You aren’t alone if you are disturbed to learn that the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce is downsizing in the middle of an upsized economic challenge. This is a terrible time for what has traditionally been a small city’s most effective business generator to be losing its spark. You can read more about the organization’s travails on the front page of this newspaper.

There have been some difficult challenges in recent years, particularly over the last 10 months, yet the chamber has soldiered on. It produced a guide to local businesses last year with a lot of elbow grease from volunteers. It’s been a stolid presence on Rockaway, serving businesses by pointing visitors in the right direction through thick and thin.

A chamber of commerce might seem a bit arcane in 2021, when we all have the most effective marketing tool of all time in the form of a cellphone that is with us at all times. But there is power in the personal network that a chamber represents. Still. Chambers of commerce across the county and throughout the country organize committees to advance specific goals. They advise local governments on matters of importance to small business. They join regional, state and national chambers to promote economic ventures to politicians and everyday citizens who might not otherwise understand the interests of local business concerns nor everything that is on offer right in a community’s backyard.

Chambers can and do promote exclusive advertising perks. They publish information that is useful to visitors and vital for merchants. They often provide free marketing advice. A chamber of commerce website is often the first place people look when they consider moving somewhere new. And they are a place where commerce meets camaraderie. If you have a local business concern, you know there are others there who will relate.

That isn’t to say most of these goals can’t be accomplished without a vital chamber of commerce. The Economic Development Committee of the city of Pacifica certainly has the best interests of local business at heart. We’re sure it will promote local business interests and seek marketing opportunities where they may be. Let’s hope that it picks up the mantel and helps continue the never-ending journey that has for so long included a chamber of commerce escort.

— Clay Lambert

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