GCVCC Voice of Business: Summer 2022

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Jeff Levine Board Chair Asher and Asher Consulting

Toni Merrihew Immediate Past Chair Chandi Group USA

Carmen Contreras Chair Elect State Farm Insurance Carmen Contreras

Jay Chesterton, Treasurer Vice Chair Fantasy Springs Resort Casino – Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

Rich Ramhoff Treasurer Desert Care Network

Valerie Ward Secretary Burrtec Waste & Recycling Services

David Nola Alpha Media

Vicky Franco Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries

Julie Frazier Frazier Pest Control

Blaine Carian Growing Coachella Valley

Daniel Harris Farmers Insurance Daniel Harris Agency

Lesa Bodnar Coachella Valley Economic Partnership

Victoria Llort Coachella Valley Water District

Mike Etheridge Western Water Works

Andrew McDuffie First Bank

Austin Beneteau Modern Woodmen of America

Julio Figueroa AT&T

Mickey Jumapao iServe Residential Lending

Tatiana Yturralde-Morales West Coast Cannabis Club

Jeff Fishbein Coldwell Banker

Scott White Visit Greater Palm Springs

Bob McCauley NBC Palm Springs

Joshua Bonner Coachella Valley Public Cemetery District

David Roth Slovak Baron Empey Murphy & Pinkney, LLP

Sandy Lee Hardin The Lock Shop

Alba Cruz-Rosales Pueblo Viejo Grill

Jason Cabanyog Imperial Western Products, Inc.

Tom Niva LOCALiQ – Part of the Desert Sun

Victoria Martin Augustine Tribe of Cahuilla Indians













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CHAMPION INVESTORS The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce promotes regional prosperity, serving as a catalyst for economic vitality and strong communities across the valley. Thank you to our champion investors for supporting The Chamber.








he Voice of Business is more than a publication. It’s a mantra. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff embrace the opportunity and the privilege of being the Coachella Valley’s dedicated Voice of and for Business. As an organization we are invested in connecting with local businesses to collect firsthand data about the greatest opportunities and the real challenges our local business community faces. We are committed to producing and convening resources around their needs. And we make it our mission to connect our local businesses with the opportunities and solutions they need to keep thriving. Beyond listening to needs and producing resources, the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce uses our insights and opportunities to act as the Voice of Business by engaging with elected officials locally and in Sacramento. Just this past month, the Chamber led a trip to the State Capital to connect local industry leaders with representatives in their Capital offices. We advocated on behalf of the Coachella Valley discussing higher education, broadband, energy, and the challenges associated with local employment. Next stop: Washington, D.C. Did you know that over the past twelve months the Chamber has produced 21+ events for the business

community as well as the broader community? Our signature, community events, like Indio’s Annual State BBQ Competition and the Annual La Quinta Car Show, drew in tens of thousands of visitors. Our business events welcomed thousands of local professionals in total, and our investment into the local economy amounted to over $602,605 of spending with local businesses. The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce proudly carries out the “Voice of Business” mantra every day in service to our members, sponsors, city partners, tribal partners, and the broader business community. We are immersing ourselves into local business affairs so that we can respond with resources, opportunities, and unparalleled support. We are proud to engage with our local community and to serve its needs through leadership and initiative. We are committed to providing our community stakeholders with value through our service. This edition of Voice of Business magazine highlights the many opportunities we all share as Coachella Valley grows. The economic growth we are experiencing and the potential we continue to realize provides us with continuous mission and purpose as the Coachella Valley’s Voice of Business. This edition also highlights the perspective and activity of our local elected leaders who advocate on behalf of all of us daily.

Jeff Levine Asher & Asher Consulting

Julio Figueroa AT&T

Emily Falappino President and CEO

Chairman of the Board, Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce

Chair, Business Legislative Advocacy Committee

Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce



State Senate Bill (SB) 1383 requires commercial edible food generators to donate all leftover or unsold food that would otherwise be disposed of, by contracting with a food recovery organization or service such as a food bank or local soup kitchen. Luckily, Coachella Valley businesses can benefit from our local partner, FIND food bank! To learn more visit www.findfoodbank.org

Is My Business a Tier 1?

