Kevin Cody

Manhattan Beach Chamber would rename Sepulveda Boulevard to PCH

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Manhattan Beach chamber ceo presents an ambitious program to new chamber members. Photos by Kevin Cody

Manhattan Beach chamber ceo presents an ambitious program to new chamber members. Photos by Kevin Cody

Changing the name of Sepulveda Boulevard to Pacific Coast Highway was one of the less ambitious goals outlined by Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce CEO James O’Callaghan Wednesday morning at a Joselyn Center meeting for new members.

Changing downtown zoning to favor businesses that generate sales taxes over businesses that don’t was one of the more ambitious goals. Another was a new signature event, such as a food and microbrewery festival.

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Manhattan Chamber Economic Development Director Lori Tostado.

When he was named chamber CEO 16 months ago, O’Callaghan was the youngest person on the staff, O’Callaghan said. Now he’s the oldest. The 24-member board had just seven Manhattan Beach residents. Now those numbers are reversed, he said.

O’Callaghan compared the old chamber web site to a car battery on jumper cables. The new website is designed to be a portal not just for businesses, but also residents.

The new chamber logo emphasizes Manhattan Beach, rather than the chamber itself, signaling the chamber’s intention of serving as the city’s visitors bureau.

Manhattan Chamber communications and events director Brittany Keohi.

Manhattan Chamber communications and events director Brittany Keohi.

Manhattan Beach has 1,000 hotel rooms, versus Santa Monica’s 6,000. But Manhattan’s room rates are half Santa Monica’s, and he argued, Manhattan is nicer than Santa Monica and closer to the airport.

O‘Callaghan said he wants the chamber to function as the Manhattan Beach economic development department, which the city does not have. The role will include enlisting businesses that would enhance the city to locate in Manhattan Beach.

Lori Tostado, the chamber’s new director of economic development, said one of the major chamber benefits is collaborative buying for services such as web design and credit card processing.

Brittany Keohi, the chamber’s new director of communication and events, stressed the chamber’s move into social media. The chamber’s new website  allows members to feature their businesses and drive traffic to their own websites. The chamber also has new Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

An email blast updates chamber members each Tuesday, she said, and networking opportunities are presented at chamber breakfasts on the first Friday of the month, evening mixers on the Third Thursday of the month and lunch and learn seminars on the last Wednesday of the month.

Persons interested in learning more about the chamber or registering for events are encouraged to visit ManhattanBeachChamber.com. ER