July 3, 2024
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Street Smarts: After omicron nixes in-person event, EDC toasts virtually


In one of the more unique celebrations of the pandemic era, the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County or EDC as it is commonly known, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a virtual toast on Zoom.

After omicron torpedoed what would have been a live event, EDC opted for a virtual meeting and a recommended wine toast after official proceedings were wrapped up; among those being feted was Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long, the group’s outgoing chair. The organization is helmed by CEO Bruce Stenslie, whose contract was recently extended.

Initial funding came in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which caused heavy damage in Fillmore. Today, EDC operates the Small Business Development Centers for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, has a revolving loan fund that’s saved thousands of jobs, and served as a conduit for information about business loans during the pandemic.

Full disclosure: Pacific Coast Business Times is a sponsor of EDC and our founder, Henry Dubroff, serves on the board.


San Luis Obispo reports that shoppers spent a whopping $868,522 on local businesses as part of the 2021 Holiday Buy Local Bonus program. That’s 19% more than last year and helped “boost our local economy,” said City Manager Derek Johnson. The City of SLO partnered with the SLO Chamber to relaunch the Buy Local Bonus program in November 2021. The city used local funds to purchase $110,900 in gift cards from 120 businesses to provide $25 in awards to customers who spent at least $100.


Several of our pals will be picking up hardware on April 21 as Ventura County Leadership Academy names its award winners for 2022. Business Leader of the Year is Maria Ventura, senior public affairs manager for SoCal Gas; Educational Leader of the Year is Gerhard Apfelthaler, dean at the School of Management at California Lutheran University; and alumna of the year is Carrie Hughes, chief development officer for Casa Pacifica. The Public Sector Leader award goes to Sheriff Bill Ayub and the Founder’s Award goes to Ojai schools superintendent Tiffany Morse. For information visit vcleadership.org.


Gelson’s will host a Feb. 10 virtual wine tasting with Paso Robles winemaker Daniel Daou of DAOU Vineyards. Wines include Daou Discovery Rose (91 points by Wine Enthusiast), with a price of $21.99, and Daou Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at $54.99. The wines will be paired with a cheese and charcuterie plate for $24.99. Information at gelsons.com/daou.


Santa Barbara Airport teams up with Alaska Airlines and Signature Flight Support to support non-profit Alpha Resource Center’s Inaugural Plane Pull on Feb. 26. Competing teams will attempt to pull a 100,000-pound Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 aircraft with a rope for a distance of 15 feet. There will be two divisions: one for public safety personnel such paramedics, police officers and firefighters, and the other for “regular” community participants. Each team member will raise at least $100 and COVID protocols will apply.


The California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, or CLU CERF, moves its Annual Ventura County Economic Forecast from early February to March 8 for a live event at the Scherr Forum Theater on Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Speakers include CERF Executive Director Matthew Fienup and featured speaker Danielle DiMartino Booth. See clucerf.org for more details.


Meanwhile Ventura County farmer and longtime adjunct CLU professor Edgar Terry joined the board of the Federal Farm Credit Banks Farming Corporation, effective Jan 3. The Farm Credit system has about $400 billion in loans, leases and other financings to support U.S. agriculture in rural communities. Terry is chair of the CERF board.


“Dine Out Santa Maria Style” is the theme for the 2022 return of Santa Maria Valley’s Restaurant Month. Dine Out Santa Maria Style launched Jan. 13 and will last for one month, with participating restaurants offering a form of meal special for $20.22. Among the festivities is the third annual Craft Cocktail Contest, where participants will be showcasing handcrafted cocktails representing the region’s history and culture. More info at santamariavalley.com/2022-dine-out-santa-maria-style-craft-cocktail-contest/.

HOUSING TRUST FUND’S PROMISEThe Housing Trust Fund Ventura County hosts its 2022 “Our Community Promise” annual meeting on Jan. 26 at 11:30 a.m., via Zoom. Register for this free event about housing equity and affordability at housingtrustfundvc.org. Speakers include Ray Pearl, executive director of the California Housing Consortium, and Moorpark City Manager Troy Brown, who is also President of the International City/Council Management Association.


• TAKE A BOW: Kathy Trujillo King, an instructor in Santa Barbara City College’s Early Childhood Education Department, has been named Educator of the Year by the Anti-Defamation League Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties.

• TRAFFIC UP: Sponsors like Aera helped boost the Museum of Ventura County’s online visitors by 20%, to about 120,000, during the pandemic.

• GRANTS OFFERED: First 5 Santa Barbara County is offering grants to nonprofits, schools and institutes of higher learning that serve children age 5 and younger, their families and those who care for them. Grants range from $1,500 to $3,750 and are part of a $45,000 program.