Heather Jenkins, owner of the 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market at 102 – 20633 Fraser Hwy. in Langley City, unpacks some mussel. Jenkins has been a member of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce for 23 years. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Heather Jenkins, owner of the 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market at 102 – 20633 Fraser Hwy. in Langley City, unpacks some mussel. Jenkins has been a member of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce for 23 years. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

CHAMBER TURNS 90

When the economy rebounds, so will the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, secretary-treasurer predicts

Memberships are down, but it’s not ‘worst-case’ scenario

While unpacking some mussels onto ice at her 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market in Langley City, owner Heather Jenkins explained that she may not attend many in-person events at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce but she still views her membership as worthwhile.

“I’ve been a member for 23 years,” Jenkins said, laughing.

“I think I’ve been to maybe two [in-person events]. I just don’t have the time.”

But the online seminars and other assistance the chamber provides get a thumbs-up from Jenkins.

“Some interesting topics,” Jenkins told the Langley Advance Times.

“And they’ve always had good resources.”

She has no plans to end or suspend her membership, as some of her fellow chamber members have due to the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

Her business is doing well, Jenkins said, so she doesn’t need to consider those kinds of cuts.

READ ALSO: Langley’s 1 Fish 2 Fish celebrating 20 years

While most Langley businesses appear to be weathering the storm, especially the larger operators, and new members are joining the chamber, the overall trend has been a slightly negative one, according to Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce secretary-treasurer Shaun Howe.

It is not the apocalyptic worst-case scenario where everyone stops buying, causing widespread business failures, Howe stressed.

What has happened, he said, is businesses are trimming their budgets by letting their chamber memberships lapse, or scaling them back to just insurance coverage through the chamber.

“The numbers are dropping, but not as much as a worst-case scenario,” Howe summarized.

In November, the most recent month figures were available, there were seven business people who joined the chamber, but another 15 who left or put their memberships on hold – what Howe described as a “small negative drop.”

“When people don’t renew, the question becomes why,” Howe said.

“You want to be in the positive, not the negative.”

Most of those businesses have told the chamber they are stepping back, temporarily, to preserve their cash flow and stay afloat.

“We’ll rejoin when business gets back to normal,” is what the chamber is hearing, Howe reported.

“They’re cutting their costs.”

“In a normal month, you’re going to have some new members entering and some [existing members] exiting,” Howe explained.

The fact that there are slightly fewer businesses joining than leaving is concerning, but no cause for panic, Howe maintained.

“It doesn’t look as bad as you might expect,” he concluded.

In fact, it’s encouraging because, among other things, it shows that most businesses have been able to keep their doors open despite the damage wreaked by the coronavirus, Howe said.

There have been a few surprises concerning which businesses have struggled and those that have prospered, Howe said.

For example, he observed, it was thought that doctors would be “crazy busy,” but the actuality was different with people reluctant to visit clinics, and surgeries on hold.

Dental businesses, on the other hand, quickly rebounded when their shutdown was lifted, “because everyone needs those procedures,” Howe noted.

Restaurant, hospitality, and hotels have been taking the biggest hit.

But the fact that chamber group benefits insurance is still being maintained by members and new members are still signing up is “encouraging,” Howe said.

“It’s a sign that a rebound will happen,” he predicted.

“When it does, the chamber will be there, waiting. The hope is that when we get back to normal, we’ll see the chamber rebound, the same as businesses.”

READ ALSO: Langley businesses take a beating during COVID-19 outbreak

As well, business people, like Jenkins, still view the chamber positively, as a source of information that does valuable advocacy work.

Like its members, the chamber has had to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, with staff working from home and a shift to virtual meetings.

“All the in-person networking events are on hold,” Howe commented.

And, he said, they are missed by business operators who are are getting “tired” of teleconferences.


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

125-year-old Douglas Fir was cut down in Aldergrove. (Carleigh Johnston/Special to the Star)
Aldergrove residents voice their concerns on removal of long-standing trees

‘This loss of natural space is shattering to me and my students,’ Carleigh Johnston said

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Ryan’s Regards: Potato toy’s gender nearly starts World War Three

Censorship over children’s toys and books have become quite the topical conversation this month

Theatrix Youtheatre Society will be running their first program in the Langley-Aldergrove area this spring. (Special to The Star)
Young Aldergrove actors wanted for local theatre production

Kids age six to 11 can create a play from scratch through Theatrix Youtheatre Society in April

More childcare spaces are opening in Langley. (Black Press Media files)
Langley gets 144 new daycare spaces

Government funding is expanding childcare

Tako van Popta, MP for Langley-Aldergrove. (Tako van Popta/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley MP Tako van Popta to hold virtual town hall to discuss firearm legislation

A lot of my constituents have serious concerns about how Bill C-21 will affect them, van Popta says

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey man found guilty in murder of his wife in 2018

Rizig Bona’s next court date is today

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Citizens file B.C. Ombudsperson complaint against Hope Council in Station House fracas

Demolition contract has been awarded, completed by April 30

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

The centre and left lanes just west of the Brunette Exit were blocked westbound on the Trans Canada Highway the morning of Friday, March, 5, 2021. (Drive BC)
UPDATE: Vehicle incident westbound Highway 1 in Coquitlam cleared

Earlier the centre and left lanes were blocked in the area

Most Read