, but proudly!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers. Orison Swett Marden 

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When Minimum Isn’t Maximum

Published: 7/7/2017

When Minimum Isn’t Maximum

The minimum wage in Los Angeles County went up on July 1. No, I’m not kidding, it increased to $12/hour for employers with more than 25 employees. Now, I could show my age and talk about how I earned well under $4/hour…guess I just did that. Well, at that time, the minimum wage was certainly not called a living wage and I probably didn’t know a single person over the age of 20 making minimum wage at the time. The minimum wage went into effect in 1938 with the passage of The Fair Labor Standards Act. At that time, it was set at $.025/hour. President Roosevelt’s law also included provisions for worker safety and youth employment. If you’ve studied history at all, you know that these laws were intended to help America’s workers. I’m not sure FDR would even recognize how his law’s minimum wage has grown. In 2013, about 1.5 million workers in the U.S. earned exactly the federal minimum wage. Go back to 1979 and 13% of U.S. workers made the minimum wage, which fell to 4% in 2013. Where are most of the minimum wage workers located? Well, nearly half are in the South and a quarter in the Mid-West, with the Northeast and the West trailing behind at nearly the same rate. The states with the highest percentage of workers earning minimum wage were in Tennessee and Idaho and those with the lowest percentage are Oregon, California, and Washington.

A study was recently released about the impact of the minimum wage increase in Seattle, and the findings seem to show that the increase might be hurting those it was designed to help. The University of Washington research showed that businesses, now faced with increased labor costs, actually cut hours. Economists have long argued how a drastically minimum wage increase would impact business and labor, and now the data collected in Seattle will demonstrate what that impact actually is. It will be interesting to see, I just hope businesses can stay in afloat and don’t end up as a statistic in a study.

Want to join me for breakfast next week? Perfect! The Chamber will be holding one of our fan favorites – Let’s Do Breakfast – on Tuesday, July 11th at Mim’s Café in the Cerritos Town Center. See the info below to RSVP. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Have a great weekend!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. Erma Bombeck

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Retreat – to Plan

Published: 7/14/2017

Retreat – to Plan

On Friday the Chamber’s board of directors and staff will meet in a secluded lair (okay, maybe not secluded or a lair) to plan the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year. Part of what we’ll be looking at is how well we did in the previous year – which was GREAT! The Chamber was able to reach out to thousands via email and through our events to help build the local economy. We brought in 50 new members, including 11 in June, and saw our retention rate reach nearly 90%. I’m so proud of the role the Chamber played in the community through our annual Holiday Drive and holding a Cerritos City Council Candidates Forum. The programs we started over the past year, our “Let’s Do” events at breakfast or lunch, have been beneficial for our members and are fun! This next year will see us refine our events and programs even more in order to build as much value as we can for your membership investment. We are proud of the work we do and the community we serve.

You won’t see this email in your inbox next week as I’ll be out at ComicCon with the family. My 22-year-old daughter will be joining us this year as we join nearly half-a-million like-minded nerds in San Diego. It should be an interesting event with many great geeky events. You may even see me on Conan’s show…you never know. I can’t tell you how excited we all are for this year’s event. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As always, the Chamber team is here to help you and your business.

Have a great weekend!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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Back from ComicCon

Published: 7/28/2017

Back from ComicCon 

I’m back! A few words about ComicCon and then I’ll move on (as I  know you’ve heard me go on about this topic too much…sorry, I’m a nerd!). This year’s event was fun, although not the best “Con” we’ve been to. Yes, there were the cosplayers and great offsite events promoting new movies and television shows (the Blade Runner Experience was simply awesome and immersive!), but the actual convention seemed to lack the buzz it’s had in recent years. Let me tell you, going to ComicCon is not for the weak – you are on your feet all day, getting up early to stay up late. It’s not a relaxing by the pool type of vacation, but it is amazing fun. My best memory from this year will be the laughs we all had around the dinner table each night…and seeing the first episode of Marvel’s Defenders (on Netflix…watch it!). It was a great time and I’m happy to have played a part in the estimated $143.1 in economic impact to the City of San Diego (trust me, with three kids I made an IMPACT!).

You might think September 27th is way’s off – not for the Chamber! We are busy working on this year’s Taste of the Region & Business Expo. Trinity Worldwide Reprographics is our Premier Sponsor and we are lining up other great sponsors, exhibitors, and FOOD! We expect this year’s event to be the biggest and best(est!) “Taste of” we’ve held. So, mark your calendars and be sure to reserve your space to meet the great crowd we get each year. Keep track of the event at www.cerritostaste.com.

Enjoy your weekend! Don’t forget to look at the “Announcements” section below to see what’s happening.

Talk with you next week.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

You will never win if you never begin.  Helen Rowland

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A Cerritos Quiz

Published: 8/11/2017

A Cerritos Quiz

Let me throw some numbers at you and see if you know what they mean: 1,209; 3%; 2%; and $714,500. Any guesses? No, these have nothing to do with me, my IQ, time spent working, or bank account. These numbers were provided in the latest edition of the City of Cerritos Economic Profile. This report, published quarterly and presented to the City’s Economic Development Commission, provides a great deal of data about the local economy. From the City’s revenue collected to how many cars sold to the average home price, this report is a must read if you do business in the area. You can get a copy by clicking here and I highly recommend attending one of the quarterly Economic Development Commission meeting to learn more about what’s going on here in Cerritos. Back to those numbers…here you go:

  • There were 1,209 new and renewal business licenses processed by the City in the 2nd Quarter of 2017
  • The unemployment rate in Cerritos is 3%
  • Commercial vacancy in Cerritos is at a very low 2%, or about 478,255 square feet in vacant space
  • $714.500 was the single-family home price average for June 2017, much higher than the L.A. County average over the same time period

I want to thank Congresswoman Linda Sanchez for sharing her thoughts and giving an update about the Federal government at our luncheon today. I will say this about the Congresswoman, she’s candid and honest – two things you don’t always find in elected officials. She has always listened to the Chamber on business issues and looks for solutions. We may not always agree, but we share a mutual respect and that means a great deal in today’s political climate.

Enjoy your weekend and I hope to see you in a few weeks at the Let’s Do Lunch! event at Islands.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Good questions outrank easy answers. Paul Samuelson

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Great Ideas

Published: 8/18/2017

Great Ideas

Let’s say you own a business and let’s assume you have employees. To protect those employees, you put together a program to prevent injury and promote safety. Sounds good, right? Okay, so what if a lawyer, from out of nowhere and not affiliated with any of your employees, decides he wants to see all of your internal documentation around this program with no limit on the number of documents they can request and with unlimited scope. Sounds a bit too far reaching, doesn’t it? Well, this law can be coming your way if AB 978 – currently on the California State Senate floor – is passed and signed. I’m sure you’ll agree this isn’t a great bill.

But wait there’s more! Let’s say your business is a dialysis clinic, where you have a great staff committed to your patients, and you have never received any complaints about your service or treatment. Now, the State of California wants you to lose money by telling you how many employees you need to run your business appropriately. Keep in mind that this could close down these centers for a period of time, making it more difficult for patients to receive treatment. This bill would also result in the strictest law of its type in the country. Another bill that will hurt a valuable business serving the community.

It’s quite simple, if you continue to stack the deck against businesses – especially small to medium sized businesses – you will see them close or move. Not sure? Ask the owner of a small restaurant about how many hours he or she is working now that the minimum wage has gone up (and will continue to do so). Or, ask the retailer how much workers’ compensation insurance premiums have gone up. There’s such a focus on sustainability right now unless you are talking about business. Look, we all know be regulations are needed to guide safe and fair business transactions and to protect workers, but the Legislature is going too far. This madness needs to stop.

Okay, one more thing…about that strawberry field and Norm Reeves Honda. It seems to make sense to me that Cerritos College can generate revenue while helping fill a need for Norm Reeves Honda. Don’t let the sales tax revenue that Norm Reeves Honda generates get lost in this discussion. They need cars to sell. Those cars need to be parked some place until they’re sold. Finally, these vehicles will be sold generating valuable sales tax revenue the City needs to bring all of the great programs to the residents. Let’s find a workable solution to this issue so the College can generate funds to help students and Norm Reeves Honda has cars to sell.

Okay, I am off my soapbox…for now.  Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you next Tuesday at Islands for Let’s Do Lunch!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes. Jim Carrey

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Back to School

Published: 8/25/2017

Back to School

It’s back to school time! ABCUSD students returned to classrooms this week, and other local districts are already in session or closely following behind. My three kids are headed back to school as well. The quiet mornings of summer will now be replaced with the (semi) chaos of school days. Afternoons and evenings will now be spent in front of a textbook (they still have those, right?) and computer screens. From a business perspective, “Back to School” has become an important retail season with an expected $27 billion spent. Parents will shell out about $501 per child, mostly buying school supplies and clothes. Even with all of the buzz around online shopping, most still plan to do their shopping in stores with “mass merchants” and “off price” stores seeing the most shoppers. If you know me, you know what’s coming next – if you are still in the midst of your back to school shopping, then think and shop local!

Speaking of heading back to school, I want to give some Chamber members a big “shout out” for helping another Chamber member. Each year the ABC Education Foundation works to provide backpacks full of school supplies to low-income students. I was very proud to see LBS Financial Credit Union, Rancho Southeast Association of Realtors, Kaiser Permanente, Cerritos Optimist Club, and the Office of L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn all involved in this year’s project. This support adds up to more than 500 backpacks given to kids as they made their way back to campus this week. This type of activity is what community is all about.

I hope you have a great weekend, and maybe I’ll see you at Spamalot on Sunday at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. I can’t wait!

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them. Epictetus

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Find Your Grail

Published: 9/1/2017

Find Your Grail

Last weekend I took the family to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts to see Monty Python’s Spamalot, produced by 3D Theatricals. Let me tell you; it was outstanding! We laughed from beginning to end. The acting and singing were nothing short of amazing and the play, well I’m still laughing at the Knights Who Say Ni! Of course – spoilers! – the show is (sort of) about King Arthur (of the Britons!) and his search for the Holy Grail. This quest, of course, features many great and hilarious songs, but the one called “Find Your Grail” really spoke to me. We are all searching for something (perhaps even the Holy Grail), and we need to devote our fullest to this pursuit. We’re sure to hit some stumbling blocks along the way (maybe even Knights Who Say Ni), but it’s about the journey through the troubled times that make reaching a goal so fulfilling. Oh, and in the end, you get to marry the Lady in the Lake, er, Guinevere! Make sure you check out the next 3D Theatricals show headed your way!

On a more serious note, we are all thinking about Houston and the Gulf Coast as they regroup from Hurricane Harvey. There are many ways you can help, and I encourage you to do so. One way is through a Chamber member, the American Red Cross. Visit www.redcross.org to donate. I understand that well over 90 cents of every dollar donated will go directly towards relief efforts. Certainly, this event is a reminder that we should all be prepared. Take a moment to look at this great information from the Red Cross by clicking here. We all need to be ready, are you?

Finally, we gave video a try this week, and I think it turned out pretty well. Our Board Chair, Dr. Mark Chung, was the director and camera operator and I did some editing. We’ll be sharing these videos on our Facebook Page and You Tube channel on a regular basis. These videos will feature our outstanding members, letting the community know what’s going on here in Cerritos. So, remember to #shopcerritos and check out our videos.

Try to keep cool this weekend, and I’ll talk with you next week.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking. Jerry Seinfeld

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The Blinking Cursor Wins

Published: 9/8/2017

The Blinking Cursor Wins

I’ve now started and deleted about five different posts for this week’s edition of “Scott’s Thoughts.” I’ve really got nothing. I know, it’s shocking that I don’t have much to say. All I know is our nation and those impacted by Harvey and Irma, not to mention the wildfires spread across the west, need all the thoughts and prayers (and donations) they can get. It’s times like these when I hope we can put our petty differences aside and come together as a nation to help our fellow citizens and neighbors. However, the cynic in me can only think that these tragic events will end up politicized. I guess time will tell. For now, I’ll keep those in harm’s way in my thoughts and will be praying for my aunt and uncle in Miami Beach, who were evacuated this morning.

We are now only a few weeks away from the 2017 Taste of the Region & Business Expo with Premier Sponsor Trinity Worldwide Reprographics. I’m pleased to tell you we have over 20 local restaurants participating and about another 60 exhibitors. This year’s event will be a great evening of seeing old friends, making new friends, tasting delicious food, checking out new cars, visiting with local businesses, and listening to great music – all for just $10. This is the best value in town. I want to thank all who plan to attend, and I hope the rest of you can make it. Put Wednesday the 27th on your calendar, and we’ll see you at CCPA.

Speaking of seeing you, I hope we see you all at next week’s Let’s Do Breakfast & Learn at Rosewood’s Family Restaurant. Not only will you enjoy a delicious breakfast, but you will learn all you need to know before you purchase your next car from Chamber Board member and Mr. Lexus himself, Desmond Thompson. Space is limited, so we need your RSVP!  See below for more info.

Have a great weekend and I promise I’ll have something better for you to read next week.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

“My brain is just mush.” Scott Smith

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The Good, Bad, and Ugly (sort of)

Published: 9/22/2017

The Good, Bad, and Ugly (sort of)

This week’s had it all.  There’s been plenty of good, a bit of bad, and even some ugly.  Let me start backward, if you will, with the ugly. My email was hacked this week. If you were one of the lucky ones who received a strange email with no message, just an attachment, please delete it. This didn’t come from me but some guy in Eastern Europe (yes, I blame the Russians…maybe even you Dr. Alexander!). There’s some good in this too as it ended up going to a cybercrime expert who spoke at a Chamber event a few years back. Now he’s on it!

Onto the bad. This isn’t the bad you’re thinking of; it’s more of a good type of bad. My middle son turned 18 this week. Now, you probably think this is good, but he’s been my lil’ buddy forever, and it’s killing me that he’s 18, over six feet tall, and a Senior in high school. He’s an amazing kid, and I’m proud of the young man he’s become. He’s a free spirit who isn’t afraid to be himself.

The good is well, nearly great. This week was an outstanding week for the Chamber and our members. I’m proud to say the Chamber successfully advocated for two Chamber members at the Cerritos City Council meeting and we helped another member get the approvals he needed to open his new restaurant. Now, we didn’t do the work or make the decisions, but we knew who to call and what to say. Most think of chambers of commerce as simply networking organizations, but this is just a part of what we do. We are conveners and connectors who advocate for business – first and foremost!

One more – the best part of the week was having our Ambassadors and volunteers come by the Chamber office to “stuff” the tote bags for next week’s Taste of the Region & Business Expo. This year’s tote bag sponsor is Chugh LLP, an outstanding law and CPA firm headquartered here in Cerritos. Our Ambassadors and volunteers stuffed 1,000 bags to be given out next Wednesday – and the did it in record time. My sincere thanks to Nancy, Joe, Anthony, Candy, Oscar, Patricia, and Sharon for your hard work.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to see all of you at next week’s Taste of the Region & Business Expo on Wednesday the 27th from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the CCPA.

Peace,

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit – Celebrating 80 years!

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Half a Decade Later

Published: 10/6/2017

Half a Decade Later

Do you remember October 2012? Well, gas prices were over $4 per gallon, Hurricane Sandy was taking a bead on the East Coast, and the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce hired a new Executive Director. I’d like to think I’ve changed over those five years and that maybe the Chamber has as well. I know that Jill and May took a very green E.D. and helped him find his sea legs. Just like with any business, we’ve had our ups and downs over the past five years, but I’m proud of where the Chamber’s at and how strong we have become.

Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on accomplishments and missed opportunities. I’m a firm believer in things happen for a reason. So, when I look back on these five years, I see a great deal of success – due to the great team we have at the Chamber. This team includes staff, of course, but many others like the Board of Directors, Ambassadors, and those business and community leaders who have helped guide the Chamber over the course of many years (and some over the course of several chamber executives!). The thing I’ve learned that sticks with me the most is the people who make up the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce. I’ve been so fortunate to make great new friends and learn from outstanding mentors. I’m very proud to serve this community.

We have some great events coming up over the next few weeks that you won’t want to miss. Let’s Do Lunch next Tuesday at the Sonoma Grill inside the DoubleTree by Hilton in Norwalk. I understand Chef Hugo is working on a special menu just for us! This is a great time to mix and mingle with other Chamber members over lunch – ya’ gotta eat, so eat with the Chamber! The following week we are honored to have Senator Tony Mendoza joining us for breakfast at what we’re calling the “State of the State.” This was another crazy year in Sacramento, and you’ll want to get Senator Mendoza’s take on what happened and what the Golden State may face in the coming year.

Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama

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About Friday the 13th

Published: 10/13/2017

About Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th! You may not know it, but this day is a very 20th Century invention. Although fear of the number 13 has a long history, called triskaidekaphobia, relating it to Friday seems to be linked more to American culture than anything else. Some believe the fear or negativity surrounding Friday the 13th comes from a 1907 novel called Friday, the Thirteenth, about Wall Street broker who creates a panic in the financial markets on a – surprise – Friday the 13th. However it came into popular culture, no one can argue about its impact. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute (yeah, it’s a thing) estimates that up to 21 million Americans have a fear of Friday the 13th. This day has an economic impact too with approximately $800 million in lost business. This is the second (we had one back in January) and last Friday the 13th of 2017. So, rub that lucky rabbit’s foot or do what you can to smile and make it to Saturday…just don’t walk under any ladders.

Next week Chamber members have the opportunity to hear from an elected official – Senator Tony Mendoza. Many of you know the Senator from his time in the Assembly or on the Artesia City Council. He will report on what’s going on in Sacramento and how it could impact your business. If you have a question about the decision making in our State’s Capitol, this is a great opportunity to come and ask an official who represents you. We hope you will join us next Tuesday morning – see below for more information or to RSVP.

Don’t forget everyone’s favorite event – the Turkey Bowl & Networking Mixer is just around the corner on Thursday, November 16th at AMF Cerritos Lanes. Watch for more information about this event soon.

 

Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. Blaise Pascal

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Taxing for Commerce

Published: 10/20/2017

Taxing for Commerce

You cannot have commerce without transportation. Duh, right? If you can’t get goods and services to consumers, you have…well…nothing. This past legislative session in Sacramento saw SB1 pass. This law, called the Road Repair and Accountability Act (Catchy, huh? Let’s put it on a tee shirt!) will generate billions in tax dollars to help fix the state’s transportation infrastructure. If you’ve been on our freeways lately, you know they need improvement. Last winter, I hit a pothole on the 5 freeway and it destroyed my tire. Seriously. Pundits will tell you this is needed…and these pundits include many of my colleagues in the chamber of commerce world. This Chamber did not take a position, mostly due to the taxes and fee increases headed our way.

Over $52 billion is expected to be raised over the next decade or so through an increase at the pump for both gas and diesel, along with a new fee imposed when you register your vehicle. Drive an electric car? Sorry, you’re hit too with an annual $100 fee. The gas tax has been a divisive issue, with at least two movements I’m aware of trying to qualify a state measure to repeal the gas tax. And why shouldn’t they? The California Gas Tax Burden (sounds like a great name for a punk band) is 76.7 cents per gallon – PER GALLON! Now, I know we need better roads, but at what cost? Then again, the lack of road repairs hit me personally at the cost of a new tire.

November is nearly here when the leaves turn and heat waves are a bit less frequent. November also brings a morning mixer and, everyone’s favorite event, the Turkey Bowl. The next Let’s Do Breakfast & Learn will cover Active Shooter situations. Now, this is a terrible topic, but one we all know is too real. We were working with Sheriff’s Captain Nunez before the horrific events in Las Vegas, which brings this topic to the forefront of everyone’s mind now. I hope you can join us on November 1 (see below). As for Turkey Bowl, I’ll hit you with more about that in the coming weeks.

Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.  Arthur Godfrey

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Online Shopping Might Save Jobs

Published: 11/3/2017

Online Shopping Might Save Jobs

I read an interesting article this week about how online shopping might not be the bogeyman to jobs as most think. The article, posted on Inc.com, focused on the actual job creation from e-commerce companies like Amazon. Warehouses are popping up all over the country, filled with automation and plenty of new workers. With many e-commerce companies focusing on faster delivery times, more warehousing is expected in urban areas, creating more jobs to meet consumer demand. In fact, as the article points out, we are paying e-commerce companies to do what we used to – driving to a store, moving through aisles looking for a specific product, and even checking out. This has led to 400,000 jobs created in e-commerce over the past decade alone. However, as I’m always quick to point out, most shoppers still go into a store. Even this article states that retail sales are “expected to account for 17 percent of all retail sales” in 2022. Wherever you shop, it’s interesting to learn that jobs are still being created.

This has been an outstanding week here at the Chamber! We held an informative Let’s Do Breakfast & Learn on Wednesday with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department on hand to teach folks how to deal with an active shooter situation. It was so informative, that we will be bringing an expanded session to the community next spring – watch for more info to come. We also kicked off this year’s Chamber Holiday Drive! We are proud to be supporting the ABCUSD’s Head Start Program, which helps hundreds of local kids and their families. Please consider donating to the Holiday Drive or even serving as a collection site. We’ll be giving the donations to the Head Start Program at our Holiday Luncheon set for December 7th at the Sheraton Cerritos Hotel.

Have a great weekend. Remember to turn those clocks back (Boooo!).

 

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Neither blame or praise yourself. Plutarch

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Let’s Talk Turkey

Published: 11/17/2017

Let’s Talk Turkey

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away. Maybe it’s because the holiday comes a bit earlier this year or because it’s been so warm. Whatever the case, the holidays are upon us. As we move into Thanksgiving, I thought I might share a few facts that you may not know about this holiday.

  • Thanksgiving was celebrated on the third Thursday of November beginning in 1939 and switching back to the fourth Thursday in 1942.
  • TV Dinners were invented when Swanson over ordered turkeys, so the company decided to pack that turkey in an aluminum tray with dressing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes. Within a year, more than ten million of these frozen dinners were served.
  • Nearly 50 million turkeys are cooked for Thanksgiving every year. However, less than 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • Black Friday isn’t just the busiest day of the year for retailers, but for plumbers also.
  • Yes, Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to serve as the national bird as it was a “much more respectable bird” than the eagle.
  • About 28% of Americans will host 12 or more people for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • The average wait for that dinner? The average time we spend cooking Thanksgiving dinner is around seven hours.

However you celebrate this wonderfully American holiday, I hope you take time to truly give thanks for the abundance many of us enjoy in this country. It might also be a great time to give to those less fortunate.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey

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A Cultural Shift

Published: 12/1/2017

A Cultural Shift

A friend recently asked me what I thought about the plethora of sexual misconduct accusations running rampant across the country right now. I responded with “I think we are going through another cultural shift.” This got a chuckle out of my friend, but I stand by this statement. Think about all of the changes we’ve seen to this great and unique culture. Many of these changes have been to correct wrongs that have been ignored for generations. I believe we are going through that again. As a father of a daughter, I would hate to have her be objectified or harassed in the way we’ve seen. Over my career, I’ve seen women deal with issues that my male colleagues never had to worry about. This is wrong, and I hope this cultural shift will help end this behavior. As leaders, we all have to carefully consider the potential and actual impact our words and actions have on others. This is all simply another step in that direction. It’s past time for this culture to shift in the right direction.

The holidays are upon us. Maybe you’ve seen the Chamber’s newest team member, Elfis (named by his Elf parents for their favorite singer), around town. He’s been seen at Chamber member businesses for the past few weeks and will be continuing his trek around the community until Christmas. Check out our Facebook page to see where he’s been. Keep an I out for him; he may be visiting you next!

Speaking of the holidays, our annual Holiday Luncheon is set for next week! We are so proud to be partnering with the talented singers from Westbeat, presented by 3D Theatricals, for this event. We will also be providing the donated items from the Chamber’s Holiday Drive to the ABCUSD Head Start Program. I can promise you, this event will both warm your heart and give you a big dose of holiday spirit. RSVP today!

Have a wonderful weekend – remember to keep your holiday shopping local! #shopcerritos

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw

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Giving is Easy

Published: 12/7/2017

Giving is Easy

Giving is easy, and Americans love to give. As a nation, we give 20 times more than other industrialized countries. Each December, I’m reminded of how giving we are as a community. Several years ago we started the Chamber’s Holiday Drive, where we encourage Chamber members to donate needed items to a local organization. We’ve helped five great organizations over the past five years – Su Casa, Community Family Guidance Center, Friends of the 1st CEB, and BEE Smart Scholars Foundation. This year the program assisted the 180 families involved in the ABCUSD Head Start Program. I was moved by the sheer amount of all the items donated. I have to thank our collection sites (see a list below) and the companies that collected items to donate. I was so moved by the number of donations collected this year – unbelievable! So, from the bottom of my heart, I can only say thank you to you all – you made a difference in the lives of many this holiday season.

Our holiday cheer isn’t over yet – we have our Holiday Mixer next Thursday at Sheraton Cerritos Hotel from 4 PM to 6 PM. Come on out and have some more holiday cheer with the Chamber – it’s always a blast!

One last thing…another Columbo moment…as many of you know, I grew up in Ventura County. I know the area ravaged by this week’s wildfires well and my heart is breaking for those who have lost everything. So, if I may ask, let’s keep those who have lost so much this last week across SoCal in mind. There are many ways to give – from local churches to the Red Cross. If you can, please help. Giving is easy.

Have a nice weekend.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Santa Comes Early…for Retailers

Published: 12/15/2017

Santa Comes Early…for Retailers

Retail sales are up by .08%, according to the Wall Street Journal. This might not seem like a big deal, it’s less than a full point, but economists had predicted only a slight increase of .03%. So, Americans are spending more this holiday season – online, in stores, and at restaurants. Increased consumer spending is all great news for the nation’s retailers, mostly made up of small businesses. According to the article, electronics and appliance retailers, along with online sellers, saw the greatest growth. Traditional “brick and mortar” retailers saw growth as well, with big increases over the Black Friday weekend. So, what’s behind this increase? There are several reasons from low unemployment to increasing real estate values driving up Americans’ net worth. Whatever the reason, this increase in consumer spending is a sign of a growing economy…which is a great thing.  Remember there are only ten days left until Christmas – hit those local retailers!

There are only a few weeks left in 2017. It’s been a great, albeit strange, year. We’ve seen new highs with the Dow Jones in the New York Stock Exchange and catastrophic natural disasters (some ongoing here in SoCal). The Chamber has had our highs as well with maybe the biggest Taste of the Region and Business Expo ever and successfully fighting for our local businesses. I think we are providing more value than ever for our members’ investments and I’m proud of the work we do to support our members and the local economy.

As we roll into January, make sure you have your calendars marked for our Let’s Do Lunch at Four Seasons Buffett on the 17th and our annual Labor Law Update Workshop, presented by Ann K. Smith, Esq. of AALRR, on the 25th. I hope to see you at one or both of these events.

Have a nice weekend.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Home is the nicest word there is. Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Keep that Holiday Feeling

Published: 12/22/2017

Keep that Holiday Feeling

Happy holidays! Christmas will be here in just a few days. It’s been a great holiday season for the Chamber –  with an outstanding Holiday Drive supporting the ABCUSD Head Start Program, a fun Holiday Luncheon, and a very festive Holiday Mixer. Our pal Elfis has made his way around the community, stopping at Chamber members to visit and shop. It’s hard to believe that the season will be over soon. At the risk of stealing a line from a Hallmark Channel holiday movie, there’s really no reason we can’t keep what makes this season so wonderful in our hearts and actions all year long. The wonder, joy, fellowship, and giving spirit drive this season and make us all a bit better (uh, maybe not in the mall parking lot…but I digress). Maybe that’s what we can all strive for in 2018. 
 
“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.” Margaret Thatcher
 
“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day a year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” Eric Svareid
 
“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” W.C. Jones
 
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” Roy L. Smith
 
“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!” Dr. Seuss
 
“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!” Dave Barry
 
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” Hamilton Wright Mabie
 
From me – and all of the Chamber’s staff, board, and ambassadors – happy holidays. Please note this will be the last This Week at the Chamber for 2017. I’ll be back in 2018 with some changes to this weekly email. Stay tuned.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

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Different Year Same Challenges

Published: 1/12/2017

Different Year Same Challenges

I hope you all had a great holiday season and are looking forward to an outstanding 2018. We roll into 2018 with some positive momentum for business. Consumer confidence is up, the markets are red hot, and corporations are committed to spending what they will save under the new tax plan. Locally, we have new businesses opening up on a regular basis, from new supermarkets like Sprouts to eateries like PF Chang’s, and more will be opening in the coming weeks. If there is any bad news, it has to be the ever-changing business environment in California where we are paying the highest taxes at the pump in the country and some of the toughest employment laws as well. No doubt 2018 will have its share of challenges, but remember that the Chamber is here to help and is fighting for our members constantly.

A new year means new laws, especially here in California. There were hundreds of new laws passed by the Legislature last year, with many covering how businesses deal with employees. These laws cover issues impacting hiring to payment. If you are a business owner or manager, your head might be spinning with all of the information coming your way. Don’t worry; the Chamber’s here to help! In just a few weeks we’ll be having superstar employment attorney and former Chamber President Ann K. Smith, Esq., provide an overview of the new labor laws. Be in the know, sign up now for this event. Let me tell you, making a mistake on how you work with employees can be very costly.

Finally, I want to talk a bit about all of the anger in our nation and community right now. I always appreciate a person’s passion for an issue and respect from where that passion is coming. I may not always agree with a person, but I respect their opinion and, ultimately, my position could prove to be the wrong one after everything is said and done. My point, and something I posted on social media earlier this week: just because you don’t agree with someone, it doesn’t make them wrong. Maybe we can change arguments to discussions to promote understanding instead of division. Then again, I may be living in the “upsidedown” (Stranger Things reference).

