Monday, December 18, 2017

How You Know What in the World the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Does and How It's Different Than the City or Other Groups

Welcome to Woodlake, “A City With True Western Hospitality.” Woodlakers are proud of their city which celebrated 75 years of incorporation in 2016.

Woodlake Service Organizations Are Important to the Life of the Town

Although the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce is a service group, it could be considered an umbrella organization. Members of the Chamber consist of businesses, volunteer service organizations, as well as the city and school governmental organizations.

Service and community organizations add the human touch and provide services that the city and school don't have staff, time or connections to do.

Woodlake School service organizations, the Key Club and Builder's Club, sponsored a Turkey Run for families in Woodlake. 

Community and service organizations are run by volunteers and usually raise money through membership fees and fundraisers. Each group focuses on different services for the community.

For example, Kiwanis works primarily in conjunction with the Woodlake Schools. Rotarians, on the other hand, work with business to provide more humanitarian services. Lions aim to create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world and to promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.

Sometimes these organizations cooperate to do something big in the community. For example, Kiwanis plans and organizes the July 3rd Blast. However, businesses contribute funds, and all the organizations in town work many hours to make sure the community can enjoy the event free of charge.

Community clubs have regular meetings and keep minutes and records. Some of them have a tax-exempt status that allows donors to deduct their contributions from their tax bill in April. Minutes and records for community service organizations are not public records.

WHS Volleyball team assists in Kiwanis One Day of service to the Woodlake Botanical Gardens. Woodlake Pride members coordinate and direct efforts for the Kiwanis event to prune the City Rose Gardens. Other service organizations like the Woodlake Chamber are represented as well.

City Governments Have Different Functions Than Service Organizations

The City attracts new businesses, some of them controversial, with the hope of keeping the city solvent and growing. Unlike service organizations, cities get their operating money through taxes and government grants, like sales taxes and state grants like Measure R.
Couldn't resist taking a picture of this sign in an Avila tourist shop. Signs like this pop up everywhere now that growing recreational cannabis is legal in California. In a controversial vote, it took only a few voters in November to approve the city's authority to tax the cannabis dispensaries which are now legal in Woodlake. 

The city creates laws and regulations to improve the city and attract new businesses. The City of Woodlake has bimonthly city council meetings to pass resolutions and get public input. All of the minutes of these meetings are online and available to the public to read.

Woodlake Public Schools is another government agency that operates for the good of Woodlake citizens. The state of California and the Woodlake School Board determine what the schools must do for their students. School funding comes primarily from state taxes and is based on average daily attendance.

Some parents opt out of sending their students to local schools and forfeit having input on a local school board. Their students miss opportunities to make connections and tie into the local community.

Businesses Provide Goods and Services For The People Living In And Visiting the Town

Even though Woodlake is close to Visalia and other towns, to have well-stocked stores within the city boundaries is more convenient. Not all businesses serve retail customers. According to Manta there are 570 businesses in Woodlake. Many of those are ranches or individuals outside of the Woodlake city limits. Even so, the number of different companies in and around the small town of Woodlake surprised me.

Woodlake Chamber President Rudy Garcia "arrests" Rite Aid manager, Yolanda for doing a great job in Woodlake.

Chambers of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is unique among the community service organizations. The Chamber's job is to promote businesses by creating alliances and networks between them.

According to, Chambers provide services for businesses to “get your name out there, create networking opportunities, establish a sense of authority, and be affordable....typically $300-$400 per year.”

The Woodlake Chamber is much more reasonable than most Chambers. Join the Woodlake Chamber for the cost of  ONE lunch for three at the Runway Cafe ONCE A YEAR!

As with any endeavor, members get out of the organization what they put into it.

Michael Bremmer stated, “Only when you actively participate, volunteer, and join committees do you truly get the opportunities to form valuable business relationships.”

According to a 2012 study conducted by the Schapiro Group, 49% of consumers were more likely to think favorably of a local business if it was a member of the local Chamber— and 80% were more likely to purchase a product or service from a Chamber member.”

Brett Bastello said, “Having a link from the website is an authoritative reference point for search engine relevancy. Chamber websites are often very powerful and robust, so a direct linkage tells Google your site is also important by association.”

The Woodlake Chamber regularly posts announcements from their members. Anyone can like or join the Woodlake Facebook Page. The Woodlake Chamber's Facebook page has nearly 700 Likes and Followers, about one-tenth of the population of Woodlake. When linked to the various Woodlake Facebook groups, announcements on Facebook typically reach 1,200 to 4,000 viewers without costing the Chamber any money.

15 Facts You May Not Know About the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce.

  1. Our slogan: “The Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce exists to promote and advance businesses that lead to a stronger community,”
  2. Our Board meetings: 2nd Tuesday of each month
  3. Our events: the Woodlake Car Show in July, the Miss Woodlake Banquet in November, and occasional mixers in various business locations
  4. Our address: We have two: the mailing address, P.O. Box 550 and the physical address, The Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, 140 N. Magnolia, Woodlake, CA 93286
  5. Our phone: 559-564-3559
  6. Our online presence: website:, Facebook Page:, Twitter: @WoodlakeChamber
  7. Our funding sources: membership and fundraisers
  8. Our yearly membership rates: $50 for small businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations up to $125 for large companies.
  9. Our representatives: 10 volunteers on the WVCC Board of Directors, Miss Woodlake and her court
  10. Our 2017 fundraisers: the Western Week Jail, Car Show
  11. Our fiscal responsibilities: monthly utilities and upkeep of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, maintenance of the Woodlake sign on Highway 198
  12. Our projects: docent staffing at the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, the Woodlake Queen Program, attending or hosting ribbon cuttings for new businesses, event photography, social media publicity
  13. Our involvements in other organizations: Some of our members are also members of other agencies around the city and the state such as Woodlake Pride and Kiwanis. We participate in events by other organizations such as the Woodlake Lions Rodeo Week and parade.
  14. No paid staff: Most Chambers of Commerce in Tulare County have at least one paid staff member and answer to the City Council. Woodlake Chamber of Commerce does not have any paid staff.
  15. Two Year Terms of Office: The Executive Board of the Chamber of Commerce serves for two-year terms. The President and Treasurer come up for re-election in 2018, while the Vice President and Secretary came up for re-election in 2017. Officers may serve more than one term if they choose and are nominated and re-elected.
Woodlake Pride Berry Festival
Volunteers do a lot for Woodlake, giving time above and beyond their work schedule to make events and monthly opportunities to network in the Woodlake community. They make lifelong friends that make their lives more informed and connections that promote their businesses.
Grand opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum honoring the builder, John Wood
If you want help to create a better Woodlake, join the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce today. Come to the monthly meetings to get acquainted and let your voice be heard.

Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce needs your support to make Woodlake a better place.