In just a few months, readers of Simply Sensational: Sarnia-Lambton will be treated to a collection of magnificent photos of our area intermingled with stories featuring a select group of organizations.

The project is quite simply one of the best-looking “ambassador” pieces to come our way in quite a while and features a foreword by Chris Hadfield, a legendary Canadian astronaut (and one of the area’s favourite sons).

Simply Sensational is being sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the talents of Richard Bain, a noted photographer who has had his hands on similar projects for business groups and communities in the broad region.

As part of the project, Richard is making regular trips to the area from his home base in London and says he’s genuinely excited by what he has come to see and learn about our area.

As a sponsor, imagine what your clients, your friends, and even your family will be taking away from having a copy of Simply Sensational in their hands over the next year?

In the meantime, the Chamber is continuing to reach out to a wide variety of organizations, the intention being to make sure those who see the vision for Simply Sensational have the opportunity to sign up as a sponsor.

Our advice? Don’t wait another day. Contact Shirley de Silva, CEO of the Chamber, by email ( or phone (519) 336-2400, extension 1.

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Government policy is critical to the competitiveness of Ontario’s business community. That’s why the Chamber would like to know where you stand on a number of important economic issues.

A two-minute survey (CLICK HERE) will provide the feedback to help us inform 2018 Provincial Election candidates what matters to the business community.

If you have any problems accessing or completing the survey, contact Monica Shepley, manager of Advocacy and Policy Development, at (519) 336-2400.


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It was about 10 years ago that Dean Holtz and his wife were selling their home.

A professional photographer with a couple of years under his belt by this time, Holtz looked around but wasn’t particularly happy with the quality of photos he saw on various real estate listings.

A little further digging (including Google searches) and Holtz came to the conclusion that there was probably a business opportunity for someone with his photographic skills.

Conversations with at least one of his friends, a real estate agent, lead to Holtz developing a three-stage multi-editing technique, the result being an offering he began presenting to local agents.

While it was at first slow going (one told him that it would be an uphill battle since real estate agents weren’t used to the added cost), eventually several agents began asking for high-quality photos for their listings.

He has since added aerial imagery and eventually entered an exclusive partnership with David Cooke of InSkyPhoto for real estate photography.

Last year Holtz, who is a Chamber member, added RealVision, a 3D virtual tour system, to his offerings.

The local YMCA recently asked him to create a virtual tour and are sending him to six other facilities across Southwest Ontario.

His virtual tour for the Y can be seen HERE.

Holtz is offering a 10 percent discount to fellow Chamber members for any package of services of $500 (plus HST) or more and a 15 percent discount for any package of services of $1,000 (plus HST) or more.


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Building a network of people that will refer others to your company (and vice versa) can be one of the most effective business building tools available to Chamber members.

With that in mind, the Chamber is taking steps to help.

One way is through the creation of a second Network Referral Group, which is currently coming together thanks to the efforts of several interested members.

The group, which is in its early stages of development, is starting to meet every other Tuesday morning, for a light breakfast and networking.

While there is no cost to join the Network Referral Group, this is a Chamber member exclusive benefit and only one person per business category will be accepted.

Interested? Contact Kim Inniss-Petersen, the Chamber’s manager of Member Engagement and Retention, for an application.

Dante Cateni of Terrapure Environmental, who chairs the original Network Referral Group, recently spoke about the benefits of this type of business building activity:


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Delegates to last weekend’s Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce approved the three resolutions that were put forward by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. Delegates to the event, hosted by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, also approved three additional resolutions that our Chamber co-sponsored.

Our three resolutions urged the government to create a provincial broadband strategy, advance Ontario’s bioeconomy, and protect the viability of companies that have reduced carbon emissions in Ontario.

We also co-sponsored resolutions submitted by the Windsor-Essex and Newmarket chambers of commerce.  These resolutions called for delaying Bill 148 scheduling provisions,  address urban blight, and cut red tape for motor vehicle dealers.  These resolutions can be found here.

Advocating on behalf of our members is key to the ongoing success of the Chamber and its affiliates throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada, said CEO Shirley de Silva.

“When the business community presents a united front on issues of importance to business, it helps move our economy in a positive direction,” she said. “We are very pleased to work within the chamber network and see our proposals accepted.  We expect to see those ideas gain traction as a result.”


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Past sponsors of the Business After 5 events at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce have told us time and again how much visibility they received from their hosting.  This is a great unique business marketing opportunity to get hundreds of people through your doors to experience your business.

It’s no wonder then that Business After 5 (BA5)  gatherings are often booked out months ahead.

Reach out today if the idea of capitalizing on what we expect to be GREAT weather and especially if you have an outdoor location that’s ready for a surge in business!