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote: Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted. Groucho Marx

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Taxation ROI

Published: 1/19/2017

Taxation ROI

In business, it’s all about the return on investment, or ROI. You want to make sure you’re getting a solid return on the investment in your business or an idea, which makes absolute sense. When it comes to taxation, this line blurs a bit…er…a lot. An article in the San Jose Mercury News notes that California is only second to New York in state and local taxes collected per citizen. When compared to the five most populous states, California trails in the number of teachers per student, police officers per crime, and firefighters per resident. This article calls into question what we get back from our state government…do you know because I don’t! Could it be that the state is overpaying for public services? No doubt says the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. We are a giving group and have voted for state and local sales tax increases, with promises that the funds will go to schools and roads, but I think we’re all a bit tired of waiting for changes or improvements. It’s time to demand more. We aren’t just taxpayers, we are investors, and we need a return on our growing investment.

How about some good news? Well, our own Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent of the ABC Unified School District, is one of four finalists for the American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Sieu’s vision that “demographics do not determine destiny” has changed the lives of ABCUSD students and caught the eye of this national organization. You may not know, but Dr. Sieu is the daughter of Chinese immigrants, and she even lived in the back of a laundry service where her family worked. But if you’ve spent any time with her, you know that this small in stature lady can move mountains. We’ve seen it time and time again with what she’s done for the ABCUSD students. We share hearty congratulations to you for this recognition Dr. Sieu.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to RSVP for next week’s Labor Law Update – where you get the latest info on all the new employment laws passed by the state legislature – and our newly renamed mixer – the 4 to 6 Mix – on Wednesday, February 28th at Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar. It’s going to be a busy few months – hope you can join us!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith 
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote: If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded. Maya Angelou

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I Have a Great Job

Published: 1/26/2017

I Have a Great Job

I have a great job. I really do. I get to represent the business community from one of the finest cities in California. When I tell folks I work for the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce they always – ALWAYS – have great things to say about Cerritos. They might talk about the Los Cerritos Center or the Auto Square where they shop (I can’t tell you how many family members give me the “Yes-Cerritos” line – and I LOVE IT!). Some tell me how great the local restaurants are and that their favorite place to eat is right here in Cerritos. Others tell me how the love an evening out here and how special the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts is to them. Still, others just give me an envious look…and I try not to smile too big. Yeah, I have a great job in a great place with some of the best people I’ve ever met. Next week will be a bit quiet around here…no major events. We’ll be gearing up for Let’s Do Breakfast at Polly’s Pies on February 6th and The 4 to 6 Mix on the 28th. We are also working on the State of the District in March where we will get to hear from Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu. But wait, there’s more – we are partnering with Capt. Nunez and the LASD to hold an expanded Active Shooter Training seminar in April. The message here: watch your inbox! Have a great weekend, we’ll see you soon. xer – the 4 to 6 Mix – on Wednesday, February 28th at Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar. It’s going to be a busy few months – hope you can join us!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote: I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.  Steven Wright

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Change is Constant

Published: 2/9/2017

Change is Constant

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that change is the only constant. Those Greeks were a smart bunch, or good at pointing out the obvious. Well, if you haven’t heard, the Chamber’s going through a bit of chamber right now. Our most senior team member, Jill Ovard, retired last week. Jill had over 11 years with the Chamber and was a critical resource for many in the community. If you didn’t know, Jill was our Operations Manager, a rather ill-fitting title. She project managed many of our events and programs and developed many of the procedures we use each and every day. At this point, the Chamber team will consist of myself, May and our part-time bookkeeper Clarence. We will manage the Chamber programs, projects and events through the remainder of the fiscal year. I want to thank Jill again for her years of service to this community and for putting up with me. She will be missed.

What a fun week!  A fun and lively group gathered at Polly’s Pies on Tuesday for Let’s Do Breakfast and later that day we helped welcome a new Starbucks to the community with a fantastic ribbon cutting. Later in the week, the Chamber Ambassadors gathered for their monthly meeting. I can’t tell you how amazing this group is and how much they do for the Chamber. You will see them up and at ’em early at the Fiesta on the Fairways loading up trucks full of supplies and staying late at Taste of the Region helping to clean up. I appreciate you and all you do for the community.

Lastly, I want to make sure you understand how important you are to the local business community. Your investment in the Chamber allows us to keep programs costs as low as we can and gives us the capital to reach more local businesses. Your investment in us pays dividends beyond the benefits you receive, but it expands exponentially to other community groups and education when we can develop partnerships like the one we have developed with ABCUSD Career Technical Education. Together, we can make sure that Cerritos remains the premier location for business now and into the future.

Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote: Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.  James Stephens

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What Do You Stand For?

Published: 2/16/2017

What Do You Stand For?

What do you stand for? I mean to say, what is it that you strive to accomplish? Maybe it’s making the best tacos in the area or providing the most unique Native American art pieces. Here at the Chamber, it’s always been about making sure Cerritos is a great place to do business, reside, and work. I gave a brief update about the Chamber at this week’s Economic Development Commission meeting, and it really put my mind in a tizzy about what to say. There’s so much we do, with a very small staff and budget, I wasn’t sure what to focus on. I ended up narrowing what we do down to three areas: Economic Development, Business Development, and Advocacy. Economic Development consists of the education and resources we bring to the business community, like our HR workshops and annual business conference. Business Development is all about bringing opportunities to our members to build their brand and customer base through networking and branding events like the Taste of the Region & Business Expo. Finally, we advocate at all levels of government for common sense laws and regulations that allow business to flourish. Whew! It’s a mouthful, but it’s the Chamber in a nutshell, and it’s what we stand for and what we’re all about.

What do President Lincoln and my father have in common? They share the same birthday. This past weekend we celebrated my father’s 80th birthday with friends and family. My father’s been a warrior and a world traveler. He’s been husband, father, and grandpa. He is the strongest and most giving person I know. It was great to celebrate a man who has done so much for so many. Happy birthday, Dad!

Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you soon.

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote: The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have. Vince Lombardi

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SCOTT Talk

Published: 2/23/2017

SCOTT Talk

This week I gave a “Scott Talk” (think TED Talk, just with more self-deprecating jokes) to students at Westcliff University business school students. For me, the talking part is easy; it’s the putting the presentation together that’s the killer. It’s a process that I’ve learned to both love and hate. This time around the slides came to me like Ralphie’s words about the BB gun he wanted for Christmas. I shared information about what chambers of commerce are and how we are linked throughout the world with other chambers (some 12,000 chambers exist worldwide). I also covered the importance of developing a strong self-brand and how to do that. It all let to the importance of networking, where you can show off your brand and build relationships that will likely last longer than any businesses you develop with others. I was told I did a good job…after talking more than an hour (I was so sick of my voice…I can’t even tell you)…but I know I could do better. I hope that there were some nuggets that these students can take with them. Aren’t we all here to give?
If you heard a big stampede last night around 11:25, that was just developers running from the City after the City Council voted down a new housing development from Chamber member MLC Holdings. This project hit hurdle after hurdle before being voted down by Council 4-1 late last night. Word has already spread to developers looking at building either commercial and residential projects in the City. Needless to say, this isn’t good. I respect the Council’s decision; it’s not easy to sit up there and make tough decisions when you have residents out in force. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the City will continue to progress and prosper as the future is upon us and the world is changing at an exponential pace…we don’t want to left behind.
Next week we’ll be getting together at everyone’s favorite watering hole – Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in the Los Cerritos Center. General Manager Diane is always a gracious host, and it is sure to be a night full of connecting and laughter. I hope you can join us!
Have a nice “winter-like” weekend.

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote:
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
W. Edwards Deming

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You’re (Not) Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Published: 3/2/2018
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This is an iconic line from an iconic movie – Jaws. Chief Brody, played by Roy Schnieder, has just seen the large great white shark they are searching for first hand and he’s shocked by its size. In the end, Quint (spoiler – he doesn’t make it), Hooper, and Brody lose the boat while killing the shark (“Smile you son-of-b*tch!”). You might be asking if I have a point, and you know I do. The point is courage and working with what you have. These three characters were thrown into a situation where they barely knew (or cared for) each other, in a small run-down boat, using old ways of “sharking” to find the beast that was terrorizing Amity. Plans were made, and fell apart (like the boat), but improvisation saved the day. And, well, that’s the point – we are constantly making and shifting plans in business (and life). Think back to where your business was last year at this time, how many times did you have to course correct or find a different way to track down the “shark”? We all know you need a map to guide you to your goals, but often we have to improvise to find another way to the goal. We need a new route, not a bigger boat.
This was a fun week…the kind of week that just makes you smile. The Mix at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar was simply outstanding. GM Diane and Manager Michelle were amazing hosts and made sure our group was well fed and happy. We had many prospective members join us to learn more about the Chamber, and I expect our Chamber family to grow quite a bit in the coming weeks.
Have a great weekend…looking forward to clocks changing next weekend!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote: People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.  Bob Hope

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How Does $8 Billion Sound?

Published: 4/13/2018

How much money did your business make in March? How does $8 billion sound? Well, that’s how much “revenue” the State of California brought in last month. Where did this money come from? Over half came from personal income taxes, with corporate taxes were at about $550 million and sales taxes made up another $2 billion. Personal income taxes were over 6% higher than projected and corporate taxes were a whopping 72% more than expected – 72%! The “bad” news…if there’s any good news when talking about taxes…is that sales taxes were down by $10 million. Which I guess figures when personal income taxes and corporate taxes (not all corporations are of the large “big box” variety) are bringing in more than expected. Do you feel overtaxed? A recent study by WalletHub and published in a CNBC article shows that California has the tenth highest tax burden in the nation, not far behind states like Hawaii and Illinois, but pretty far behind New York. So, it’s not all bad news, right? Want more bad news? The Legislature is currently looking at ways to bring in more revenue, which means from each of us. Yay! Enjoy paying your taxes!
 
If you are looking for me on Friday, don’t. I’ll be trackside at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Friday’s my day to go and check out all the IndyCar and sports car entries as they practice for races taking place this weekend. I love auto racing and all the time and effort drivers, engineers and mechanics put into their collective crafts to bring these amazing machines to the track. From determining downforce levels to performing in a pit stop, the entire team must work together to bring home a victory. Teamwork. Maybe there’s a business lesson in there…can’t get to victory lane unless your team is all on the same page and understands how their jobs align with the overall goal. Anyway, I’ll see you on Monday.
 
