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First impressions go a long way with small businesses: chamber executive director

Celebrate Small Business Week Oct. 18 to 24
Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director Alex Gresl has been impressed by his interactions with small businesses in the lakecity since his arrival in September. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

First impressions go a long way, said Alex Gresl, Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director.

Gresl said he and his wife Gail have had nothing but positive experiences with small businesses since they moved to the lakecity in September.

“There is no better compliment to our decision to come here to Williams Lake than the people that we’ve encountered here in our short time. It’s literally set the tone for our understanding of how unique, how distinct, how diverse this community is as a whole.”

Gresl said before his interview for the executive director job, a laundromat in Williams Lake’s downtown let him use an office to change into his suit.

“To have someone just meet you and literally open up their business to you is something. That was my first impression and you know how valuable first impressions are.”

That encounter sparked his family’s appreciation for Williams Lake, he said, noting their 16-year-old daughter was recently hired at a local grocery store.

“This is her first employment opportunity and they have made her feel so comfortable. She, on her own, goes from school and walks to work and looks after produce there.”

In his role at the chamber, he is hearing how the novel coronavirus has been a big challenge for small businesses in the area.

“We have such a diverse range of small businesses that are here and a lot of them have been hurting from COVID. It has a ripple effect on a broad spectrum of industries right across the board.”

Small businesses are all trying to be COVID-safe, he added.

“The best way to endure this is to be a strong community. It doesn’t matter if it’s from the City, the Downtown Business Association or the chamber, it is about having that understanding and connectivity and letting people know we have the resources to help.”

A small business owner contacted Gresl with an employment question and he in turn contacted Canada Revenue Agency.

Rather than give a quick answer, Gresl said he wanted to ask CRA questions himself so he could give an educated response.

The City of Williams Lake confirmed this week there are presently 1,072 active business licenses in the city.

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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