Edible Food Generators SB 1383 sets a statewide goal to recover 20% of edible food waste by 2025 to address food insecurity in California and reduce food waste. TIER 1 Commercial and Edible Food Generators must contract with a food recovery organization or service for the collection or drop-off of edible food starting January 1, 2022.

Tier 1 Commercial Edible Food Generators Include:

Supermarkets with an annual revenue of $2 million or greater

AB 1826 Is Your Business Compliant?

Grocery stores with a total facility size of 10,000 square feet or more

Food service providers

Help is Available Burrtec's District Environmental Coordinators will assist your food establishment in participating with local food agencies to begin a food rescue program. Contact us at (760) 340-2113 to schedule a free assessment.

AB 1826 Requires commercial businesses and multifamily complexes to recycle their organic waste material such as food and landscape waste. Contact us to schedule a free waste assessment.

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2022 Patrick E. Swarthout Business Advocate Awards


nnually, the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce analyzes the voting records of our local elected leaders to measure their alignment with the Chamber’s pro-small business advocacy platform and the positions the Chamber took on proposed business-related laws during the legislative year.

Elected leaders who vote for proposed legislation in line with the Chamber platform no less than twothirds of the time are recognized for their efforts to support small businesses. The award is named for the GCVCC’s first advocacy executive and founder of the Business Legislative Advocacy Committee, Patrick Swarthout. The GCVCC is proud to recognize the following elected officials for their efforts in 2021/2022:

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D) United States House of Representatives CA 36th Congressional District 2021/2022 GCVCC Vote Record Alignment: 100%

State Senator Melissa Melendez (R) California Senate District 28 2021/2022 GCVCC Vote Record Alignment 92%

Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I) California Assembly District 42 2021/2022 GCVCC Vote Record Alignment 80%


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here is a new kind of oasis being built in the heart of the Coachella Valley. Rising 53-feet above the earth, near the intersection of Cook St. and I-10, the new first-of-its-kind Acrisure Arena is an 11,000+ seat indoor venue built exclusively for music and made for hockey.

Operational Phase

State of the art sound, great sight lines, exclusive artist accommodations, and state-of-the-art Firebird’s training areas will elevate entertainment for locals and visitors alike year round.

Tourism Impact

The adjacent Iceplex will be open 350 days a year for all ages open skates, hockey lessons, figure skating, and more. How will the new Acrisure Arena impact the economy of the Coachella Valley? Here’s a few points to shed some light. Construction Phase

Supporting approximately 1,400 jobs and will generator over $200M to Riverside County


• • •

• • • •

420 full-time equivalent year-round jobs $31M annual economic output Benefiting local businesses – hotels, retail, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores

Incremental visitor spending of $108 million per year. Including indirect and induced impacts, the total economic impact of $141 million annually. 1,572 Jobs including both direct and indirect jobs in the Greater Palm Springs region. A total of $11.0 million in state and local tax revenues generated in the region

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com. Visit AcrisureArena.com or CVFirebirds.com for more information including info on how to rent VIP Club Areas or the Iceplex for your next special event or fundraiser.



igher education and broadband infrastructure have been persistent issues in the Coachella Valley. Both are critical and directly affect the future of workforce development, skilled labor, and our valley’s industry development potential. Additionally, these subjects affect the lifestyle and opportunities for Coachella Valley residents. Coachella Valley Assembly Members Chad Mayes (I) and Eduardo Garcia (D) have consistently advocated for investment into broadband infrastructure development and the construction of a four-year CSU campus in Palm Desert. Assembly Member Garcia recently spoke with GCVCC on the subject. As an advocate for a stronger business community and economy, The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce has been a long time advocate for a local, four year university campus. Recently the California State Legislature approved a $59M investment to develop CSUSB-Palm Desert, a four year university campus. What will these funds do and how will it impact local residents? “The State Legislature has approved and we are extremely close to delivering $59 million for a new student services building at out California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) Palm Desert

