The Brentwood Voice of Business November 2010
Vol. 46, No. 11
The 28th Annual Holiday Parade & Craft Fair Saturday, November 20, 2010 At The Streets of Brentwood Rain or Shine
Stop by or call the Chamber for an application!
Page 2: Director’s Message & Board of Directors and Staff Page 3: Chamber Events, Ambassadors & Ambassadors Corner Page 4: Ribbon Cuttings Page 5: Membership Renewals and November Mixer
Santa’s Carriage Sponsored By Page 6: Hometown Halloween Page 7: Golf Tournament Page 8: “10 Steps to Improving Your Customer’s Experience” Page 9: “10 Steps to Improving Your Customer’s Experience” cont’d Page10: New Brentwood City Map
Page 11: Business and Citizen of the Year Nominations Page 12: October Mixer at Markots Page 13: “For Better or Worse: Being the Spouse of a Small Business Owner” Page 14: New Members Page 15: Fall Taste of Brentwood
The Brentwood Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization dedicated to the promotion of the civic and commercial progress of the community. We will continuously strive to maintain and foster a healthy business climate for Chamber members and the entire community.
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Page 2 BRENTWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2010 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Shayn Cutino, President Anja Wellness Karen Spann, Past President The Monthly Grapevine Joe Trebino, President-Elect Delta Pure Water, Etc. Ken Seamann, Chief Financial Officer Discovery Professional Services Olga Vidriales, V.P. Community Programs, Travis Credit Union Brent Aasen Equus Group Amy Alvis Alvis Frantz and Associates Greg Benner Les Schwab Tires Paul Kelly Home One Mortgage Lori Knudsen California Payroll Shelly McMahon Shelly’s Garden Richard Perez-Pacheco Black Sheep Design Donna Spencer Cortona Park Dirk Zeigler Zeigler Insurance Group ********************************
Staff Members Harry York, CEO Lisa Hurt, Support Services Dir. Jilda Fairhurst, Event Coordinator
Director’s Message The Value of Customer Service We are all aware of the importance of customer service in the business place, but what does that really mean? Does it show up only after a problem has arisen, or only after the customer finally finds someone to help them? It seems all too common that service is being handled in this manner. What type of impression is being given, if customer service is only being given when the customer demands it? All too often this seems to be the case. True customer service starts long before any transaction takes place. It starts with first impressions. Greet the customer with a clean and inviting place of business inside and out, then with polite, friendly and helpful employees that truly want to help. Customers are the lifeblood of every business and must be treated that way, and not as an imposition to your routine. Listen to their needs and help them make the decision that is right for them. That is why they are coming to you, you are the professional. Above all be HONEST! You can always sell something to someone once, but will they choose to come to you again, and most important, who will they tell about their experience. Then do what you promised. Deliver your service or product when promised and the way the customer asked for it. Finally, let them know that you really do appreciate their choice in letting you take care of them and invite them to come back if you can ever help again, and mean it! Customer service should always start the moment a person decides to call or visit your business. If you wait to provide that extra service only after a problem has happened, it’s too late. Even if you fixed their problem, odds are they may not be back. Give them exceptional service without them having to ask for it and they will not easily forget you. In closing I would like to share with you Les Schwab’s Ten Commandments of Customer Service he shared with his employees years ago.
Bring’em back alive Ask Customer’s what they want and give it to them, again and again. Systems, not smiles Saying please and thank you doesn’t ensure you’ll do the job right the first time, every time. Only systems guarantee that. Under promise, over deliver Customers expect you to keep your word. Exceed it. When the customer asks, the answer is always yes Period Fire your inspectors and consumer relations department Every employee who deals with customers must have the authority to handle complaints. No complaints? Something’s wrong Encourage your customers to tell you what you are doing wrong. Measure everything Baseball teams do it, hockey teams do it, you should too. Salaries are unfair Pay people like partners. Recognition is important. Your mother was right Show people respect. Be polite, it works. Japanese them Learn how the best really do it, make their systems your own. Then improve them.
