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Tahoe Chamber Corner: There’s room for everyone

Jason Drew
Chamber Corner

This past year has been outstanding for the South Shore business community. A record number of visitors, a historic winter and lots of media attention have all played a role in growing revenue for many of our businesses.

It has also been an active time for new business investment and the expansion of existing businesses.

With that said, as chair of the Tahoe Chamber Board of Directors and as a business owner myself, I have observed a subtle but disconcerting trend during this past year. This trend has to do with the focus and commentary on new versus established, corporate versus entrepreneurial, and young versus old. This tension and competition can be observed on various social media platforms, within local newspaper articles, and heard throughout the community.

This should be a concern for all of us. Quality businesses are an integral part of our larger community regardless of new versus established, corporate versus entrepreneurial, and young versus old. They function as the driving force for jobs, local investments and opportunities to connect. Our governmental, educational and non-profit organizations are also an important part of our South Shore.

No one has a monopoly on all the right answers. I firmly believe that exchanging ideas, learning from one another, and working together are the keys to our mutual success.

Consider our economy. Our unique bi-state region faces many challenges on the path to sustainable economic prosperity. We must have appropriate types of housing for our employees, business owners and investors, and our retired residents. We must address the needs of our growing second homeowner population and those of our visitors. All play an important role in our economy. To achieve success and balance, we cannot be mired in us versus them or us versus our neighbors.

Sense of community and quality of life takes good ideas and investment in both people and place no matter its origin. It will take all of us working together, including our regulatory and land use professionals, to ensure we can attract the kind of capital investment that strengthens our economy, community and quality of life.

We have strong pillars upon which to build, each of which has diversity at its core. Examples include Lake Tahoe Community College, Barton Health, private and public solution-oriented collaborations including social service organizations, and our strong corps of volunteers.

The bottom line is that our community needs the best of all of us, whatever our age, background, experience, business ideas, interests and perspectives.

My perspective is consistently that of a business owner and chamber leader. From this viewpoint, whether you’ve been on the South Shore for 30 years or 30 minutes, whatever your age, whether you’re a business owner, just starting your career, a laborer, or work in a corporate setting, you’re a part of our South Shore business community. The same holds true for our larger community.

There is room, a need and a role for everyone.

Jason Drew is the board chair of the Tahoe Chamber Board of Directors.


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