Campus. This project is an essential component of the Palm Desert Campus master plan. This funding would allow the university to commence with phase one of the project. The additional capacity would improve access to vital services and support increased enrollment for the local campus. Importantly, it will help eliminate the frequency of Coachella Valley students traveling hours away to obtain resources that are currently only available at the San Bernardino campus.” “We have come a long way towards advancing our campus expansion goals. In 2017, Assemblymember Mayes and I went in asking for $10 million from the state to come out with $3 million for our local campus and now we are the Governor’s signature away from obtaining nearly 20 times as much. This is incredible progress but there is still a long road ahead of us. We must continue to put up a united front as we advocate to grow our local CSU campus, keep up with enrollment growth trends, and bolster higher education and economic development opportunities in the Coachella Valley.” A $59M investment into Coachella Valley’s higher education system is an incredible advancement for our community. What are the long term goals your office has for higher education in Coachella Valley and what do you see for the future of higher education in the region? “Our ultimate goal is to establish our own Coachella Valley California State University (CSU). This is a high priority for our region, and we are grateful to the collaborative community advocacy campaign helping us make a strong case to the Governor and state. Securing the investments needed to construct this new building will better position our region to be selected as a standalone CSU; expanding capacity for student services and establishing basic campus infrastructure to accommodate enrollment growth. We are very close to delivering $59 million in this year’s state budget to jumpstart phase one of the Palm Desert campus student services building and demonstrate that our community is ready for our own CSU.”


Limited broadband affects businesses and residents across the Coachella Valley. What efforts is your office making to improve our broadband infrastructure across the entire valley, particularly in underserved areas? “In the State Legislature, we have been championing efforts to expand access to affordable high-speed internet and broadband infrastructure to bridge the digital divide in rural underserved areas, like our Coachella Valley. Access to high-speed internet has become far more than a passport to opportunity and economic vitality; it is an absolute essential health, safety, and education tool. We are taking an active role in these policy discussions to secure investments needed to bring our community up to speed for current and future needs. In addition to helping lead policy working groups, I currently serve on the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee and the California Department of Education’s Closing the Digital Divide Task Force. In 2017, we authored AB 1665, the Internet for All Now Act, landmark legislation that made improvements and extended $300 million into the California Advanced Services Fund for broadband infrastructure projects.” “Last year, we dedicated a historic $6 billion broadband investment in the 2021 state budget, and we have been working to ensure that we see these dollars equitably distributed in areas of need like ours. California is building an open-access middle-mile network to help reach unserved or underserved areas, and we pushed to

have the Coachella Valley selected as one of the state’s initial Middle Mile Initiative projects. Our Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) is leading the project in collaboration with local government, education, and tribal partners. It is currently in the design and preliminary cost estimate phase. It is exciting to see our local efforts come together with the support we secured from our state, and we must keep working to deliver our region’s fair share of resources.” The Governor recently announced that the California Department of Technology awarded $225M to contractors in the name of the Middle Mile Broadband Initiative. This will allow the State to purchase enough optical fiber for 3,000 miles of network development. How does this affect the Coachella Valley? “We continue leading a bipartisan broadband work group tracking our progress and identifying next policy actions. We are also overseeing the implementation of California funding to address internet disparities, ensuring dollars make their way to communities like ours and are put to use as intended. This year, we are looking to invest $1.1 billion in last-mile network infrastructure through our state budget.” “In addition to building out the broadband infrastructure needed, we are prioritizing policies to make certain internet access is affordable. We are committed to continue leading the charge to bridge the digital divide in our region.” GCVCC.ORG | 13

