One-on-one with Lisa Ziebarth, manager of the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce

Thinking up new ways of attracting and doing business in the Creston Valley has been a necessity for the small community

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Lisa Ziebarth, manager of the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Lisa Ziebarth has had a whirlwind six months in her new position as manager of the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce. — Photo courtesy Lisa Ziebarth

It’s a good thing that Lisa Ziebarth, new manager at the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce, likes a challenge. She started her new position in January 2021 after an extended closure of the Chamber due to the global pandemic.

“I had to get the office functional again and think up new ways to help the membership and business community with the challenges of COVID-19,” she said.

With her extensive background in project and budget management, Ziebarth is well-equipped to help local businesses navigate post-COVID. An increase in online marketing and the creation of a new interactive, online business directory are two examples of current projects being undertaken by the Chamber.

In order to gauge the effect of the pandemic on the business community, the Chamber conducted a recent online Pulse Check survey. Among the challenges reported by local businesses was an increased cost of doing business, mainly due to operating costs and the rising costs of supplies and materials.

“Our business community has had to be incredibly resilient and creative,” said Ziebarth. “We have unique supply chain challenges being in the valley.”

What does Ziebarth envision for the next year or so in the region? Like communities across the Kootenays, the Chamber is focused on continuing to promote shopping locally.

We recently interviewed Ziebarth to find out what else is on the horizon in the beautiful and fertile Creston Valley and what she loves most about the area.

Scenic view of the Creston Valley.

Known as a beautiful and fertile part of the Kootenays, the Creston Valley also has unique challenges such as supply chain and transportation issues. — Photo courtesy Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce

What accomplishments has the Creston Valley seen in the past year?

Our changing times have created a need to change how we do business and even manage our business relationships. We have gotten really good at Zoom meetings, online marketing and unique ways of providing customer service and choice.

What challenges has the Creston Valley had to overcome in the past year (such as the COVID-19 pandemic)?

We have had continuously changing restrictions and in some cases very little notice. These challenging times have emphasized the severity of the pre-COVID challenges, such as transportation, childcare and affordable housing, and added some new obstacles.

What's on the horizon for the Creston Valley in the coming year?

Shopping local will continue as well as continuing to support our local restaurants. [We are looking forward] to getting back to our fall fair, festivals and tourism.

What do you love most about living in the Creston Valley?

The people are very community-minded. I am also involved in a lot of non-profits and it is amazing how many people here volunteer and make such positive differences in the valley.

What are some challenges unique to the Creston Valley?

Transportation and logistics are more difficult and more expensive here. We compete with shopping over the border and online retail.

If you could do one thing to improve the Creston Valley regardless of cost, what would you do?

Sorry, I have to do two! If money weren’t an issue, I would open up daycares and more affordable housing. These are huge problems for us to sustain our economy and build for the future.

What do you do in your free time to enjoy the Creston Valley?

I love how walkable Creston is. I walk everywhere. I love the weather and try to spend as much time as I can outdoors. 

Julie Matchett

Julie Matchett is a writer and content coordinator for KPI Media. She ranks as a 7 on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale out of 100, which might help to explain why she chose a career of quiet contemplation as opposed to public speaking. View all of Julie Matchett’s articles

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