Looking Forward to 2017

The chamber board is excited for 2017!  We have been working diligently on rebuilding the Oakley Chamber and getting more businesses involved.  This year we will be hosting a Chamber Mixer the second Wedensday of each month.  I am proud to say our mixer calendar is full and we are now booking mixers for next year.  Hosting a mixer is a great way to welcome others to your business and showcase what you do. It is a great way to network becasue its not just who you know, its who others know.

We also have some great events coming up such as our 3rd Annual Wine and Whiskey dinner at La Grande Event Center on April 29th, 2017.  Tickets go on sale February 1st to chamber members only, then on February 15th to the general public. There will be hors d’ oeuvers, wine and whiskey tasting, buffet dinner, cigar bar, dessert bar, and a live band and dancing.  There is a limited amount of seating so please get your tickets ASAP.

We are looking for volunteers to assist with all of our events this year, if interested please contact the chamber office at 925-625-1035.

We will be doing coffee and donuts with Mayor Higgins quarterly, however to fill in on the monthly Saturdays she is not there we will be having other speakers come in.  These will be at the Oakley Senior Center and we are looking for businesses that would like to sponsor the Coffee and Donuts, so if you have a home based business and would like to get your name out there this is a great opportunity. Please keep watch for this announcement as the first one will be in March. If interested in sponsoring coffee and donuts give the office a call 925-625-1035

We have some other exciting events coming up this year so watch your emails, our web page and our our Facebook page for announcements. If you are not on our email list and want to be. Ask us by emailing us at [email protected]

Also just to reminding you the Chamber does ground breaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies. If you are new to our community or just moved your location why not let everyone know. give us a call or drop us an email.


Welcome to our 2015 New Members!

  • The 2015 New Members will be updated shortly.  Thank you

Renew By 1/31/2014!

If you don’t want to lose out on your Member Profile Page it’s time to renew your 2014 Membership!  Please don’t let this happen!  If you have misplaced your Renewal Invoice please call the Chamber Office today to get another Invoice mailed/emailed out to you!


Terracare Associates

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Taking Steps to Involve Home-Based Businesses

Stefan Didak and I met with Cecelia Nichols-Fritzler on June 13th to discuss plans for a business workshop (stay tuned for details), and as a result of that discussion we also scheduled an event that will move the Oakley Chamber closer to one of its goals for this year: reaching out to home-based businesses.

There were almost 400 businesses with home occupation permits as of January 2013. That means that home-based businesses account for roughly half the business licenses in Oakley. The Chamber Board has discussed ways in which the City of Oakley might serve its home-based businesses during some of its Breakfasts with the Mayor (e.g. creating a co-working space or business incubator), but only a few home-based business owners are Chamber members, so we don’t know enough about what kinds of home-based businesses we have and what would benefit Oakley residents who work from home.

On Tuesday, July 23rd, we will hold a Home-based Business Roundtable in the City Council Chambers, modeled on the Diane Burgis’ Nonprofit Roundtable. Everyone with a home-based business is invited to attend to share challenges and success stories, meet your colleagues, and find out what resources are available to you. There is no charge to attend.

RSVP to the Oakley Chamber Office at (925) 625-1035 or [email protected]

If you’d like to help spread the word, you can download a printable flyer by clicking the image below.

Home based business Flyer

Join Us for the Citizen of the Year Awards at the June 25th City Council Meeting

We’d like to thank all the people and institutions that helped us get the word out about nominations for the Citizen of the Year Awards, including Mayor Kevin Romick, the Oakley Press, and the City of Oakley.

Last year’s Chamber Board made the decision to cancel the Citizen of the Year Awards dinner due to lack of community participation. The Chamber sent out more than 11,000 nomination forms and received fewer than 10 nominations. The demographics of Oakley have changed, and many people do not know their neighbors, or have energy to spare to consider who might merit such an award. It seemed unlikely that anyone outside the immediate families of the winners would attend an awards banquet.

This year’s Board of Directors felt strongly that even if participation was low and indications were that a banquet would not be financially viable, there are people in Oakley who deserve public recognition for the contributions they make to the community. We set up an online nomination form in addition to distributing paper forms at Councilmember Burgis’ new Nonprofit Roundtable meetings and at other Chamber events.

Participation remained low, but all of the nominees were extremely worthy people, so even though there were not many nominees to choose from, the choice was not easy.

We will be presenting the awards at the beginning of the June 25th City Council Meeting. We want the winners to get the maximum possible public recognition, and recent experience suggests that the winners would get less attention than they deserved if we required their friends and families to pay $40/per person to attend a banquet during a recession.

Please join us on June 25th to honor these members of our community who have given their time and energy to help their fellow residents and make Oakley a better place to live. As with all City Council Meetings, the event is free and open to the public.

About the Almond Fest

Ben Toasted, the Almost Festival mascot

Ben Toasted, the Almond Festival mascot

Many people have been asking recently about the Oakley Almond Festival. Because the Chamber of Commerce was one of the main sponsors we would like to update the residents of Oakley on the status. Sadly, we will not be holding the Almond Festival this year.

The Almond Fest in its familiar form came to an end because it was no longer possible to get the carnival, and the rides were the biggest attraction. The carnival pulled out of the 2011 Almond Fest at the last minute, leaving the Chamber in an awkward financial position and the citizens with a disappointing event.

There’s also been some debate as to whether “Almond Fest” represents who we are as a city and a chamber. Older residents feel nostalgia for the almonds; newer residents may never have seen an almond tree in Oakley. The primary crop grown in Oakley for the past several decades has been grapes; hence the new “Water and Wine” theme the City is pursuing. Yet, with only one small winery actually located in Oakley, we’re not ready for a full-scale wine festival.

The City of Oakley will be holding its new Heart of Oakley Festival downtown on Main Street on September 14th, 2013–approximately the time of year at which the Almond Fest normally took place. The Chamber of Commerce is one of the sponsors of the Heart of Oakley Festival and will be providing the Beer and Wine Garden, offering wines made from Oakley grapes.

This should not be taken to mean that the Heart of Oakley Festival is a replacement for the Almond Festival. Heart of Oakley is essentially a City event. Admission is free and revenue from booth rentals goes to the City.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for an event to replace the Almond Fest—one that would attract locals, out-of-town visitors, and vendors. