Debi Bray, president and executive director of the Madera District Chamber of Commerce, presents her views of business development in Madera:
“At the Chamber of Commerce, we’re always looking at how to enhance business and business development for the community at-large. And I think a community our size, at a time when many communities have been economically devastated, I think we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had some major municipal projects, we’ve had corporate-type businesses come in. But the thing I’ve seen most over the years is the development of the small, locally owned business.
“For the Chamber, any development is good development. We’ve been very fortunate to have small businesses open up and stay open. They celebrate the opportunity they’re given in our community to serve the community as a private-sector business. I think we’ll continue to see more of that.
“What the small businesses that are opening up need is more support from the community. They don’t maybe get the recognition that some of the bigger businesses get, but they can be just as important. In that respect, I think a lot of the responsibility for development rests on our local consumers.
“We know that we lose a lot of our sales tax revenues to Fresno and other outlying cities because people feel the need to go shopping for the entertainment of it. Of course, we don’t have everything here to suit people’s needs, but it’s very important that the residents, the consumers, recognize what we do have in Madera. They need to do what they can to support the businesses that are here.
“Every time they spend their money elsewhere, the City of Madera loses that sales tax dollar. The sales tax dollar is really what enhances our quality of life.
“In addition to the sales tax dollars that enhance the municipal quality of life, local businesses also — to youth organizations, to the service clubs, to the churches, to any movement that is going forward to help our communities, the businesses are donating their time, their products and their money. The less we support our businesses here in this community, the less those dollars and those contributions become. There’s an expectation on the part of those who go out and seek the support of our businesses that it will be there, but unless we support those businesses, it won’t.”
Next: Debi Bray continues her discussion on the value of helping small businesses thrive.