The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber Celebrates Its “Mergerversary”

Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Stephanie Armstrong, Chief Marketing Officer
Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 805.967.2500 Ext. 102

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber Celebrates Its “Mergerversary”
SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria is proud to be celebrating its Mergerversary. Twelve months ago, the Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara Chambers of Commerce merged to form the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce with the mission to help south coast businesses, residents, and visitors thrive by advocating for responsible public policy, offering networking and community-building opportunities, providing access to business development resources, and support visitor services across the region.
“When we merged it was at the height of the pandemic and we felt strongly for the need to unify our efforts and voice to support our business community,” said Kristen Miller, President and CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “We are here to continue to advocate for our businesses on the road to recovery as we revitalize our local economy.”
Now, 371 days into the merger, the Chamber celebrates all that has been accomplished including:

A Dynamic Group of Volunteer Leaders – Board of Directors
Communities connected! Together, our new organizational advisors included more than 60 business leaders across our communities. In January 2021 we held our first Annual meeting introducing a Board of 40 business professionals representing diverse industry across the region. We are lucky to have such committed and dedicated volunteer leadership!

Growing Staff
We keep growing! When the organization merged in July 2020, we were a mighty team of 6. Now, we are even mightier, with 10 full time and 5 part time employees.

Volunteer Working Committees
They say, teamwork makes the dream work! In addition to our dedicated staff, we have 7 working committees who help drive our programming and keep us connected with members and the community. These 7 working committees, made up of more than 200 of our business members, include: Ambassadors, Carpinteria, Economic Development, Executive, Finance, Hospitality, and Public Policy.

Thank you to our Members
We are proud to represent 1,100 businesses and 75,000 jobs in our community! Our members are what make our Chamber what it is and we are grateful for the diverse industries that have entrusted us with their investment. We keep growing! We have welcomed 66 new members to our Chamber since the merger! We also continued to welcome businesses safely into the community with virtual ribbon cuttings. We look forward to celebrating in-person ribbon cuttings soon.

Chamber Member Job Portal
You asked, we answered! In response to the workforce labor shortage the Chamber launched an online Chamber Member Job Portal to host job posting opportunities for member businesses on the Chamber website. The Member Job Portal has over 50 open positions listed currently and grows by the day.

Roadmap to Recovery
We helped drive progress! One of the first major initiatives led by the Chamber was to create a Roadmap to Recovery, identifying recommendations and markers that helped businesses and the community begin recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. The Chamber took the wheel, convening business leaders across all sectors, to build a plan that supported industries countywide. The Chamber has initiated a Roadmap to Recovery Phase II to be shared this July.

Representing Business to Government – State of the City and State of the County
From Goleta to Carpinteria, we’ve got you covered! We held our three-part State of the City Series featuring Carpinteria, Goleta, and Santa Barbara in 2020 and 2021. We also covered the collective accomplishments and updates when, in 2020, we hosted our first virtual State of the County. In August 2021 we are excited to host the first in-person State of the County where we will share a holistic view of timely, relevant, and trustworthy information from our elected officials and City leadership teams.

Virtual B2B Networking
We miss networking! Between the three pre-merge Chambers, nearly 250 of you networked each month at B2B, Coffee and Connections, and Carpinteria mixers. COVID could not stop our members! In August 2020 we launched our Virtual B2B networking event for members to promote their businesses and connect with each other… and you liked it! Zoom networking became a fun and funny way to stay connected, stay positive, and share business information during the Pandemic. In total, we had 11 virtual B2Bs and 715 attendees!

Advocating for You – Public Policy at the City, County and State
At our core, we are your voice! Over the last year, your Chamber has advocated for pro-business policies by issuing support to our government bodies and elected officials on topics such as the future of State Street, Goleta’s complete streets program, support for the parklets and extension for outdoor dining in downtown Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, opposition of reach code ordinances, addressing homelessness impacts to businesses, school reopening plans, and support for a number of agencies on grant allocations. We will continue to find the right balance of public policies and business success!

Political Action
Our purpose, in action! In October we released our voters’ guide and issued our first endorsements for the Carpinteria City Council and Mayoral races and were pleased that both endorsed candidates, Wade Nomura and Natalia Alarcon, were voted into office in November. Part of the Chamber’s charter and mission is to connect business with the government in meaningful ways. Our annual Voter’s Guide is not meant to tell you who or what to vote for. That is up to you. Our job is clear, to identify the candidates and measures that are most aligned with our pro-business mission, as it relates to the quality of life in our communities.

Tourism Recovery
Know before you go! The Chamber’s two visitor centers have served as a safe and smart information hub during the Pandemic, providing PPE and resources for hospitality businesses as well as visitors. Our dedicated team informed guests about business operations – what was open, what modifications could be Visitor Center: 120 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA expected, how to comply with current guidelines – allowing them to safely enjoy our community! The centers have been a go-to resource, leading the efforts in recovering our hospitality businesses through promotion and up to date information for guests and locals alike.

Hospitality Santa Barbara
Welcome to the team, HSB! Shortly after the merger, Hospitality Santa Barbara (formerly the Greater Santa Barbara Lodging & Restaurant Association) became a committee of the organization. This new structure allowed hospitality focused businesses from Goleta to Carpinteria to address concerns across the region including the impacts of homelessness, the recovery efforts post-Pandemic, and the pro-business policies to support our restaurants, tour agencies, attractions, wineries, breweries and lodging partners.
“It is remarkable to see all that has been accomplished by our organization. When you have such a dynamic team of individuals who are passionate about the success of not only our businesses but our communities you get results. We have seen that this year through the program of work that the Chamber has led,” said Kirsten McLaughlin, Market Vice President for Cox Communications and the current Chair of the Board for the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.
The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber has a professional staff of ten full time and five part time employees, as well as runs the Visitor Centers on both Garden and State St. For more information about the Chamber please visit or call (805) 967-2500.
If interested in becoming a member of our organization, please contact Michele Schneider by emailing