The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, which is leading an initiative to secure Foreign Trade Zone status for the region, received the unanimous support of Lambton County Council earlier this month.

Establishing a Foreign Trade Zone Point designation for the region has long been seen as one of the “bricks” in a foundation that will help bring a new level of economic prosperity to our region.

As one of its core initiatives, a Chamber task force, made up of representatives from the Blue Water Bridge, JDW International, JMS Warehousing, Lambton College, CIBC Commercial Banking and Libro Credit Union, have been meeting regularly to strategize on ways to further encourage companies to develop and implement advanced trade initiatives.

A presentation by Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva to members of Lambton County Council resulted in a formal statement of support, which is required under the application process.

“We are grateful to members of Lambton County Council for supporting our application,” said de Silva.

 

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One of Canada’s newest franchise operations has a new location in the London Road Shopping Centre.  The franchise operation, UbreakIfix, is located in Unit N201, on the south side of a new building constructed between London Road and Giant Tiger.

Welcoming franchise owner Luke Faria and staff were representatives of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, including Chamber board chair Ryan Bell, board member Tammy Maure, President and CEO Shirley de Silva, and Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Membership Engagement and Services.

Also present were Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and property developer Rob Dawson.

“I have been an active member in the Sarnia neighbourhood for many years … I know that uBreakiFix will help Sarnia and surrounding areas expand, progress, and evolve technologically and will meet repair needs for commercial and personal devices. I am excited to invest in the community here through this company.” said Faria.

“More and more, we’re seeing more new entrepreneurs and younger entrepreneurs with an interest in developing and opening businesses or products and services. That’s great, and exactly what Sarnia needs,” according to President and CEO Shirley de Silva.

Welcome, UBreakIFix to our community!

 

 

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Now celebrating five years in Sarnia from its 1149 Confederation St. location, Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters is the Member of the Month at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

A Canadian franchise “quick-service restaurant” organization that’s now 140 locations strong, Mary Brown’s locally is owned by Doug and Corinne Loucks.

In addition, this year Mary Brown’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a big party in Newfoundland, where it was founded (there are 40 locations alone in Newfoundland and Labrador).

Awarded the fastest growing franchise in Canada for over seven years in a row, this year, it has been named one of “Canada’s Best Managed Companies.” 

Co-owner Corinne Loucks says the franchise restaurant, that has been a part of this community for almost five years, is still being introduced to new customers every day.

“People can expect some of the best customer service they will ever receive in the Sarnia-Lambton community,” she boasts. “Our cashiers and cooks come to know our customers by name and we personally deliver every ‘dine-in guest’ their order to their seat of choice. And our store is immaculate!”

The owners also have an ongoing “Summer of 1969” special: seven pieces of chicken, medium tater, and medium salad for $19.69, in celebration for those 50 years of celebration.

We congratulate Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken and Taters of Sarnia for being our Member of the Month! Be sure to pay them a visit at 1149 Confederation St., Sarnia. They’re waiting for you!

 

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It’s an event we’ve been planning for a few weeks now, but the waiting is nearly over.

90’s Trivia Night at the Refined Fool Brewing Company’s downtown location at 137 Davis Street, is NEXT WEDNESDAY, July 17 from 6 to 8 pm.

Tickets are just $15 per person and teams of 2-6 people are encouraged to sign up. There are a limited number of tickets available for this event, which can be purchased online by clicking HERE.

Why, you might be asking, are trivia events so popular?

According to Cullen Shaw, the founder of the NYC Trivia League, offers up some thoughts. “We don’t want people to walk into a bar and feel like they can’t contribute for a round. If there’s a really difficult 17th-century poetry question, maybe there’s one person in the bar that knows that, but a sports question comes up after that and they let someone else answer. That’s what’s fun about team trivia.” On a certain level, the draw toward trivia seems obvious, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

“We are a competitive people,” said Shaw. “We like games, in general, humankind has gravitated toward games.”

There’s also the socializing and, some might say, the boasting that comes with knowing you are smarter than someone else. At any rate, there is something to the fact that, with trivia, the object isn’t just being smart, but collectively knowing a little bit about everything.

See you Wednesday, July 17 for the Chamber’s 90’s Trivia Night, at the Refined Fool’s 137 Davis Street downtown location from 6 to 8 pm.

And don’t forget to register YOUR TEAM  by clicking HERE.

 

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is partnering with our friends in Port Huron—the Blue Water Area Chamber—for a Cruise on the St. Clair River aboard the Duc D’Orleans II.

The event, which is NOW TAKING PLACE ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, will begin on the Duc D’Orleans II dock at 297 Front Street, Sarnia. The cruise runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets for this event are $30 (Canadian funds) plus HST and can be purchased online by clicking HERE.

“We’re very excited to partner with our friends in Michigan for the return of the Chamber River Cruise, a return to a very popular tradition at the Chamber,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO. “We hope to see you there!”

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Sometimes it’s good to “re-boot” and that’s what we are doing with its Membership Perks program.

Thanks to our friends at Starlight Casino Point Edward, who have generously provided the physical cards for this program,  Membership Perks is ready to take the first steps in building a database of discounts offered by Chamber members.

Here’s how the Membership Perks Card program  will work:

—Chamber members will be given one card for every individual employee wishing to take advantage of discounts made available by fellow members.

—Members interested in participating in this program are invited to contact Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement and Services, who will then add them to the Membership Perks Card listing, with any discounts or special offers available to fellow Chamber members.

—When a member goes to a business enrolled in the Membership Perks program, the discount or special offer will be applied.

“It’s that simple for building your business with the help of a fellow Chamber member,”  said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber.

The Membership Perks Card launch is scheduled for July 15th, 2019.

