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“ If there are businesses that are not aware of the chamber , they need to be ,” says Zoritha Thompson , CEO / broker at Goree and Thompson Real Estate . “ I mean , it ’ s an integral part of my business .” She says she often receives referrals through the SBCC and also turns to its directory when looking for a plumber , electrician , contractor or other professional she can trust .
Thompson also appreciates how one of the chamber ’ s most popular events , A Women ’ s Forum ... Connecting the Dots , provides a way “ for women business owners to get together and talk about all aspects of business , but also personal life and how to balance everything — how to connect all the dots ,” she says . “ Just to be surrounded by like-minded people , people that are in the same struggle that you ’ re in ... you can talk with them and say , ‘ Hey , you know , I ’ m having a problem here , I ’ m having a problem growing , I ’ m having a problem staffing .’ That person that you might meet at the networking event may have the same issue .”
In addition to personal connections , SBCC businesses also benefit from being part of a larger membership
group . “ Their primary role is to really be out there speaking on behalf of folks who do not necessarily have the same voice ,” says Sacramento video producer Kenneth “ KJ ” Johnston , owner of KJ2 Productions . “ And if it wasn ’ t there , I think a lot of small businesses , primarily African-American businesses , would feel a little stranded on an island .”
“ If these businesses are successful , the city and the region are successful ,” Davis-Goines says . “ So it would stand to reason that we would try to find every opportunity to make these businesses grow so that they can make contributions not only to their families ’ wellbeing and their own wellbeing , but also to the area in which they live .”
One area the chamber is focusing on is creating generational wealth , including home ownership . “ That doesn ’ t happen as often in our community as it does in others ,” Davis-Goines says . “ You ’ ve got to get yourself in the position so that financially , you can pass it along .”
Davis-Goines says the SBCC ’ s board has decided that it needs to
expand its reach beyond Sacramento and into a bigger section of Northern California that includes its old home in West Sacramento . Eventually , she says , the chamber will be expanding its services throughout the state through partnerships with other chambers , nonprofits and local governments .
Davis-Goines also says the chamber isn ’ t just for minority-owned businesses . “ We are the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce , but we will work with anybody that has a small business . If we can fulfill that need for them to start , grow or maintain their business , we want to do that . So , even though the word ‘ Black ’ is in our title , anybody can join our chamber .”
Ken Smith is a freelance writer , public relations consultant and video producer who is also managing editor of Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine magazine . More at kdscommunications . com .
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