Solana Beach goes green at business showcase
Chambers promote new practices
In a Del Mar Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall lined with nearly 165 businesses in front of colorful displays, Solana Beach could only see green.
Manning booths next to each other in the environmental section of the San Diego Business Showcase were David Carroll and Peter Zahn. Carroll is the president of the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, while Zahn is the co-founder of the Solana Beach-based Green Chamber of San Diego County. The two organizations are working together to get the word out about available opportunities.
“It boils down to one thing,” Carroll said. “Do I want to be environmentally correct or not? If you’re part of the ‘not’ you need more education.”
The 67-year-old Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce helped launch the green chamber, which Zahn said has set an invaluable foundation.
“If you want to do business in Solana Beach or around Solana Beach you can draw in a wealth of resources in terms of people who have been there, and they’ve done that,” he said. “The green chamber is developing that, obviously in the very beginning of it, but doing it on a more countywide basis.”
Any member of the Solana Beach Chamber is automatically part of the green chamber so long as they are willing to make a “green commitment.” This includes practices that, among other things, reduce waste, and conserve water and energy.
Attendees dropped their business cards off at the green chamber’s table as they made their way around the showcase. The section featuring environmentally friendly businesses, in the back right corner of the cavernous hall, was adorned with plants and green balloons.
“They see us, they come to us, they say, ‘wow, how can I help?’” Zahn said. “So many people are willing to deploy their personal human resources to help us but we want to do it in an effective way and that’s one of those good problems to have.”
The showcase, in its second year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, used to be held annually in Oceanside. It was moved to a more central location to get other North County chambers involved.
“That’s when everybody said, ‘Hey, let’s seize the opportunity,’” Carroll said.
There are now 15 chambers working together to put on the event, with Oceanside the lead.
Participants ranged from large chain restaurants giving out food samples to small start-up companies trying to introduce new products.
“Everybody that’s here is here for a reason — we’re all trying to get our message out to as many people as quickly and easily as possible” Carroll said. “Businesses survive after a period of time by keeping at it.”
Of course, in the case of the Green Chamber of San Diego County, it is a lot easier when prospective members come to you.
“The green chamber is really, I think, hitting a great chord in people, a real responsive chord, this sort of desire to get an understanding about what is green business, and what are the opportunities that businesses have to get a piece of this economy,” Zahn said.
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