Bill Putman, Volunteer Take care of your customers, take care of your employees and profits will take care of themselves. Greg Benner
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Brentwood Chamber Ambassadors Vicki Sexton, Chair, First Bank
Amy Alvis, Alvis -Frantz and Associates Ashley Guzman, Pre Paid Legal Services Fred Ehler, Terracare Associates Jennifer Jost, Edward Jones Joe Trebino, Delta Pure Water, Etc. Karen Spann, The Monthly Grapevine Kathi Regan, Maxx Worms/Maxx Imprints Kerri Fritsch, Monogramming by Fritchy Kurt Tomicich, KRT Services Lori Knudsen, California Payroll Maurice Daroy, Farmers Insurance Olga Vidriales, Travis Credit Union Pat Trombino, First Bank Paul Roman, Window Innovations, Inc, Sarah Jamar, Paychex Terry Aldaya, Hampton Inn
ANNUAL CHAMBER EVENTS December 4, 2010 Fall Taste of Brentwood Restaurant Tour November 20, 2010 Holiday Parade & Craft Fair
Chamber Mixers November 18 hosted by: Shepherd’s Gate December 16 hosted by: Travis Credit Union
Chamber Awards Dinner January 29, Trilogy Vineyards
When I was asked to be a Chamber Ambassador… my first question was, “What does an ambassador do?” The answer I got back was simple, “Promote local businesses and the chamber, help develop our community and nurture new chamber members.” Seemed simple enough and certainly rewarding so I became a Chamber Ambassador…what I got out of being a part of this organization was much, much more. As an Ambassador I get to communicate and network with local businesses and connect with business and community leaders. I‟ve been able to grow my business network through many of the events the Chamber holds throughout the year. I also have a voice in the community and get to learn about where our community, both from a business and local aspect, is going. The time commitment is minimal and frankly it‟s always beneficial and fun. One of the most important benefits about being a Chamber Ambassador is being able to promote my business. I‟m an Account Executive at California Payroll here in Brentwood. We are a service centric, workforce management solutions provider; offering payroll services, time & attendance, human resources and much much more. We may have „California‟ in our name but we process payroll throughout the entire country. Our team is built around payroll professionals that focus on what‟s most important, YOU! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at any time! I look forward to meeting many of you at the next Chamber function and welcome you to your local community network! See you at the next Chamber event! Andy Dourgarian CPP Account Executive California Payroll Phone: 925.240.2400 ext. 3533 Mobile: 925.303.8969 Andy@CaliforniaPayroll.com www.CaliforniaPayroll.com Save 50% on your new Time and Attendance with California Payroll! SUBSCRIBE to California Payroll‟s Bi-Weekly e-Newsletter!
SCORE Counselors, Counselers of Small Business, at your service! Now at the Brentwood Chamber Office 1st and 3rd Monday’s: 1:30 and 2:30 pm-----Call (925)634-3344 for your appointment
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BRENTWOOD SURGERY CENTER The Brentwood Surgery center located in the John Muir Health Medical Center located at 2400 Balfour Road, Suite 320 in Brentwood celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting on September 23, 2010. Brentwood Surgery Center is a new, fully licensed, multi-specialty, surgery center. The surgery center combines the latest surgical technologies and treatment methods available today. With board certified physicians, a licensed nursing team, and a friendly and helpful staff, Brentwood Surgery Center is ready to serve our community. Their number is (925) 626-9000.
Alexandra Luckhardt, Administrator, cuts the red ribbon with Chamber and John Muir officials in attendance.
Brentwood Spice and Olive Oil Brentood Spice and Olive Oil celebrated their store opening with a Ribbon Cutting on October 14. The event was a fun-filled evening with olive oil tasting, wine and appetizers. Brentwood Spice and Olive Oil is open Tuesday through Friday and is located at 70 Eagle Rock Way, Suite A in the Vic Stewarts Plaza. Besides a variety of olive oil, they offer spices, gourmet foods, wine, and custom gift baskets. Be sure to stop by and visit. Congratulations, David and Dawn!
David Navarette and Dawn Fischer, along with Chamber President, Shayn Cutino, and Chamber directors, ambassadors and guests, celebrate in front of their store, Brentwood Spice and Olive Oil.