We are now just weeks from the Fiesta on the Fairways. I’ve already dialed in the weather (Chamber execs have that power), and it’s going to be just a perfect day on the course. Come out and meet other business and community leaders and maybe even bring home a new Lexus if you hit a hole-in-one. It will be the best day you have at work, I guarantee it.
 
Enjoy this spring weekend, and we’ll see you next week.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

We’re all working together; that’s the secret. Sam Walton

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Bragging Rights

Published: 4/6/2018

It’s time to brag. First, let me brag about one of our members – IG1 Communications. Some of you know Ivan from IG1. If not, you know his work. He’s responsible for the great videos of the Taste of the Region & Business Expo for the past few years, and he did a great job covering last year’s Fiesta on the Fairways Golf Classic. His clients range from small business to larger corporations, but he devotes the same amount of time and energy into each project. The proof? Well, IG1 took home two Addy awards presented by the American Advertising Federation.
 
I’d also like to brag about a local community leader: Councilmember Jim Edwards. It was just announced that the Community Family Guidance Center has been named Councilmember Edwards as the 2018 Protector of Children. This prestigious award goes to a local community leader who has demonstrated a history of serving kids. Mr. Edwards, a career educator, and devoted public servant has worked hard to improve the quality of the community for all kids.
 
Finally, I’d like to brag a bit about the Chamber. As you know, it’s just a team of two right now, but we’ve been kicking it! Over the past five weeks, we’ve brought in eight new members all while putting together multiple events and delivering services to our members. We’ve been putting in the hours and grinding, which all pays off with results. Let me give a “shout out” to May who is just a superstar. Really, we have a great Chamber with great members and community leaders…and the staff’s not too shabby either.

If you’d like me to brag about you or your business, shoot me a line. 
 
With that, I’ll let you go and enjoy your weekend. Hope to see you around soon.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

The most effective way to do it, is to do it. Amelia Earhart

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Because of Star Wars

Published: 5/4/2018

Because of Star Wars

It’s May the 4th…Star Wars Day! As you know, I’m a bit of a nerd. I was thinking; there are lots of great lessons and quotes from Star Wars that translate to great business advice. Stay with me on this.

  • “Never tell me the odds” is a quote from Han Solo responding to C3P0’s remark about the odds of success. This is something business owners feel every day. The odds are stacked against business, and it takes guts to turn an idea into a company. At a certain point, you have to put the odds aside, take a calculated risk, and put in the work to make it happen. Just like Han Solo.
  • There’s always hope. Something that runs through the original trilogy is this sensibility of hope and that all will balance out in the end. There will be highs and lows in business, but you always have to have an optimistic outlook and keep looking “down the road” to your goals. You may have to change your plans, but your goal is always there. Let’s just hope that your goal isn’t to destroy the Death Star.
  • Learning is critical, but doing is where it counts. Now, if you know me, you know where I’m headed with this – Yoda. “Do or do not, there is no try,” said Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back. You need to learn all you can, but at some point, you need to do the do. Luke can be considered a cautionary tale as he left before he was “ready” to fight Darth Vader (losing a hand in the process). But he survived and became stronger because he did it.

Finally, let me get a bit philosophical with you and talk about the force. We really are all connected, and it takes just a moment to impact another’s life with a smile, a kind gesture, or offering to help. As I tell students when I talk about networking, you get when you give. Kindness is the force that binds us all together.

Enjoy your weekend and don’t come by the office on Monday, we’ll be out at the golf course at the 38th Annual Cerritos Golf Classic – the Fiesta on the Fairways!

Have a wonderful weekend, and may the force be with you.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

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5th Place Ain’t So Bad

Published: 5/11/2018

With a Gross Domestic Product of $2.7 trillion, California is back up to the fifth largest economy in the world, overtaking the United Kingdom. Who remains in front of the Golden State? Well, the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany. That’s it. So, what are the sources of all this money? It’s mostly coming from finance and real estate, along with professional services and government adding up to nearly half of the State’s GDP. Manufacturing and retail both come in at six percent and entertainment is at four percent. Here’s a shocker, agriculture makes up less than two percent of the State’s GDP. Nearly 40 percent of all the State’s production comes from the combined Counties of Los Angeles and Orange.

But GDP is only part of the picture of our economy. California has a high cost of living. CNBC ranked it the fourth highest cost of living state. The business climate is not the greatest. In fact, it’s considered the worst in the nation by many. But business still loves California as it’s ranked second in access to capital. Sure, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, and we can do better.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone involved in this week’s Cerritos Golf Classic – Fiesta on the Fairways. This year’s golf tournament was a success with a great group of golfers and sponsors. I’d like to thank all of the sponsors for supporting the Chamber: CalMet Services, Los Cerritos Center, Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary, Office of Supervisor Janice Hahn, CTA Travel, Walmart, Lexus of Cerritos, Union Bank, Capital One – Spark Business Card, Cerritos Auto Square, Community Family Guidance Center, Edward Jones – Paolo Quiroga, Extreme Autowerks, Scooter’s Italian Ice, Sheraton Cerritos Hotel, STACKED Restaurants, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Beverage Company, Rockstar, Polly’s Pies, Island Burgers & Fine Drinks, and Norwalk – La Mirada Plumbing. I’d also like to thank our golf committee for guiding us to another successful event: Ken Kraus, Steve Vicencia, Karen Lentz, Nancy Gutzmer, Paolo Quiroga, and Jim Edwards. Finally, we are a team of two at the Chamber, so we can’t do what we do without our awesome Board, Ambassadors, and volunteers – a big thanks to all of you. Oh, and congrats to Jim Giordano’s team for taking home the first place trophies.

Take care and celebrate those moms this weekend, they deserve only the best we can give.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”
– William Makepeace Thackery

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Bringing the Value

Published: 5/25/2018

Bringing the Value

Here we are at Memorial Day weekend – the official start of summer and the end of May. It sure came quickly this year. Let me tell you that May was one busy month for the Chamber with three ribbon cuttings, two multi-chamber mixers, a prayer breakfast, and a golf tournament. Oh wait, the fun’s not over just yet as we have a new “Java & Jeans” event this morning and State of the City next Thursday. The Chamber also participated in the monthly Gateway Chambers Alliance meeting, where we took positions on several issues, and we had a high-energy monthly Ambassador meeting. As you can tell, your chamber of commerce is doing all it can to provide you value. We aren’t just busy to be busy, these are all targeted activity to make sure we are fulfilling our promise to each of our members – giving them the most “bang” for their investment “buck.” We are sincerely proud of what we do and what we offer.

On another note, the past few weeks have been full of great personal events as well. As I mentioned last week, my daughter graduated from community college and is moving on the university in the fall. Monday was May’s birthday, and we celebrated at a local member’s restaurant. And, my niece, Mila, was born early Thursday morning. Truly, it’s been an amazing week.

Next week is State of the City – we still have seats/sponsorships available, but they are going fast. If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, you might want to do so ASAP!

Enjoy Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you take time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. If you can, attend a local Memorial Day event in your community. The City of Cerritos hosts a remarkable event each year. This year, it will be on Monday at 10 AM.

See you soon.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. George Washington

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Can We Talk?

Published: 6/1/2018

Can we talk?

Bob Dylan’s famous song “Times they are a-changin'” is as true now as ever. Look around; we are on the verge of self-driving cars, we spend too much time staring at little computers we keep in our pockets, and we can rarely be bothered to have a real conversation with another person – hey, just text me! No, I’m not saying progress or tech is bad, I’m not in a “kids, get off my lawn” mode either. Here’s the deal: this week, one of my social media posts generated a bit of a kerfuffle. Sure, we’ve all seen how social media posts can get out of control, and this example is pretty mild, but I was surprised how some folks just let who they are and what they think so quickly when typing. I’m not sure they would act the same if they were having a conversation. Which brings me to my point…yes, finally…we just don’t converse any longer.

My pal Herbie joined me at a city council meeting not too long ago and was surprised with how the speakers during public comments addressed the council. Let me just say – they were less than kind or cordial. In fact, several seemed not to have a point other than being angry. His question to me continues to ring in my ears – “Don’t people know how to talk with each other anymore?” I just don’t think we do. In a world where opinion is fact, and everyone has a better way of doing things, we have forgotten we are all in this together. I don’t have to agree with you, but I should understand where you’re position on an issue. Instead, we just raise our voices instead of improving our arguments. Maybe communication, what I’ve based my career on, is vanishing. Maybe the next candidate’s forum or debate will be done by text.

I want to take a moment to thank Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido and City Manager Art Gallucci for providing a great presentation at this week’s State of the City. The local economy is strong, with a robust retail environment. At a time when many suburban malls are struggling, the Los Cerritos Center remains strong with nearly 12 million visitors last year. Retail sales in 2018-2019 fiscal year are projected to be nearly $3.5 billion – amazing. We certainly should thank the business community for all they contribute to the local economy. As a “no-low” property tax city, local leaders depend on sales taxes to make sure residents and safe, and the city looks great. You can find a copy of the presentation here.

Have a nice weekend.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

The future will be better tomorrow. Dan Quayle

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The Sad Truth

Published: 6/8/2018

The Sad Truth

The sad truth is there are more than 123 suicides per day in our country. This week we’ve seen several high profile, and arguably successful, people end their lives prematurely. It’s sad. Very sad. The focus on mental health continues to grow, but not fast enough. There’s a great deal of attention on violence and addiction, but these are the byproducts of mental health issues. We are missing the cause as we seek the inevitable answer to “why?” The World Health Organization estimates that mental health issues impact the global economy by $1 billion each year. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates that the cost to the U.S. due to suicide is nearly $70 billion. I know, you can’t put a dollar figure on life, but there certainly is one. We need to do more. We need to talk about it. We need to pay attention to our friends, family members, and employees/co-workers. Most of all, we need to let people know it’s okay to get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255, and you can also text CONNECT to 741741 to get help. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., but we always seem surprised when we hear of one or when one touches our lives. This. Is. Solvable.

I want to invite you all to celebrate local business leaders at the Chamber’s Business Awards Reception and Board Installation on June 20th. We will be announcing the awardees next week and will be welcoming in the new Board for the 2018-2019 fiscal year at an event that will feature great food from some of your favorite local restaurants in a festive atmosphere. Look for more information on this event next week and make plans to attend on the evening of the 20th.

