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Manhattan Beach City Council gives funding to Chamber of Commerce

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The Manhattan Beach City Council decided Tuesday to grant $75,000 to the Chamber of Commerce for their economic services.

Jim O’Callaghan, CEO of the city’s Chamber, said that they would like to analyze the city’s economic downfalls and come up with solutions to improve business revenue—but that this is a process that will take time.

“We are looking to create a destination for people who both live here and visit here so for our direction for our website we want to really highlight what the city has to offer,” O’Callaghan said. “Spend the time necessary without impacting the resources of this community to go out and meet with businesses.”

“We do have a plan but it takes that long when you go thru conferences to bring the business back,” he said.

He said that the chamber hopes to correct its past mistakes to come up with a better design for the city. He said the last time the city was revitalized the focus was on nightlife. He also said that there wasn’t enough variety in the area’s hotels. Many leaks in business revenue can be attributed to less restaurants and more upscale clothing stores opening downtown, O’Callaghan added.

In addition to working on downtown businesses, O’Callaghan said the Chamber also plans to expand business on Rosecrans Boulevard, which connects Manhattan Beach to other cities.

“The chamber is in a unique position to be able to serve as the arm of the city in bringing these businesses together through reporting and audit measures that are listed in our contract,” said Dianne Chase of the chamber’s board of directors.

“It addresses the concerns of our residents but also is expanded to a scope that will preserve our economy,” she said.

She said that the city’s website should be redesigned to attract people and businesses to the city, and that she hopes the site changes from a yellow pages-like listing to a “destination guide.”

“Bringing these people in letting them know the city of Manhattan Beach is here and is available and is easy to find—I think that that infrastructure has to be developed,” she said. “You will be able to see a changing website.”

Council member Amy Howorth said she is happy with the direction the Chamber of Commerce is moving in and said that she would like to see the city supporting the chamber again.

“Now I see a very different chamber really working and understanding that downtown in part of the mix,” she said. “It’s working with all of our merchants to enhance the business experience. Everything they’ve been doing is very positive so I’m very pleased by that.”

Along with the funding, the chamber also reached a lease agreement with the city over its office on 15th Street. Council member Nick Tell said that he hopes that with the city’s support, the chamber will continue to improve and expand its efforts.

“It’s sort of a chicken and the egg situation where if we want a successful chamber they’re going need our help to get there,” Tell said. ER



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