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2017 BEST Chamber of Commerce: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce

Author: Sarah Treseler
June, 2017 Issue

Santa Rosa Metro Chamber is this year’s winner of Best Chamber of Commerce. “Ours is the largest and the most active Chamber in the North Bay,” says Jonathan Coe, president and CEO. “We’re involved in everything from tourism marketing to workforce development, public policy advocacy and training programs.  These efforts are intended to meet our mission:  to promote, support, and advocate for our members and create a vibrant and sustainable economy.”

The chamber has also just undergone a rebranding, and is now known as the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber. According to Coe, the name change was adopted to reflect the reality that the chamber’s interests and concerns don’t end at the boundaries of Santa Rosa. “We’re working throughout the North Bay in collaboration with other chambers as well as other business organizations,” says Coe. 

The rebranding also included the adoption of a new slogan:  Convene. Empower. Act.  For Coe, the three verbs capture how the chamber has worked the community for more than 100 years.  “We bring people together, primarily from the business community, but also any others who wish to address a problem or take advantage of an opportunity to develop ideas for solutions.  We empower them by finding funding, authorization, or resources so that they can implement the solutions they’ve developed.  That leads to acting.  With the right people involved and resources available, we facilitate action that produces results,” says Coe.  “We’ve used this approach to help rebuild Santa Rosa after the 1906 earthquake, in supporting the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, in providing land for the Junior College, and reuniting Courthouse Square.”

The chamber was formed in 1906 in the aftermath of the great earthquake of that same year. Santa Rosa sustained more damage per capita than the city of San Francisco. The organization was created to lead the rebuilding effort and to ensure the recovery of the local economy. Needless to say, says Coe, the chamber has been active and effective ever since.

As for new developments, the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber is in the midst of helping to create a new organization for downtown Santa Rosa, which will be called the Downtown Action Organization. “The organization is sorely needed to ensure that our community both protects and takes advantage of the city’s investment in reuniting Courthouse Square,” says Coe. “We’re bringing together both property owners and business owners in the Courthouse Square area to create this organization and provide the resources to both maintain and market this new public space.”

For Coe, working with the chamber of commerce is never dull.  “We’re always involved in taking on new challenges and addressing new opportunities.  That means I get to learn about and develop solutions to the problems that confront our community, from marketing ourselves as a visitor destination, helping recruit new commercial airline services to Santa Rosa, bringing Ironman to town or coordinating a business response to the drought.”

Coe knows that winning the award for Best Chamber of Commerce is no small feat, and is grateful for the acknowledgement from local readers and beyond. “We take this recognition as a statement of support from your readers,” he says. “Most of them are members of the various chambers in the North Bay and we’re honored they’ve selected us as the best.”

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