Finally, at the end of election week, I want to recognize those individuals who made the tough decision to run for office. My hat’s off to anyone who has the courage to face the scrutiny of running for public office. It’s an amazing step you all took to serve your communities. Congratulations to all who dared to take that step. We need more like you.

Instead of saying “have a great weekend” today, I’m going to ask you to give strangers a smile, give a friend a pat on the back, and go give a family member a hug.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Mother Teresa

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And the award goes to…

Published: 6/29/2018

And the award goes to…
  
“Out with the old, in with the new!” That’s what outgoing Board Chair Dr. Mark Chung said as he shared his outgoing message at last week’s Chamber Business Awards and Board Installation Reception. Dr. Chung did a great job as Board Chair, leading the Chamber through what turned out to be a rather interesting year. Brian Jondle, VP at HUB International Insurance Services (what used to be Vicencia & Buckley Insurance) will be taking over as Board Chair. Brian’s a great guy – a dad to two small children and a pretty darn good golfer who’s grown up in the business. My only problem with him is that he’s a San Francisco Giants fan…I guess no one’s perfect. Joining the Board this year are Deepa Badhwar, Bing Lee, Anthony LeBlanc, and Terry Matz. We said goodbye to Teri Bazen and Jon Matson, as they left the Board after two terms – and both spent time as Board Chair! It’s always an interesting time for me when the Board changes. See, I get new bosses each year…this year I’ll have 18 of them! Fortunately for me, they are 18 awesome people who are dedicated to this community. I expect the 2018-2019 year to be a great one – we have some big things in store for our members and the community!
 
I’d also like to congratulate those who were recognized by the Chamber with our annual Business Awards. Business of the Year went to Trinity Graphics, formerly Trinity Worldwide Reprographics. Former owner Paul Rosenow, and new owner Amy Miller have a truly unique organization that is committed to helping the community. Business Person of the Year went to Maha Rayan, who is the GM/VP at Union Bank. Maha is a trooper and not only helps out at Chamber events but is committed to helping the community through her volunteer efforts. Ambassador of the Year went to Amanda Blanton from Farmers & Merchants Bank. Amanda has been the Ambassador Committee Chair for the past two years and has really taken the group to new levels. She’s a hard worker, and we really couldn’t do what we do without the Ambassadors. Volunteer of the Year was Nancy Gutzmer from the American Cancer Society – she runs the Relay for Life events across SoCal. She’s volunteered countless hours to help the Chamber, working at events and behind the scenes giving us an extra staff member! Finally, the Doug Padelford Memorial Award – a special award given by the outgoing Board Chair to an individual who has helped them during their tenure in leadership – went to Desmond Thompson from Lexus of Cerritos. Desmond worked closely with Dr. Chung and stepped in for him on several occasions. All of these honors are well deserved…I really can’t stress this enough. These are remarkable folks who work for amazing businesses.
 
On another note, you might have noticed you haven’t received this publication in the past few weeks. Well, there’s a good reason for that, and it’s not that I’ve been in Tahiti enjoying boat drinks. I actually was down and out due to illness. Watch out; I’m back in action now!
 
Enjoy your weekend!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

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Trade War – What is it good for?

Published: 7/6/2018

Trade War – What is it good for?
  

It’s never a good thing when the word “war” is used to describe an issue. Yes, I’m talking about the “Trade War” the U.S. currently has with many, if not most, of our trading partners throughout the globe. Look, I understand the president’s point – trade with many of these nations is anything but fair. I watched former GM CEO Bob Lutz on CNBC this week talk about how it’s finally time something is done in regards to trade. He pointed out how American vehicles are at a disadvantage in Europe while European vehicles aren’t subject to as stringent tariffs. He also pointed out that this is the way the president negotiates. Maybe he’s right. But this trade war will hit our nation and state. The U.S. Chamber estimates an economic impact to California of almost $6 billion. As a someone who’s involved in economic development, any impact on the local economy scares me. Also, I’m a bit of a free trade nerd and hope that all of this is just nations puffing their respective chests before doing the right thing.

Last week, we closed an amazing year at the Chamber. We’re still putting the stats together, but it was a remarkable year. I’d like to thank all of our members for supporting the local economy by participating in YOUR chamber of commerce.

I hope to see you at next week’s Let’s Do Lunch at Islands – YUM!

Take it easy and have a nice weekend…find a place to stay cool!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.  Abraham Lincoln

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It’s Great to Serve

Published: 7/13/2018

It’s Great to Serve

So, the post I was writing for today has been hijacked by a much better story. Instead, I’m going to share a story about what just happened here at the Chamber. Some of you may know that the Chamber serves as a “catch-all” for the community, meaning folks call us when they have nowhere left to call. We’ve had calls asking for help in getting keys out of a sewer and complaints about the lack of shopping carts at local stores. We also get calls asking where to get local services, and we proudly refer them to Chamber members. This happened just today. May answered a call from a resident who’s air conditioning went down, and she needed help in getting it repaired as quickly as possible. May, of course, provided the names and phone numbers of those Chamber members who could provide service and ended the call. A few moments later this resident called back unable to schedule an appointment as soon as she’d like. May sprung into action and reached out to some members to see if we could help. Sadly, we couldn’t get her any faster service – this heat wave has kept A/C repair folks very busy – but that’s not the point. The point is we are here to serve – serve both the residents of Cerritos and our members. If we do this right, then everyone involved wins. So, that’s my story…one of service and the satisfaction we get when we connect a potential customer in need of a Chamber member who can provide service. By the way, good job May!

There will be no This Week at the Chamber next week as I’ll be making my annual trek to San Diego for Comic-Con. We’ll be packing up the family-funster next Tuesday en-route to all things geeky. I’ll give you an update from time to time on Facebook and a full rundown when I get back the following week.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you on the 25th at The Grove at Cerritos for our evening mixer with the Santa Fe Springs Chamber.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. Muhammad Ali

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Are you kidding me?

Published: 7/27/2018

Are you kidding me?
    
Are you kidding me? Really, are you kidding me? We just voted on five ballot measures last month, and Californians will have 11 on November’s ballot to consider. Oh, and we have some big decisions to make from deciding nearly $16 billion in bonds to taxes to whether we should move to permanent daylight savings time to rent control. Most of the attention has gone to a measure that’s not even on the ballot any longer – the measure to split California into three states. The other notable measure is the repeal of the “gas tax” that went into law earlier this year. I know November seems like a long time away, but it’ll be right around the corner. Take a look at the information below and do your homework as many of these measures hit you in the pocketbook. The Chamber, through the Gateway Chambers Alliance, will be coming out with positions on these measures soon. Here’s that list for you:
  • Proposition 1 – BONDS: Issues $4 billion in bonds for housing programs and veterans’ home loans
  • Proposition 2 – BONDS: Authorizes state to use revenue from millionaire’s tax for $2 billion in bonds for homelessness prevention housing
  • Proposition 3 – BONDS: Issues $8.877 billion in bonds for water-related infrastructure and environmental projects
  • Proposition 4 – BONDS: Issues $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals
  • Proposition 5 – TAXES: Revises process for homebuyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer their tax assessments
  • Proposition 6 – TAXES: Repeals 2017’s fuel tax and vehicle fee increases and requires a public vote on future increases
  • Proposition 7 – TIME: Authorizes legislature to provide for permanent daylight saving time if the federal government allows it
  • Proposition 8 – HEALTHCARE: Requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds for revenue above a certain amount
  • Proposition 10 – HOUSING: Allows local governments to regulate rent
  • Proposition 11 – LABOR: Allow ambulance providers to require workers to remain on call during paid breaks
  • Proposition 12 – ANIMALS: Bans sale of meat from animals confined in spaces below specific sizes
So, many of you are asking what I thought of this year’s Comic-Con. It was amazing as
Yours truly with
Mr. Deadpool.
usual. The best part might be what many consider the worst part – the absence of some big studios (Marvel, HBO, among others). I thought the “Con” got back to its roots and the lines to panels seemed much shorter. We enjoyed the Iron Fist, Supernatural, and Doctor Who panels, in addition to many others. Outside the convention center was really happening with all types of “.offsite” events from Amazon’s Jack Ryan show (nice offsite, looks like a great show) to DC showcasing its new DC Universe streaming channel (yup, we pre-ordered it) to Hulu’s new show Castle Rock (from the mind of Stephen King – yikes!). It was a blast – I’m still exhausted, but it was worth it. Can’t wait until next year!
 
Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

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What the SEO?!

Published: 8/3/2018

What the SEO?!
    

Search. Engine. Optimization. SEO. Many of us have heard the words, but don’t realize what it means. Simply put, it has to do with how easy it is to find your website when searching for it on the internet. For instance, if you search for “pizza in Cerritos” on Google, you’ll find a few yelp entries before finding your first pizza restaurant – Ave. 3 Pizza (a great Chamber member!). There could be a variety of reasons why Ave. 3 is ranked above some larger brands, but it could be due to being a member of the Chamber. Does the Chamber have some magic dust we share with members to make their websites hit the top of online searches? Well, kind of. See, part of SEO has to do with other websites that link to “your” site, like having a listing on the Chamber’s website, and how that website is ranked. When I post these columns each week on our site (Scott’s Blog), it actually helps our members’ SEO rankings by helping the Chamber’s rankings. So, magic dust? Not really. I like to think of it as magic writing.

Each year the Chamber is fortunate enough to hear from our local member of Congress, Linda Sanchez. This year, we have partnered with other Chambers from across the Congresswoman’s district to hold a joint State of the Nation Luncheon set for noon to 1:30 PM next Thursday, August 9th at the Doubletree in Norwalk. Not only will you get the latest information about what’s going on in our nation’s capitol, but you will also meet folks from other chambers of commerce. Seating is limited, so make sure you register using the link below ASAP!

While I’m talking about Congresswoman Sanchez, I would like to pass along condolences to her and her family as they deal with the loss of her father. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

We’ll see you next week.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

You will never win if you never begin. Helen Rowland

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What’s Your Biz?

Published: 8/10/2018

What’s Your Biz?
 