Your contact for these extremely popular BA5s is  Kim Inniss-Petersen at (519) 336-240o or




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With some 90% of business owners admitting to having no formal process when it comes to their sales, it may be time you consider signing up for Outstand, a self-marketing program for those of us who want to engage with customers, build relationships, stand out from the competition—and have fun in doing so.

While Outstand allows you to create and send stunning, branded messages, that’s just the start. The software service provides RESULTS, including how many people open your messages or click on any offers that you make. You can also use text messaging to make sure your message gets seen every time.

The list of Outstand features is a long one: setting appointments, meeting reminders, after meeting follow up, staying in touch, making connections, getting referrals, conveying product benefits.

Remember: Chamber members are eligible for a 30-day FREE trial and, by using promo code SLCOC, receive special pricing after that period.

Take the first step by contacting Kim Inniss-Petersen, the Chamber’s manager of Member Engagement and Retention, to find out how.


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Chamber member Karen Minty of fortyhours is offering a set of workshops designed to help you with the most important part of your business’ marketing plan: networking.

The Elevator Pitch and Stranger Danger workshops will help you prepare for your next networking event. In Elevator Pitch, Minty helps you craft a 30-second commercial to introduce yourself in any situation. In “Stranger Danger” she helps you with tips, strategies, and techniques to meet people, keep the conversation going, and follow-up with your new connections.

Both workshops are hands-on. After the Elevator Pitch workshop, you’ll walk away with an audience-tested polished 30-second pitch, With “Stranger Danger” under your belt, you’ll have the confidence and skills to make the most of your next networking event.

The Elevator Pitch takes place on Friday, April 27th, and Stranger Danger will take place on Tuesday, May 15.

Both workshops take place at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, 556 Christina St. N., Sarnia from 9 a.m. to noon.

Register with payment for BOTH before Friday, April 20th for a $10 savings.

What’s This Elevator Pitch Everyone’s Talking About?

“A well-crafted elevator pitch is THE most valuable piece of marketing your business can offer.” ~ Terry O’Reilly, Marketing Guru. So what exactly is an elevator pitch? It’s a mini-speech, an introduction, a way to clearly and concisely tell your story in approximately 30-60 seconds that explains who you are, what you do and what you have to offer. While it’s most commonly used in a sales or networking setting, its value extends much further.

But honestly, the real value comes from the process. It is much harder than it appears. To borrow a term from Terry O’Reilly, it is “forced clarity.” In order to be so succinct, you must dig deep, straight to your core value and decide what makes you unique. Then be able to articulate it in a few sentences in a way that grabs someone’s attention, resonates with them, and compels them to ask more questions.

By the end of the Elevator Pitch Workshop, you will walk away with a polished, audience-tested 30-second introduction.  Through a hands-on, step by step process, Karen Minty will help chisel away the excess information and wordsmith the content to creatively grabs people’s attention. You may be an expert in your field, but if you can’t communicate what you do, no one will know.

Stranger Danger: How To Network Like A Pro

Networking is hard. Especially when you walk into a room full of strangers! Making new connections, not to mention conversation is nerve-racking. But networking is THEE single best way to grow your business. It’s not about selling to fresh eyes, it’s about making connections, building relationships, and establishing your reputation and credibility.

At the Stranger Danger Workshop, you will learn how to meet and talk to new connections. Strategies and different techniques will be discussed and practiced on how to approach new people, introduce yourself, and politely break into existing conversations. Where to find networking events and make the most of your new connections will prepare you to network like a pro. So the next time you are ready to “work a room”, just remember, it’s not about selling, it’s about relationships and reputation.



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Earlier this week, several members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce headed “over the river” to attend the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce second annual St. Clair County & International Networking Event, an opportunity for business people to connect “beyond the border.”

Among those in attendance from Canada were CEO Shirley de Silva (pictured far right), Stephen Thompson, CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership (second from right), and Eric Bastiaansen of Bean Tree Farms (second from left). Also pictured are Thelma Castillo, CEO and president of the Blue Water Area Chamber (far left), and Quentin L. Bishop, director of Business Attraction with the St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance (middle).

This was a great opportunity to mix and mingle with neighbours from Michigan and one of the unique aspects of living in close proximity to another country.

Both the Sarnia Lambton Chamber and the Port Huron Chamber have representatives from each other’s organization on their board.


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It’s National Volunteer Week (April 15-21), an obvious great time to give a shout out to the many volunteers who bring value to everything the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce does for its members and for the community.

Whether it’s at the monthly Business After Five events, our annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards or any number of contributions—from board members, those who invest their time in various task forces, or “impromptu” opportunities that all make our community stronger.

For your contributions as a volunteer, we want to say THANK YOU for making the Chamber a place where people can take pride in belonging.

Whatever you do, your role as a volunteer is very much appreciated!

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Partners and Sponsors