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When it comes to changing attitudes around mental health in Canada, one of the key initiatives promises to be one that involves the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and local affiliates such as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Partnering with Canada’s Members of Parliament—including Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu—a series of events intended to begin the conversation around mental health and wellness began Friday with an event held at the Sarnia Riding Club.

Special guest speaker at Friday’s noon-hour event was Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, an agency funded by Health Canada that leads the development and dissemination of innovative programs and tools to support the mental health and wellness of Canadians.

Bradley, whose background is in nursing and public health administration, spoke to a group of about 40 at the Riding Club, emphasizing not only the importance of mental health awareness but how critical it is to take action.

“We need to turn ‘Let’s Talk’ into ‘Let’s Act,’” she said.

“If someone had a broken leg, we wouldn’t expect them to ignore that physical condition. And if someone has diabetes, we certainly wouldn’t say they just had a lazy pancreas.”

A number of Chamber directors were in attendance at Friday’s event. Pictured are, from left, Chamber third vice chair Kathleen Mundy, Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva, Louise Bradley, MP Marilyn Gladu, and Chamber past-chair Charles Fisher.

Bradley, as part of her presentation, challenged those in the room, including Bruce Hein, franchise owner of Express Employment Professionals, who also spoke briefly, about the need to examine what a healthy workplace should look like.

“We need to have expectations that are clearly set, with workloads that are appropriately managed, and an environment where civility and respect are encouraged throughout,” said Bradley.

Referencing her own personal story, one that included growing up in a number of foster homes, Bradley has said publicly that “It was only much later in life that I realized these adverse childhood experiences bred trauma… a word, and a concept, I didn’t know growing up.”

Eventually hospitalized at the time, Bradley found herself under the care of “a wonderful psychiatrist.”

On Friday, she said what was unusual in her experience was that she received any help at all.

Bradley said today she is committed to seeing that level of care for those experiencing mental health issues changed for the better.

“We have a long way to go,” said Bradley, adding that initiatives toward a more healthy workplace, one that’s free of bullying and the stigma that has existed around mental health are making a difference.

In Canada, some half a million people miss work every week due to a mental health problem or illness.

“What’s important to note is that it’s not the same half a million people every week,” said Bradley.

“We need to be reminded that we can all make a difference when it comes to improving mental health. This signature mental health event is meant to remind us that we can all make a difference. Whether it’s an employee having the courage to speak up about workplace bullying or a stretched-too-thin manager rethinking his or her approach, we all stand to benefit when workplace wellness is the rule—not the exception.”

MP Gladu said creating space for positive discussion on mental health issues at work will result in a better workforce and better communities across Canada.

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It won’t be that long (trust us) before this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night comes around—even though Friday, October 18, 2019 may seem like it’s in the distance.

But just like that birthday or anniversary gift that “you’ll get to,” there’s no time like the present when it comes to nominating the companies or individuals that are deserving of an award in one of the 16 categories that make the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards our signature event, which is now in its 30th year.

Our thanks continue to go out to Libro Credit Union, our title sponsor. Pictured are Cathy Thompson (far left) and Jamie Carson (both of Libro), and Shirley de Silva at the launch of the nomination process that took place in May at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia (where the October 18, 2019 event will take place).

Nominations officially began in early May and nominations are flowing in.

Even so, there is a deadline for nominations—FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2019.

Our suggestion? Don’t leave it to the last minute to submit your nominations. The online form can be accessed HERE.

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Nominations for the Chamber’s 30th annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night are now open!

The Sarnia Lambton Business Achievement Awards (OBAAs) is the most recognized industry gala with a single focus on celebrating business success.

The OBAAs, which celebrate incredible innovations and achievements, is unique in its engagement of a broad range of industry sectors and sizes from across the province. We will be celebrating this year on Friday, October 18 at the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia.

Tickets are now available. Click HERE to buy online.

This week we’re wrapping up our series of articles intended to explain in some detail each of the 15 categories for which businesses and individuals can be nominated.

Nominations can be done online. Just CLICK HERE to get started.

This week we present the details of the last three categories.

Business Leadership (Individual)

Certainly, companies are essential to the vitality of the community. But so are individuals and we recognize individual leadership as part of a dynamic that can’t be overlooked. Our purpose in celebrating one outstanding Business Leadership winner is to bring forward the very best example that exists in our community today.

Criteria:

  • Commitment to developing the business community by offering expertise and leadership
  • Commitment to self-development
  • Commitment to enhancing the image of Sarnia Lambton.

Customer Service (Individual)

Picking one individual that stands out when it comes to delivering customer service may be a tough order but that won’t keep our judges from making the call. We all want to be the best at what we do, and recognition in the form of a Customer Service award is something that goes hand in hand with the goals of the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards.

Criteria:

  • Individual who go above and beyond the job and/or consumer expectations
  • High-quality service from beginning to end – the amount and quality of assistance given to customers
  • Individual behavior or activities that help improve morale and public relations

Member of the Year (Individual)

Every year, the Chamber’s selection of Member of the Year is one of the most anticipated moments of the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards. This year will be no exception as the competition heats up. Chamber Members have a well-deserved reputation for setting high standards.

Criteria:

  • The volunteer must have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills through selfless contributions, leading to significant local achievements or highly successful events.
  • Contributions should be above and beyond the nominee’s normal job/occupation.
  • The nominee must have shown responsibility or demonstrated leadership qualities while being creative and using their own initiative
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It may seem like one of those “distant” events, but Friday, October 18 isn’t really that long off.

Which means now that tickets are available for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night, now would be a great time to pick out your seats!

Ticket sales can be purchased now by CLICKING HERE or by calling or visiting the Imperial Theatre box office. Details on hours of operation can be found at www.imperialtheatre.net.

Our continuing thanks go to Libro Credit Union for their lead sponsorship of this signature Chamber event.

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