What line of business are you in? You’re probably saying “duh, Scott” right now, but I want you to consider this a bit more carefully. Take a look at those financials to see where your revenue is generated. Does it come from what you think it does? Maybe it comes from selling Product/Service B when you thought you were really about selling Product/Service A. For many businesses; this is the case. In fact, it’s that way at most chambers of commerce. Most chamber leaders would tell you they are in the business of helping businesses and communities thrive, which is true. However, when you look at the good ol’ Profit & Loss statement, it might show that the most revenue comes from events. So, I’d say this puts them in the event business, that may (or may not) help move the organization’s mission. Here at the Chamber, our goal is economic development – making sure this community is a great place to own a business, work, and live. It’s that simple. At the end of the day, we are in the business of Cerritos. What’s your line of business? Do you know?
 
I love it when I hear members have partnered with other members to do amazing work. This week, I watched a video shot and produced by a member, IG1 Communications, about another member, Los Cerritos Center. This video – click here – is amazing and covers a recent interactive art project. I won’t spoil it for you…just watch it!
 
Finally, I have some great news for you – crime is going down. However, business still has to be vigilant. Deputy Welby Cham has been making the rounds around the City talking with businesses, giving them tips on how to keep their business safe. A few tips – at the end of the night, empty cash registers and leave the drawers open; keep cash offsite or in a secured safe, a freestanding safe weighing under 300 pounds is a target; finally, make sure you are screening employees properly to prevent “inside jobs.” You can reach Deputy Cham at WLCham@lasd.org, and you can get the latest info about crime here in Cerritos at www.safercerritos.com.
 
Have a nice weekend…remember, we are only seven or so weeks away from this year’s Taste of the Region & Business Expo.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  Dr. Seuss

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Back to the (Chamber’s) Future 

Published: 8/17/2018

Back to the (Chamber’s) Future 

I love the movie Back to the Future. It’s a great story wrapped up with a fun look at the present (uh, 1985 present) with the past. Although we don’t have the flux capacitor to travel through time, we can look back a bit through history using books and the internet (remember when we called it the world wide web?). History, especially American history, wouldn’t’ be complete without chambers of commerce. From taking a stand against taxation in the American Revolution, to working on large public works projects to benefit local economies – maybe you’ve heard of the Golden Gate Bridge – chambers have their fingerprints on this nation’s rise to prominence. In the” Magicians of Main Street – America and its Chambers of Commerce, 1768-1945,” author Chris Mead writes “For the author, looking back, it’s hard to separate these chambers from the growth of the country.” Without a doubt, chambers led the way to creating both strong local and national economies. Although times have a changed, chambers are still working to make sure local economies are strong, making communities strong. I know what you’re thinking right now – in the words of Doc Brown – “Great Scott!” I didn’t know any of this. I may not be great, but I’m here to help.

We have a slew of events coming up, be sure to check out the info below to make sure you’re up on what’s going on here at the Chamber. As always, we’re here to help – have an idea for a business or community project? Drop by, and we can help talk you through it or direct you to resources to make it happen. We might not be able to build the Golden Gate Bridge, but maybe we can help build something just as important to this community.

 

See you soon.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand

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Who’s on First?

Published: 8/24/2018

 

Who’s on First?

It’s just not funny, not one bit. I could be saying this about a great many things, but I’m talking about the minimum wage. Right now you’re saying “again with the minimum wage, Scott?” Well, this time it’s a bit different. Since the beginning of July, I’ve fielded at least 50 calls from businesses wondering what about what wage they should be paying. It’s almost like that old Abbot and Costello bit about “Who’s on First.” As for the “who,” there are nearly 20 different levels of the minimum wage in this state, with many cities and counties carving out more than the state minimum. Where’s the “what?” Well, there are two sets of minimum wages for businesses depending on employee count – one for 25 or less and one for 26 or more. Maybe if we had the state and larger cities to deal with, we’d be okay, but L.A. County had to ensure they were not left out in the fun, so they have a minimum wage for unincorporated areas of the county (by the way, they exempted public entities from this ordinance…maybe because most are in the City of L.A. which has its own minimum wage). So, what’s the minimum wage in Cerritos? Well, we follow the State of California’s minimum wage law. Who knows what next year will bring with the minimum wage, but it’s bound to be exciting. Who? FIRST BASE!

We are in full Taste of the Region & Business Expo mode around here. We have sponsors, restaurants, and exhibitors coming in fast and furious, but we have room for more. Don’t miss out on this great way to connect with the community. Give us a call or visit www.cerritostaste.com to learn more about this fantastic community event. Oh, by the way, come hungry because we have some GREAT local restaurants coming out this year.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you soon.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.  Kobe Bryant

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Constant Distraction

Published: 9/14/2018

 

Constant Distraction

We live and work in a world of constant distraction. How many of us begin working on a project only to have our train of thought derailed by a distraction – a phone call, social media post, or a buzz on the cell phone alerting you to a text message. It’s easy to say that the power of distraction has never been higher. I was listening to a podcast featuring Kobe Bryant who, among other topics, talked about focus. Here’s a man who made a living based on focus. His legendary approach transformed the Lakers and the game of basketball. He’s a man of focus and of limiting his distractions. His focus was to win basketball games and championships, and he let nothing get in the way. What are your goals? What are your distractions? Kobe could have let many things get in his way after his first few championships, but he loved to win. What are the distractions that get in the way of you reaching your goals? Limit the distractions. Focus on the goal. Win.

The Countdown has begun. As you read this, we less than two weeks away from the Taste of the Region & Business Expo, presented by Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa. We are truly excited about this year’s event – it’s going to be outstanding! We still have room for exhibitors and sponsors. Make sure it’s on your calendar to attend. You won’t want to miss it.

Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.  Mahatma Gandhi

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You’re Casting What?

Published: 10/12/2018

 

You’re Casting What?

I’m proud to announce that the Chamber has posted our first podcast (click here). Our first podcast is about Career and Technical Education, and I had a great conversation with the CTE team at ABCUSD – Dr. Rhonda Buss and Sasha Leonardo. CTE is a great program that will help prepare students for the workforce. I encourage you to listen and give me some feedback.

You might ask why we’d try podcasting. Well, quite frankly, it’s a great way to get longer form communications to an audience. There are now more than 550,000 podcast “shows.” Over half of all U.S. households “fans” of podcasts, and 44% of Americans have listened to a podcast. Clearly, this is a great way to tell a story.

I have a great story coming up for next month, so stay tuned!

We have all kinds of events coming up – check out our calendar for more info. We’ll be hearing from Dr. Jose Fierro, President of Cerritos College, as he gives us the State of the College on November 29th at the college. A few days later, we’ll celebrate Halloween with a Let’s Do Breakfast at Panera Bread. The following week, we’ll be at AMF Cerritos Lanes for the Turkey Bowl and Networking Mixer. The Turkey Bowl is a Chamber favorite, and we expect to sell out again this year – so get those teams together and get ready to roll!

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you soon.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.  John Burroughs

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T-Minus One Week

Published: 11/16/2018

 

T-Minus One Week

We are a week away from the official beginning of the holiday shopping season – Black Friday. The National Retail Federation estimates that over 164 million Americans will be shopping over the long Thanksgiving weekend, with well over 100 million visiting retailers on Black Friday. Why shouldn’t they? This year retailers are focusing more on providing value for dollars spent, and many have even been hyping pre-BF deals. Although retail results were down the past few months, it’s been up recently. Of course, the price of gas has had an impact on retail dollars spent, but the numbers look good even if you take it away from the stats. Vehicle sales are up (way to go Mr. Lexus – Desmond Thompson!), and retailers are excited about a great holiday shopping season. Here in Cerritos, most of the City budget comes from sales tax revenue. So, I’d like to remind you to Shop Cerritos…visit both the mall and the independent retailers in the City. Remember, every dollar you spend is not only an investment in that store, but in your community – maintaining the parks, trimming the trees, and improving the roads. So, smile when you are out shopping for that perfect gift! Just Shop Cerritos, that’s all I ask!

We are mere weeks away from the Chamber’s Annual Holiday Luncheon, where we will be presenting the Cerritos Optimist Club with the donations received from our Holiday Drive. See below for a list of collection sites located around the area. You can also stop by the Chamber office to drop off a gift, or bring one to the luncheon. All who donate will get a raffle ticket for the outstanding raffle we have at this event. The Holiday Drive is an easy way for you to help needy families in our community during the holidays. Let us know if you’d like to serve as a collection site.

Finally, I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving as you won’t see this email next week. We all have so much to be thankful for these days. Remember, there is someone out there who would love to trade places for the life you have. I hope you laugh, hug your loved ones, and smile at everyone you meet.

Scott

scott

Scott Smith
President/CEO 

Weekly Quote:

The undertaking of a new action brings new strength. Richard L. Evans

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Stay the Course

Published: 12/7/2018

Stay the Course

“I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater.” This is a quote from our 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. This week, a grateful nation said goodbye to President Bush. Our nation put aside politics to celebrate a man who not only fought for his country but dedicated his life to public service. By all accounts, he was a humble man who, like many before him, put his country first. His life code of “Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try Hard. Forgive. Stay the course.” is one we should all aspire to hold. In this world of political hatred, it’s great to see we can all celebrate a man who served his nation. Godspeed Mr. President. Godspeed. From a grateful nation, we move to a grateful community. The Chamber’s holiday luncheon is always special to me. This event showcases the best of this community as we support a local non-profit organization. This year, as you know, we supported the Needy Family Project through the Cerritos Optimist Club. The well over 100 kids supported through this program will have a brighter holiday because of the donations you made. I want to take a moment to thank all who gave or served as a collection site. I’d also like to thank the Cerritos Optimist Club for all they do to support the community. We’ll keep the holiday celebration going next with with the Chamber’s annual holiday mixer. This year’s event will be at Romano’s Macaroni Grill in the Cerritos Towne Center. Come by next Thursday evening; we’ll be there from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Let’s keep the celebration of this wonderful time of year going! Have a wonderful weekend.

