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Message From The CEO – November 2015 

September and October were busy months. Our 54th Annual Harvest Luncheon was very successful. We had a great speaker, the President of Blue Diamond, Mark Jansen. Many thanks go out to our great committee that continues to do a fantastic job year after year. Our 32nd year of Oktoberfest was another successful event, many thanks to our volunteers, the entertainment, Gotcha Covered, and all of our sponsors: AIA-Mid Valley Promotions, American Chevrolet, Mo-cal Office Solutions, Mocse Credit Union, Scenic Oaks Funding , and Walmart. The BIA, Alliance, and the Modesto Chamber held a business summit that featured Dr. Michaels from University of the Pacific. He shared his annual report on the health of business and his forecast for the next few years. It was very informative. We also serve on the Beautify Highway 99 committee. We had a couple of meetings and the group is coming together with plans to clean up the whole corridor of highway 99. The Economic Committee of the Chamber has had many meetings that are focusing on transportation. We will share those plans as we learn more in the coming months.

Education continues to be a focus for the Modesto Chamber. A follow up to our Education Meeting in August, Stanislaus Partners in Education held its recognition luncheon honoring School and Business partnerships on Oct 22 Stanislaus Partners in Education is a coalition representing business, labor, government, and education that enlists the resources of our community to maximize the employment potential of young people and adults in Stanislaus County. The mission of Stanislaus Partners in Education is: Through business and education partnerships, SPIE encourages local businesses, public education, community service organizations, and other providers of education and training to work in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to develop both productive members of the workforce and responsible citizens in the community. I am a proud member of SPIE, the luncheon recognized over 40 partnerships between business and each of the individual schools. The principal of each of the schools had invited their partner to the luncheon to be recognized.

I hope that everyone had a great Halloween. Fall is here with Thanksgiving just around the corner and the holiday season is just beginning. The holiday season has great importance not only to be with with family and friends, but for all of our businesses. These last two months of 2015 can determine if some of our businesses have a successful year. The importance to our local economy centers around how much our local citizens choose to shop locally. We are fortunate to have many choices for holiday shopping in our community. McHenry Village has a long history of great shopping opportunities with many unique shopping experiences. Vintage Fair Mall is one of the largest malls in this region and continues to offer a large variety of established and new businesses to help satisfy our everyday and holiday shopping. There are a number of shops downtown and throughout the city that are positioned to fulfill any of our shopping desires. The bottom line is helping our local economy by shopping local and keeping our dollars in our community. It also creates more jobs and employment. This keeps our sales tax dollars that help pay for local services that help the quality of life for all of us. Start here, Grow here, Live here. This sentiment speaks to all of us, encouraging us to support our community, each other, and shows our city pride. When you shop local, revenues stay here, that means more money circulates in our local economy. Show that you care: Shop local, buy local.

There are many events going on in Modesto this year. Modesto will have its first seasonal outdoor ice skating rink. It will be open seven days a week and holidays from Nov. 21 though Jan. 24. Modesto On Ice will support local schools and nonprofits, giving 20 percent of proceeds to fundraisers. You will be able to grab a hot beverage and snack, take a picture with Santa, skate under an open air tent and also enjoy specialty themed sessions. The Ice Rink will be located at the Centre Plaza parking lot at the corners of 11th and K streets in downtown Modesto. So come downtown enjoy ice skating, go to Brenden Theatre attend a great event at the Gallo Center of the Arts, or have lunch or dinner at any one of the great restaurants in downtown Modesto.

There are many other events that you may enjoy through the city. They include: Miracle on 10th Street, City of Modesto 2015 Celebration of Lights Saturday Dec. 5. This celebration includes the Seventh Annual Breakfast with Santa at the Senior Center on 211 Bodem Street. It also includes the Dickens’ Faire and Modesto Certified Farmers Market of 15th Street. The McHenry Mansion will be fully decorated as a Victorian Christmas and our annual Christmas Parade in Downtown Modesto will start at 5:30 p.m. and will be the traditional community tree lighting in Tenth Street Plaza.

By Cecil Russell, Chamber President and CEO

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