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MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS Thank you to the following members who renewed their membership in October. We appreciate your continued support!
Brentwood Balfour Investors
Page 5 Join Us on Facebook! Click the Facebook picture to the left to be directed to our page. Also Look for our CornFest Page.
Brentwood Disposal Brentwood Minuteman Press Essential Care Chiropractic Extreme Pizza Far West Sanitation Law Offices of Jim Price Picture People Prestige Press & Signs Scrumdillyumptious Tailgaters Sports Bar & Grill The Streets of Brentwood Tres Jolie
November Mixer Thursday, November 18, 2010 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Shepherdâ€™s Gate 605 Sycamore Avenue Brentwood, CA Please bring a canned good donation
Also Join us on our Linked in page by clicking the link above.
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Hometown Halloween was held Saturday October 23 on a very rainy afternoon. Luckily for the trick-ortreaters, the rain stopped before the clock struck five, and the hundreds of families that turned out were able to stay relatively dry. Thank you to our sponsors, Sutter Delta and John Muir Health, all the participating businesses and organizations, the downtown merchants, the volunteers, and the many visitors who braved the rain to make this yearâ€™s Hometown Halloween another successful event..
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16th Annual Chamber Golf Tournament
The Chamberâ€™s Annual Golf Tournament was held on October 8, 2010 at Shadow Lakes Golf Club. It was a perfect day for golf. The dayâ€™s festivities included goodie bags, a chance to spin the prize wheel from Rave Motion Pictures, a barbeque lunch, golf, dinner, raffle and silent auction. A big thank you to our major sponsors: John Muir Health and Far West Sanitation; our golf cart sponsors, Rave, Travis Credit Union, and Yamaha Golf Cars; and to our hole sponsors, Assembly Member Joan Buchanan, Christopher Becnel, Esq, CPA, Terracare Associates, Dallas Shanks & Sons Automotive Service, Les Schwab Tires, Brentwood Party Rentals, Ready Print, Champlin Wireless Communication, A1 Transmission Service, Marples & Associates, WR Properties, Reagan Management Services, Harvest Park Bowl, Sutter Delta Medical Center, Brentwood Funeral Home, Roddy Ranch Golf Club, First Bank, Vornhagen Body & Paint, and California Payroll. Also, a big thank you to all our raffle and auction donors.
Page 8 10 STEPS TO IMPROVING YOUR CUSTOMER'S EXPERIENCE By Maria Ogneva
The Brentwood Clarion
Reprinted from the Stellar Journal and Risk Report
Giving your customers (current and potential) the most flawless and seamless user experience is one of the hardest tasks that any business may face. It‟s difficult for several reasons, two of which are: Firstly, you have to take yourself out of your own shoes and put yourself in the customer‟s shoes: what is her pain point? What has driven her to explore your product in the first place? How does she learn about your product category? How does she learn about your product? Is there enough information? Can she try it for herself? What does the onboarding process look like? What is the pre-sales and post-sales support? Is she able to purchase conveniently? This requires putting yourself in the customer‟s shoes, pretending that you know nothing about your product and perhaps not a lot about the product category, and walking yourself through that experience from the beginning. This is hard to do. Secondly, customer experience has so many touchpoints, from initial education / thought leadership / marketing, to the sales process, to the product experience, to the support experience during and after the purchase / sign-up. Because of this, there are many departments that will be involved, who each have their own objectives, structures and to-do lists. This makes alignment extremely difficult, but not impossible, if you can show how and why service and experience is the new marketing. For the reasons above, among others, you will see that giving the customer the right experience is multi-faceted and exists across silos. I worked up some basic steps to think about the process holistically and put some structure around the steps you may need to take to examine the current situation, align resources and execute: 1) Listen to what the market is saying about you. To start, you should be listening across the relevant social media channels (with a tool like Attensity360), across users as well as non-users. Some feedback is going to be obvious (“hey @brandX: love your product, but wish you didn‟t put me on hold for 10 minutes”), while some is going to be a little more subtle (“Wish there was an app out there that allowed me to hail a taxi from my smartphone without calling anyone”). Figure out what users like and dislike about you and about your competitors (and don‟t forget about the non-users: their feedback can be even more telling at times). Read between the lines to understand what the main pain points are, and what these people are looking for, which may or may not be currently provided. At the same time as you are listening to social media feedback, you should be listening to what your customers are telling you on the phone and via email. Every touchpoint you have with a (potential) customer is an opportunity to learn and provide an excellent experience. 