The El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce hosted its ninth annual Biz Walk March 30 with chamber members and local civic leaders teaming up to visit every commercial center in town, including the Business Park, Town Center and Safeway shopping center.
In all, approximately 200 business owners or managers were given the results of the chamber’s first Business Confidence Survey as well as a quarterly report from the El Dorado Hills’ Economic Index, including data on sales tax (up 2.7 percent), transient occupancy tax (up 5.2 percent from the third quarter 2015 compared to a year before), building permits issued (up 11.7 percent from previous quarter), employment (142 more residents employed) and average housing sale prices ($633,016).
In the past, teams were asked to get the pulse of business in the area. “I feel we have the pulse of the business community,” El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Debbie Manning told teams. “This year we want to provide them with the results of the Business Confidence Survey.”
The survey reflects how local leaders feel about the prospects of their own companies and local, state and national economies in the next 12 months. Questions ranged from sales (73 percent expect an increase in the next year), profits, employment (60 percent said it would stay the same) and what’s most important to grow business in El Dorado Hills (quality of workforce ranked No. 1). All responses were aggregated and a score between 0 and 100 was computed. A score higher than 50 indicates an overall optimism. The 2016 survey produced a score of 63.1, “showing a strong level of optimism,” it states.
Teams asked business owners how business is going, but also how many full-time employees they have; how many of their employees live in El Dorado County; are they happy with their Internet provider; and if there is anything impeding their business’ success.
Reid Bellis of Barber Jon’s World Famous Barber Shop was teamed with Village Life and toured Town Center. The majority of businesses visited there have more part-time than full-time employees and only 25 percent live in the county.
Slava Popov, owner of Pak ‘n Post in Town Center, said she’d like more promotion for the price she pays of doing business in Town Center, including premium insurance and taking care of things in the building herself like leaks, cleaning windows and painting. “Still I love my customers and all of the shops around us,” Popov said.
Adam’s Cigars owner Adam Markhieh said he’d like to see more foot traffic in Town Center and believes more retail shops would bring people in.
The most common complaint heard was about Internet speed and strength. Most Town Center businesses have AT&T. Talisman Collection owner Andrea Riso said Internet is “too slow,” making it difficult to conduct e-commerce (or online orders), especially on rainy days.
Chris and Sharon Thompson opened NorCal Cryotherapy in January. Chris said they chose to go with O1 Communications in the Business Park and he couldn’t be happier with their “blazing fast” Internet.
“Economic planning has to start with those who are here first,” District 4 Supervisor Michael Ranalli told Village Life about why he wanted to participate in the Biz Walk. “Take care of those who are here first. That’s the first step in economic development. Find out what barriers there are to their business and that is the first step to recruiting new businesses to the county.”
“This is my absolute favorite chamber event,” Manning said. “We’ve got to be talking with businesses.”
The El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business organization (501c6) which represents the business district of El Dorado Hills and surrounding areas and provides benefits and services to their community and membership. For more information call (916) 933-1335 or visit ElDoradoHillsChamber.org.