SUPERVISOR V. MANUEL PEREZ: WORKING HARD FOR RIVERSIDE COUNTY Story by: The Office Of Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez


t the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic in March of 2020, I was the chair for the Board of Supervisors. This was a trying time, but I was fortunate to have the opportunity to lead the County through the pandemic. During this time the County set aside $50 million in CARES Act funding for small business assistance. The program provided five thousand (5,000) individual businesses affected by closures and interruptions in response to COVID-19 with a $10,000 grant. Many of the smaller businesses and sole proprietorships in the county were unable to obtain loan or grant funding through the federal or state programs, therefore a local program was created to assist. The COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant Program was designed to provide direct assistance in an efficient and accessible manner. In the Fourth District, 1,029 grants were provided to local businesses totaling $10,290,000. Below is a breakdown of the assistance provided by Cities/Communities:



Bermuda Dunes




Cabazon Reservation


Cathedral City


Chiriaco Summit




Del Webb Sun City


Desert Hot Springs


Indian Wells




La Quinta




North Palm Springs


North Shore


Palm Desert


Palm Springs


Pinon Pines


Rancho Mirage


Sky Valley


South East Desert Hot Springs




Thousand Palms


Vista Santa Rosa




In addition to the above programs, on April 21, 2020, my colleagues and I approved the creation of the County of Riverside Economic Recovery Task Force Committee to provide the opportunity for staff and stakeholders to work together to draw on resources and expertise in aggregating information from the health, social and economic sectors. The task force sunset in late September 2021. The task force met virtually 61 times and provided assistance and recommendations for best practices to business industries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, the Board approved over $2.1M of the County’s Economic Recovery ARPA allocation (of $36 million), to continue supporting the County Tourism Recovery Campaign and help rebuild the designated 14 | GCVCC.ORG

District business. In addition, another 28 loans totaling $780,000 from CARES Act funding received in 2020 were made countywide, of which 10 loans were made to 4th District businesses totaling $285,000. These two loan programs will continue to generate additional loans as the principal and interest are paid back on existing loans that will allow for more loans to county businesses. The application portal can be accessed at https://rivcoed.org/financing-help Business Assistance NOW Program

impacted industry as a result of the ongoing negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. This continued program will provide funding for the Visit Greater Palm Springs and Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (dba Visit Temecula Valley) whose primary functions are to grow tourism and convention/ conference activities in the county and support the hospitality industry. Both organizations have action plans which includes detailed information on how the money will be utilized and consistent with the overall program objective.

The Business Assistance NOW Program (BANP) was implemented to provide technical assistance to county entrepreneurs start and existing business owners expand operations. Through the BANP, the County of Riverside’s Office of Economic Development business support team works closely with the County’s Ombudsman to provide a clear path to navigating Transportation Land Management Agency’s Planning and Building and Safety departments to assist business start and growing within Riverside County. The BANP provides assistance with occupancy permit assistance, financial resources, hiring and training and more.

There are several ways that businesses can still access many of these resources. Some of which are below: The California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program On January 25, 2022, the Board of Supervisors accepted $3,093,964 in grant funds from the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) for the California Microbusiness Covid-19 Relief Grant Program. Of that total, $2.8 million was allocated to direct business assistance for 1,120 grants for $2,500 to eligible microbusinesses impacted by COVID-19 and related health and safety restrictions. The intent of the program is to assist microbusinesses to promote business sustainability, job retention, and the overall economic preservation of local businesses throughout the county. Microbusinesses with four employees or less comprise approximately 33% of the total number of businesses in the County of Riverside and are important to the county’s economy. The application process can be initiated by interested businesses accessing an online application through the www.rivcobizhelp.org website. Businesses will need to complete a grant application and provide documentation to ensure they comply with program requirements. To date of the 70 grants that have been made, 18 of which have been made to 4th District microbusinesses. Revolving Loan Funds Office of Economic Development has been operating a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program since 2016 that has made 28 loans to date totaling $1,600,000. Of this total, 13 loans totaling $520,000 were made to 4th GCVCC.ORG | 15