2) Analyze to extract meaning from your social media research, as well as your traditional research. Being able to extract meaning and actionable insights is easy when you have a small data set. However, when you get into the thousands and tens of thousands — what happens then? When you are dealing with social media or unstructured messages inside your firewall (such as emails, call center notes and text surveys), you need a robust semantic tool (much like what we provide at Attensity with our Analyze product) to help surface the most prevalent issues and trends. If you are dealing with structured survey data, you should be working with a statistical tool like SPSS. When listening and analyzing, make sure you do it across the channels that make sense for you — i.e. where your (potential) customers are. 3) Collaborate; create customized experiences: In the social age, so much of the customer experience is going to rely on your ability to create products and services that solve her needs. Analyzing what people are saying in social media, call centers and support emails is an important step and can give you a view into how people view your product right now and what they want to do, but can‟t. Taking it a step further, you need to ask customers what they want, and give them the tools to collaborate with you. Take a tip from Threadless, who has pioneered crowdsourcing product. By involving their customers in product design, they have created advocacy from those who design and those who vote — both of those groups now have direct influence into how the product is shaped. As you create the collaborative process, make sure that power users, brand advocates (or even “badvocates”) and experts in the field can shape the product roadmap. For lighter users who don‟t want to get that involved, make it easy to provide feedback, and ensure that they know they are being heard. The social customer wants to feel ownership of the product‟s direction, (s)he wants to be heard when providing feedback. Make sure the feedback just doesn‟t sit there, but rather let customers forum discussion communities around ideas, allow them to flesh it out, and communicate back to the community the status of idea adoption. I love tools like UserVoice for that. 4) Examine content: Customer experience starts the first time the potential customer discovers your product or company. With the advent of social media, there are infinitely more touchpoints and ways that someone can discover you. Sometimes it‟s through a blogpost or a tweet that you‟ve written, or a blogpost or tweet that someone else wrote about you. It can come from a YouTube video, panel to which you contributed, or when someone mentions your product in their own training session or panel.
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Continued from previous page You get the point… It can be anywhere at anytime. When someone else is creating content about you, you can‟t control what they write or say.What you can control, however, is the awesomeness of their experience with your brand. Awesome experiences lead to awesome tweets and blogs. When you are creating content yourself, on the other hand, you need to know what value you add as a company and articulate it. What story do your materials tell? Is this story right for the customer segment you are selling to? Don‟t be overly concerned with “pimping” your product too much; if your content adds value and can be shared easily, it will help you sell your product without selling. In the social age, the mantra for all pre-sales experiences should be: “less selling, more educating.” 5) Examine product: Based on the findings you glean from #2, you should evaluate how your product currently compares to the needs, likes and dislikes of the market. Make sure you do an honest audit of your current product or service, as well as its roadmap. Sit down with the product team and share your findings, understand which items are already slated for release, and what‟s currently on the work plate for the team. Once you understand this, you will be able to start the planning process, prioritizing certain developments and deprioritizing some others. Make sure you are also getting qualitative feedback from customer service, in addition to the more concrete data pulled from call center notes and support emails. 6) Monitor and measure: After you have discovered the important trends and feelings from #1-3 and have prioritized product feedback in #4, you are now ready to develop the product enhancements and release them out into the world. As you do that (preferably in incremental chunks, so you can adjust as necesary), ensure that you are continuously monitoring social media for early feedback. Commit to the changes you are making; however, remain nimble enough to course-correct when things don‟t go as planned, and the feedback isn‟t as positive as you expected. Just like with everything you do, monitor and measure, measure and monitor. Lather, rinse, repeat. 7) Examine support: Killer product and pre-sales education is only part of a killer user experience; support is just as important. There are two major types of support: pre-sales and post-sales, and both are important to the overall customer experience. When customers are just getting to know your product and testing it out, pre-sales support is paramount. To ensure that it gets done, you need to understand if it falls under the sales or the support department, and make sure that the lines of communication are open between the two. After the customer purchases the product (or signs up, if the product is free), you also need to ensure that you have beefed up post-sales support. At this point, the customer has committed resources to your product, so you need to ensure they aren‟t Continued on page 14
Advertise your Business here!! For more information call the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce
c i t s a t n Fa ! y t i n u Opport
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2010 Business of the Year Nominations and 2011 Citizen of the Year Nominations Now Being Accepted!