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote:
“No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.” – George H. W. Bush

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Bet on Cerritos

Published: 12/14/2018

Bet on Cerritos

I’ve been thinking of what to write this week since last weekend. It’s not that I have writer’s block, it’s more about having too much to say. In the past several weeks, we’ve seen everything from devastating wildfires to a huge plunge in the stock market. As we approach the holiday season, many feel uncertain. They are uncertain about the economy, the world, their lives. At a time when the nation’s economy has been growing at a record pace, we should be feeling confident. Locally, we have a great deal to be thankful for – from new businesses opening to local businesses reinvesting in their stores. Still, the Great Recession is still in the back of our minds when we look at making a large purchase. I’m not a psychic, nor a gambler, but if I were a betting man, I’d bet on the local economy. I think it will remain strong in 2019. It might not grow at the record pace we’ve seen, but businesses want to come into Cerritos. They know this city is a draw to consumers from across the region. They see the value in opening along South Street, in the Los Cerritos Center, or the industrial park. Things have to slow down, but slow growth is better than no growth. If I bet, I’d bet on Cerritos. Always. This will be the last This Week at the Chamber for 2018. It’s been a tremendous year for the Chamber, and we are looking forward to a great 2019. I want to thank all who have contributed to the Chamber’s success this year – our amazing board of directors, ambassadors, volunteers, and, of course, our tremendous members! We have impacted the local economy in many positive ways from providing valuable human resources information to small businesses to holding the Taste of the Region. We are proud of the role we play in making a difference in this community. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from all of us at the Chamber

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote:
The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.  Arthur C. Clarke

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2019 Predictions

Published: 1/4/201

2019 Predictions

From the CEO It’s hard to believe its 2019. The one commodity you can’t buy is time…and it keeps ticking away. So use it, don’t let it slip through your fingers. Make those moments count, because the only thing we ever really own is our memories. Let’s make some great ones in 2019. I have a few predictions for the coming year. I’m no Nostradamus, much closer to Johnny Carson’s Carnack, so don’t hold me to these. Here we go:
  • The stock market will stabilize by February, and we’ll see slow and steady growth within the economy albeit smaller than we’ve seen in recent years
  • The trade wars will end by spring, but not before hurting many U.S. manufacturers
  • It will be a wetter than usual year
  • Car sales will slow, but with the price of cars going up, sales tax generation will remain steady for Cerritos
  • The Los Cerritos Center will have another record year
  • Far too many candidates will run for Cerritos City Council. Some will run to help the City. Some will run to help themselves. I predict it will be a packed field by the end of 2019 rolling into the 2020 election.
  • California taxpayers will continue to be hit hard, funding programs that have very low benefit to the State…I’m looking at you Bullet Train!
  • The Chamber and the Gateway Chambers Alliance will call on all local businesses to fight anti-business legislation coming from Sacramento. We will lose some, but I think we’ll win some too
  • The Dodgers will beat the Red Sox in six games to win the World Series
  • The Chargers, not the Rams, will make it to the Superbowl to challenge the Saints
  • We will continue to become more of a polarized society, separating into “us” and “them” whatever that means. Sadly.
  • Avengers End Game will be awesome
  • The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts will have its best year yet
  • The Chamber will do all we do, on a tight budget, with a small staff because we are here to serve this great community
My hope, my prayer actually, for this year is that we will see less pain, fewer tragedies, more togetherness, and much more laughter. As this amazing world circles a star in the reaches of the Milky Way for another year, I hope we all see our world as the miracle it is. No matter your belief, background, or culture, we all share the same world. Let’ see if we can all just learn to share a bit better. Happy New Year!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote:
A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. Jeff Bezos

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Good Intentions

Published: 1/11/201

2019 Predictions

From the CEO “God save us from people who mean well.” This is a quote from author Vikram Seth, but it could also be from many of us who live and work in California. I believe the Legislature means well with many of the laws it passes, but I don’t believe our elected officials always take into account the unintended consequences, or collateral damage, that might come from these laws. This week, the Cerritos Planning Commission passed some regulations around sidewalk vending. Oh, you didn’t know sidewalk vending was allowed in Cerritos? It wasn’t until January 1st when a new law went into effect, mandating that sidewalk vending be legal Statewide. I have two problems with this law. The first is unfair competition. Our local retailers and restaurants have spent, and spend, quite a bit of capital on their businesses. The investment in a cart to sell items on a sidewalk will be much less. Also, these carts can park on the sidewalk right in front of a business, and there’s nothing the business can do. My other issue with this law is that it continues the theme of taking local control away from cities. The State simply said every city needs to comply with this law, no matter the local impact. Taking away local control has been a growing issue in our state since the dissolution of redevelopment. Maybe the Legislature knows better than all of us here on the ground in our unique communities, but I don’t think so. This law is intended to help low-income entrepreneurs start a business, potentially pulling them out of poverty. I don’t think anyone has a problem with the spirit of this law. However, the spillover will certainly have an impact. Sidewalk vending is another activity the City has to monitor, adding cost to a tight budget. Maybe there will be no interest in having a sidewalk vending business in our City’s parks or sidewalks. Maybe only local businesses will take advantage of this opportunity. Then again, maybe we’ll have a mess on our hands. As we roll into the third week of the year, we are looking at a busy Chamber calendar. Next week we have Let’s Do Lunch at STACKED Restaurant. Expect some great food and productive networking. The following week we hope to see you at Jeans & Java at Starbucks. Finally, we finish up the month with what I think is the most important event we hold each year – the Labor Law Update. This event, presented by Ann K. Smith, Esq. from AALRR, is full of information every employer needs to know. Each year the legislators in Sacramento love to add new laws, Ann will help break these new laws down for you. Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote:
First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare. Walt Disney

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Never, ever give up

Published: 1/25/201

Never, ever give up

From the CEO Sir. Winston Churchill is a fascinating man. Most of us know him from his time leading Great Britain during World War II. However, he was a dynamic man who became a great leader in spite of himself. An email came into my inbox noting that he passed away this week in 1965 and I started looking into the man who has become legend. He was a man who wasn’t afraid to take a stand, even if it wasn’t popular. He served his country in both the military and as an appointed, then elected, leader. His profound use of language, especially during the war, puts him into a rarefied group who used his speech and words to move issues. Some things you may not know about Churchill:
  • As Home Secretary, he pushed to put libraries in prisons
  • Initially, he did not support women’s suffrage
  • His mother was American
  • As Chancellor of the Exchequer, he led the move to a gold standard, linking the pound to gold, which led to deflation and severe economic impact.
  • He was made an honorary U.S. citizen by President Kennedy in 1963
  • Although many claim he grew up with a stutter, it is more likely he had a lisp
  • He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953
  • Churchill was the first to use the term “Iron Curtain” when describing the communist threat in Europe
  • He served twice as Prime Minister – during WWII and then again in 1951 at the age of 77
  • He was an artist, creating 500 works during his lifetime
He’s a man whose place is cemented in history for his stout leadership during the war and his thoughtful insight as a political thinker. He was flawed, like most of us, but his views evolved over time as did some of his political beliefs. If you haven’t done so, take some time to learn about this man and his leadership during crisis.   You can’t be a great leader if you are breaking laws. So the Chamber is holding our annual Labor Law Workshop next Thursday morning to make sure you’re in compliance. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best transition ever, but it has merit. I hope you’ll join us to learn about the new laws facing employers. You owe it to your business and employees to be up on the myriad of new labor laws that went into place on January 1st.   Have a great weekend!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quotes – From Mr. Churchill: Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it. My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me. The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.

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What Californians are saying

Published: 2/8/2019

What Californians are saying

From the CEO Californians are a unique bunch. We all live in what many would consider the best place in the world – great weather, phenomenal business opportunities, attractions galore! Of course, we would all agree that the “rent is too damn high!” as well. It’s not exactly the most affordable place in the country, which I don’t think we would expect. So, what do Californians think about the Golden State? A recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California is pretty telling. Even when faced with the prospect of increased taxes or fees, Californians support Governor Newsom’s first budget, by a pretty wide margin. We, as a state, also think that Proposition 13, which limits property tax increases, is a good thing for the state. When it comes to rolling back those limits on commercial properties, which would be a BAD thing, it’s split pretty even. Slightly more than half think things here in the state are going the right direction. What’s the issue that concerns most Californians? Care to guess…? Immigration is the winner, with most saying it’s a “serious problem.” You can read about this survey here.   As you may know, May and I – your Chamber team – were out at a conference this week. Each year, the Western Association of Chamber Executives, or WACE, holds a three-day conference full of great speakers and breakout classes where chamber professionals can learn new techniques and share best practices. This year’s event was amazing. May and I are excited to bring what we learned back to ensure that your Chamber continues to provide great value to our members and the community.
 
Next week will be busy! I hope to see you at Rosewood’s Family Restaurant early on Tuesday morning for Let’s Do Breakfast. Our Ambassadors will also be meeting next week, and we’ll end the week with the Chamber’s board of directors getting together for our mid-year retreat. We have all kinds of exciting events coming your way – stay tuned!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote: Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.  James Stephens

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The power of connection

Published: 3/1/2019

The power of connection

From the CEO There’s power in the Chamber. Yeah, I know I have to say that, but I believe in it 100%. One of my favorite activities is to connect members who I think will hit it off and either do business together or refer to one another. Recently, I connected two members after learning they had a shared customer base. This connection has led to a huge opportunity for both of them. I also hear stories about members using other members…without even being prompted or even saying anything to the business. Yeah, we are referring folks to local businesses and don’t even know it! That – right there – is the power of connection. It’s the power of the Chamber.   Oh, and one of the members I referred to above has turned into a strong supporter of the Chamber. This isn’t just due to the example from above, but from what he’s seen us do with our members. As I told him, his investment helps all of our members. I think the phrase I used was – a rising tide raises all boats. He chuckled at this, but I feel strongly about it. We maximize each dollar invested in the Chamber. We do more with less. Through our support, we help strengthen the local economy, which benefits the entire community. Sorry, but I’m proud of the work we do here…and I thank each and every one of you for your investment and engagement in the Chamber. Your involvement helps this community remain a great place to live, work, and do business.   Spring is always busy here at the Chamber, and this year will be no exception. We are partnering with our friends at other local chambers of commerce for a few events, at the same time we’re preparing for our 39th Annual Golf Classic and our annual business conference. More info to come on both of these great events, and all of the events we have scheduled for March!

Scott

scott Scott Smith President/CEO  Weekly Quote: Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.  Thomas A. Edison

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13259 South St
Cerritos, CA 90703


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