New Solana Beach chamber president means business

By Claire Harlin

Staff Writer

Local business owner Carolyn D. Cohen was appointed to be president of the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors on Aug. 2, following the recent resignation of David Carroll.

Jason Smith was elected as vice president of the board.

“I was saddened to learn of David Carroll’s resignation after more than five years as the chamber president, but I am excited about the new possibilities for the Solana Beach Chamber with Carolyn Cohen at the helm,” said chamber member, Solana Beach City Councilman and former mayor David Roberts.

Cohen, a nine-year resident of Solana Beach, owns several businesses in the community, including Here We Grow, Inc., a real estate management company that develops and leases out private schools. She is working on a joint venture with Air Stream Innovations, a progressive organic farming operation, and her most well-known local business is real estate brokerage Realty Executives, Pacific Gold.

Cohen brings a wealth of goals and ideas to the table, above all being her drive to increase chamber membership through use of an effective member discount program.

“Members would offer discounts at their businesses to other chamber members,” said Cohen, a Certified Public Accountant who has experience in audit, tax consulting and forensic accounting. “The more membership we have and the more networking we do will serve to generate more business for all members. The entire commercial community will grow.”

The natural resources and lifestyle of Solana Beach make it distinct and desirable, but there is always room to grow, said Cohen.

“It’s a wonderful commercial community, but it could do a lot better,” Cohen said.

Cohen said she also wants to streamline the planning and preparation of the annual Fiesta del Sol festival that is organized and sponsored by the chamber. In 2011, the two-day event featured live music, food, art booths, llama rides, face painting and a number of other attractions.

There’s another project in the works by the North County Transit District that she wants to help with — the installation of a visitors’ guide kiosk at the train station that will serve as a comprehensive guide to Solana Beach.

Also on the agenda is partnering with the city of Solana Beach to create a walkable downtown area, both in the Cedros Design District and around Highway 101.

“We are envisioning something similar to Encinitas, how it has become very walkable,” Cohen said.

Very focused and structured networking events will also help bring the business community together and generate new business.

“We would want to use effective networking — not just provide a social environment,” Cohen said. “Something where people can actually get up and speak about their business.”