Pillar Partners Pay It Forward

Chamber Raises Sponsors’ Brand Recognition through ‘Think Local’ Initiatives

Pillar Partner Scotiabank presented a $3,000 cheque toward the Chamber’s online auction, a transition from the silent auction previously held in conjunction with the Business Excellence Awards gala pre-COVID-19.

Mature businesses looking to give back to their community while increasing their brand recognition are paying it forward through the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce’s Pillar Partnership program.

Designed as an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate leadership in the community through sponsorship, the Chamber’s Pillar Partners—Scotiabank, Waneta Plaza, and Teck Trail Operations—are playing a vital role in the local economy. In return, they are awarded exceptional benefits and visibility in a business community that is collectively strengthened as a result.

“We truly believe the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce has such a positive impact; they are key contributors to showcasing our many amazing local businesses,” says Michelle Gardner, Waneta Plaza property manager. “By becoming a Pillar Partner, we’re playing a large role in supporting the health of our local economy. Not only does being a partner highlight Waneta Plaza’s commitment to supporting our business community, but it also provides great visibility for the shopping centre in a variety of ways, such as advertising and networking opportunities.”

Teck Trail Operations’ Community Engagement Leader, Carol Vanelli Worosz, is impressed with the Chamber’s work supporting the local economy and community overall, citing the extensive benefits of Chamber membership.

“There’s something for everyone, regardless of your industry or business size,” she adds. “Teck has been a Chamber member for over 40 years. Based on this long-standing partnership, which includes the management of the Teck Interpretive Centre, it was a natural fit for the company to become a Pillar Partner.”

The year-round sponsorship funds “think local” initiatives like the Business Excellence Awards and Business Walk. As a primary sponsor for the silent auction, Scotiabank ensured the event remained a success even when it was moved online. Partners’ investments are met with gratitude and, in turn, the opportunity to raise their profiles through promotional opportunities. With business ecosystems involving many stages, the strong foundation that Pillar Partners provide is crucial, according to Executive Director Erika Krest.

“When a business is solid enough, they reach a place where they can support their business community in a meaningful way,” she says. “The Chamber is a trusted network for mature businesses to pay it forward so that other businesses can gain traction, become more established, and get more support. As businesses move further along in their own life cycles, younger businesses grow and find themselves in a position to give back to their community and help other up-and-coming businesses prosper.”

About the Pillar Partnership Program


New Business Recovery Advisor to Guide Business Community

After over a year of working tirelessly to protect and grow businesses that have suffered due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Chamber is enthusiastically bringing an expert on board.

The Chamber is a successful recipient of a grant from the Province’s Rural Business and Community Recovery Program, managed by ETSI-BC (Economic Trust of the Southern Interior). This will fund hiring a business recovery advisor over the course of a 10-month contract that starts in June.

“We’ve been doing this on our own for the last 13 months, and it’s just way beyond our scope, so getting a grant like this is a silver lining,” explains Krest. “It allows our organization to create a detailed and tailored plan, strategize our outreach, establish targets—especially in at-risk sectors—and increase awareness.”

Beyond delivering one-on-one support to business leaders in the community, the Chamber’s new business recovery advisor aims to prepare a comprehensive study that paints a clear picture of challenges businesses face, and develop an action plan to provide guidance in assisting with COVID-19 economic recovery.

“It’s a big relief to have the extra help,” adds Krest. “We are beyond excited for our business community to reap the benefits!”


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