Citizen of the Year: For the past 38 years, the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce has annually honored an individual for his or her contribution in making Brentwood a better place to live and work. If you know someone who should be honored, please fill out a nomination form and submit it to the Chamber no later than 12 noon, Friday, December 3, 2010. Business of the Year: Starting in 2005, the Chamber instituted a â€œBusiness of the Yearâ€? award honoring a business for its contribution in making Brentwood a better place to live and work. If you know a business that should be honored, please fill out a nomination form and return it to us no later than 12 noon, Friday, December 3, 2010. For more information or forms, visit our website at www.brentwoodchamber.com or call us at 634-3344.
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October Chamber Mixer at The
Chamber of Commerce thanks Markots for hosting Octoberâ€™ s mixer. Attendees enjoyed a wonderful array of food as well as receiving a tour of Markotsâ€™
operation. We would also like to thank The Monthly Grapevine; Postmaster, Diane Torres; and Edible
d o n a ti n g
Arrangements for being the winner of the Business Card Drawing and receiving a 1,000 postcard
from Markots. If you would like to contact
printing and marketing needs, they can be reached at (925) 240-0093 or visit them at 470 Harvest Park Drive, Suite A in
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For Better or Worse: Being the Spouse of a Small Business Owner Running your own business is hard, but not just for you. It’s rough on the whole family. Your business not only sleeps in your bed with you, but it hogs most of the blankets. Running a business is like driving a car on a winding mountain road. While it may be tough for you, the passengers get car sick. This is especially true of your spouse who is in the back seat turned around and blindfolded. If you can’t see where your business is going, they have no idea what’s going on! For the last 20 years, I have run three different businesses with a great degree of failure and success. In each one of them, I would come home from work and my wife would kindly ask: "How was your day, honey?" I never could to tell her. I didn’t want to relive all the ups and downs of that day. I learned later on to share the burden of the bad times and celebrate the victories with her. My spouse, Sara, says she stuck with me during my most difficult times, but sometimes against her better judgment. Manish Patel, CEO of Anaheim, CA based Where2GetIt, says he has caused his spouse, Dolly, plenty of mental anguish. "The line between our business lives and personal lives was not just blurred. It was obliterated."Manish credits his wife with a tremendous amount of support and understanding in staying the course during those tough periods. He added: "The entrepreneur’s spouse is hidden in the shadows, toiling away and keeping things held together and never quite getting the credit or recognition she deserves." Jeff Richmond is an engineer who became an entrepreneur when he started Northbrook, Ill.-based PumpBiz. His spouse, Mary Beth, a physician, says she always envisioned a successful businessman talking about his wife at their 25th wedding anniversary proudly boasting: “…and how can I ever thank my wife who has been at my side every step of the way and has never for one minute doubted me or lost faith in me or failed to support me during all the ups and downs.” Mary Beth hits the “fast-forward” button to her future 25th wedding anniversary and confesses: "Jeff can never say that about me … because I have had my doubts, I have lost my faith at times (not in him but in his endeavor) and I have failed to show unfailing support many times. There have been oh too many times when I’ve showed him all my doubts, insecurities and yes even gotten plenty upset with him for taking this road." What are the best ways to build your business and keep your family sanity? 1. Let your spouse in on most of the business secrets. You don’t need to tell them every detail, but make them feel included. Not knowing is worse than knowing something. 2. Share your day. Tell the good parts and the bad parts. This will enable you to let go and wake up to new opportunities tomorrow. 3. Celebrate your victories. There is nothing like family support to mark these moments or to let them go. Building your own business is truly a family affair. Share the setbacks and victories with your family when you can. They will provide support for you during the good and bad times. Remember they promised: For better or worse! Barry Moltz gets business owners growing again by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience, Barry has discovered the formula to get business owners unstuck marching forward. Visit him at www.barrymoltz.com
