The first ‘Business, Banter and Beer’ event in over two years took place Wednesday (May 18) at the Fernie Hotel and Pub.
The networking event, put on by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce for its members, saw people from the business community and beyond show up in force for drinks, snacks and mingling. The last one happened in February 2020.
“We made it,” said Brad Parsell, executive director of the Fernie Chamber.
“Congratulations to everyone. We’re still standing, we’re here.”
Parsell, alongside Simon Howse, general manager of Parastone which hosted Wendesday’s event, gave short speeches.
Parsell said there is a lot going on with the Chamber, and listed some upcoming events.
“We all know coming into a busy summer season that worker shortages and labour shortages are going to be a huge challenge for the business community across multiple sectors.”
According to Parsell, on Tuesday (May 24), there will be a Zoom discussion about hiring foreign workers with Jenny Perez of Perez McKenzie Immigration. Perez is also board director with the Fernie Chamber.
Parsell said there is a ‘major’ national digital marketing campaign in partnership with Tourism Fernie ongoing for www.workinfernie.com, and encouraged people to post summer jobs there sooner than later. The campaign is to support local staffing.
There will be Fernie ambassador programs coming up on May 26, June 2 and June 9 for local business employees (and others) to learn about town, in partnership with College of the Rockies.
There will also be a workshop on June 8 with the Fernie Pride Society about LGBTQ inclusivity in business.
Parsell said there are offices available at 2nd Edition Coworking in The Free Press building, and said that there will be a BBB there in July.
Other upcoming BBB events include one at the Elk Valley Furniture Studio in June, Stick and Stone Cannabis Co. in August, and Snow Valley Lodging in September.
Registering for the events can be done at ferniechamber.com.
Howse then took the mic and welcomed everyone, saying that the Fernie Hotel and Pub is a great place for locals and tourists alike. The pub is part of the Parastone team of companies.
He also thanked staff, and said “without them, we wouldn’t have or be in business.”
Speaking to The Free Press after the short speech and commenting on the return of business post-COVID, Howse said: “Thank goodness, and I think tonight’s a great example of the turnout of people just wanting to get back to the norm.”
He added that we are yet to find out exactly what that norm will be.
“But I think we can tell by the energy in the room, everyone’s taking it on and looking forward to the challenges ahead,” he said, adding that the ‘big ones’ are going to be around staffing an housing, which they ‘want to tackle.’
“We’re looking forward to bringing more housing, a variety of housing to market. As well as a variety of amenities for both the local and tourist to enjoy together.”