Since the program launched in May 2021, the BANP program has assisted over 700 individuals/ entrepreneurs or business owners. To date,135 individuals/entrepreneurs or business owners have been assisted in District 4. Of those, 3 had a consult with TLMA regarding permitting or land use matters, 83 were referred to CVSBDC, 4 were referred to Workforce Development and 5 were in the unincorporated area of District 4. BANP also receives many requests that are referred to individual cities for further assistance. Program staff may be contacted at https://rivcoed.org/ business-assistance-now-program Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center The Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC) hosted by Riverside County Office of Economic Development is a Small Business Administration (SBA), Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and Riverside County funded small business assistance program. The CVSBDC is in the Office of Economic Development’s Coachella Valley Business Center at Indio Monroe Park and its service territory covers the area from the community of Cabazon to the City of Blythe in eastern Riverside County. The CVSBDC core services are consulting and training for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The CVSBDC services are designed to assist small businesses in solving problems and fostering small business growth, expansion, innovation, productivity, and management improvement. The extraordinary economic impacts due to COVID-19 required an aggressive response to assist the many local businesses that were affected. From March 16, 2020, to present the CVSBDC has provided 6,771 hours of one-on-one consulting to 1,552 businesses, helping 464 of them receive $59,009,518 in capital funding and supporting 7,423 jobs. The CVSBDC team of staff and business consultants represent a variety of backgrounds and industry expertise. Consulting services are available by appointment to both existing business owners and

aspiring entrepreneurs by going to website located at https://coachellavalleysbdc.org/ Small businesses are the heart of our communities and the majority of the business in the County. In the Coachella Valley, there is a need for diversified economy, so our population has different job opportunities and to be better prepared when the next pandemic or emergency happens. I am hopeful that the California State University San Bernardino – Palm Desert campus will be a catalyst for the diversification of our economy. Riverside County, and the Coachella Valley will come out of the pandemic thriving. We are seeing it now, and we will see it more so in the coming months and years. The County will continue to support our small businesses to ensure that the quality of life of our residents continues to improve. The Board of Supervisors, along with County staff, continue to create programs and resources to assist small businesses. In July we will be discussing 2 new programs: the Thrive program and the Veteran’s Assistance Now Program. Stay tuned for more information on these programs! I will be posting details on my social media pages. If you have any questions on any of these programs, please contact my office at (760) 863-8211.

Looking forward to a

BRIGHT FUTURE in the Coachella Valley


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The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to the 2022 Business Awards Dinner and Annual Meeting. This year’s event theme is “Look to the Future”, a look at the future of business in the Coachella Valley. This year’s event welcomes a new format as we elevate the outlook of our future. Tuesday, June 28, 2022 | 5:30pm Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, Indian Wells The Evening’s Agenda Includes: 5:30pm Cocktail Reception Silent Auction Photo Station 6:30pm Awards Show Recognizing: Small Business of the Year Enterprise Business of the Year Non-Profit of the Year The Leadership Award Patrick E. Swarthout Business Advocate Award Chairman John A. James Lifetime Achievement Award Board of Directors Installation Keynote Address 18 | GCVCC.ORG

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL 2022 BUSINESS AWARD NOMINEES AND AWARD WINNERS Your recognition tonight is a testimony to your outstanding service and presence in the community. On behalf of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and staff, we thank you for your commitment to our local communities.

2022 BUSINESS AND ACHIEVEMENT AWARD CATEGORIES BEING RECOGNIZED THIS EVENING INCLUDE Ambassador of the Year Award Volunteer of the Year Award The President’s Award Community Leadership Award Lifetime Achievement Award East Valley Business of the Year Award Mid-Valley Business of the Year Award West Valley Business of the Year Award Non-profit of the Year Award Industry Excellence Award Patrick E. Swarthout Business Advocate Award THANK YOU TO OUR EVENT SPONSORS


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