Last week the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau opened up new space in its office on Main Street for local businesses to get resources, ask questions and hold in-person or hybrid meetings.
Officially dubbed the Coastside Business Center, it’s a project that’s been years in the making for chamber CEO Krystlyn Giedt, whose efforts started back in 2019. The space once occupied by staff offices now contains 15 desks, more than two dozen chairs, a boardroom table and a small kitchen. One of the rooms has a hybrid Zoom screen. The rooms are free to use for any business, not just members, Chamber Chair Jeannene Minnix Kingston said. Online reservations are recommended.
The opening comes as the chamber unveiled a new branding strategy mission statement. The Half Moon Bay nonprofit that formed in the 1960s is looking to incorporate more of the Coastside, from Montara to Pescadero.
“We’re a community-driven nonprofit,” Giedt said. “Our whole focus is helping the business community thrive and, in these times, survive.”
Giedt noted that the city of Half Moon Bay’s support went a long way. Prior to the pandemic, 60 to 70 percent of the chamber’s budget came from event revenues. When those went away, membership couldn’t cover costs, and the city stepped in. Investment in a business resource center or incubator was a key recommendation in the city’s Coastside Recovery Initiative, a blueprint for economic recovery for the entire Coastside region published this year.
The need for business support was also highlighted at the county level. Last month, San Mateo County announced it had budgeted $2.5 million for an economic and business development center in Half Moon Bay. While details still need to be worked out, Giedt hopes there’s room for collaboration as the local chamber has laid much of the groundwork already.
Minnix Kingston was quick to praise Giedt for her work ethic spearheading the project and leadership with daily operations at the chamber.
“To see this transformation and how far it’s come, it’s remarkable, ” she said.
The space can serve a variety of functions, like hosting team meetings, talking with potential clients, and confidential reviews with employees. Additionally, Giedt plans the space to offer a consulting and business development series. Ideally, those county funds would accelerate more classes and programs already planned and pay for high-quality teachers. The courses would offer a variety of business strategies, budgeting, technical assistance and social media marketing.
Giedt noted that one of the hardest things in starting a business and maintaining it is finding the right resource if you have questions.
“Even pre-pandemic, we knew it was important for businesses to have a place where they can get questions answered and sit face to face,” Giedt said. “Now they can come in, sit with somebody and really learn what they can do.”