Page 14 Continued from page 9 regretting their decision. There are different kinds of support that you can provide: email, phone, social (Twitter, online forums), community-powered support like GetSatisfaction, or all of the above. Figure out what makes sense for you, from the standpoint of the product and the customers using it, and execute well. Word of caution: if you support in more than one channel, make sure that the experience is consistent (or rather: consistently excellent). 8) Align priorities: As you examine your content, product and support, ensure that all the departments in your company are on the same page. Inherently, everyone has unique objectives, which can be contradictory at times. To ensure a seamless customer experience, you need to align these objectives. For example, if you have a complex product that needs more than average in terms of onboarding, you need to allot extra pre-sales and post-sales resources to it. If the product is important enough to the overall product portfolio, the C-suite has to support this, while realizing that the higher costs of support will make it a lower ROI product. Clear objectives and metrics of success have to be set forth and adhered to by the management team. 9) Invest in data management, otherwise known as (social)CRM (thanks to Mitch Liberman for catching my lack of reference : There‟s nothing that can kill a deal and turn off a customer more than a disorganized experience, where various reps (support and sales) aren‟t working from the same record. How many times have you called in to a call center and had to tell your story twice, or received conflicting information, or even worse, there was no trace of a conversation you had yesterday? Too many, probably! Make sure that everyone in the company who can potentially touch the customer has access to the same dynamic information, and is able to update it on the fly for everyone to see. 10) Empower and train: None of the above is possible if you don‟t have the right human resources. To have a truly customer-centric culture, you need to ensure that your employees have the wherewithal to carry out the brilliant strategies you set. To ensure that, you need to: 1) hire employees that are quick on their feet and creative, and will go above and beyond to provide the right experience for the customer, 2) train these employees, 3) empower them to make their own customer-driven decisions, 4) adopt the culture of risk-taking as an organization, where failing fast is OK, and employees aren‟t afraid to move creatively to serve the customer. If you do the above well, if you are able to create a cogent, consistent and excellent customer experience from the very beginning, you should be able to build advocacy with those who touch your product. Whether or not they end up buying or using your product, they can still spread their feedback freely, and we all know what happens when positive or negative word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire.
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NEW MEMBERS Cookie Lee Jewelry Colette McIntyre Antioch, CA 94509 (925) 779-0125 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Digger’s Diner Diann Lei 2261 Balfour Rd., Suite F Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 240-8958 Email: email@example.com New Life Cleaners Dennis Kim 6730 Lone Tree Way, Ste. 2 Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 240-7541 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Smoke Shop Gary Singh 6670 Lone Tree Way #3 Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 308-7499 The Right Choice Patti Schneider PO Box 1892 Brentwood, CA 94513 (925) 642-6000 Email: email@example.com
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Page 16 IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS City of Brentwood
Parks & Recreation
Police Non Emergency
Brentwood Aquatic Park
Stop by the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce today for your very own copy of “Images of America Brentwood.” Cost: $21.65
Newspapers Brentwood Press
Contra Costa Times
The Brentwood Chamber of Commerce is now offering:
Transportation Tri Delta Transit
Hotels Hampton Inn
Holiday Inn Express
Hospital Sutter Delta Medical Center
John Muir Medical Center
Theaters Delta Cinema
The Brentwood Clarion Brentwood Chamber of Commerce 8440 Brentwood Blvd., Suite C Brentwood, CA 94513
2010 California and Federal updated Labor Posters. Pick yours up today at 8440 Brentwood Blvd. Ste. C Paper Version: $23.00 Plastic Version: $39.00 Phone: 925-634-3344 Fax: 925-634-3731 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.brentwoodchamber.com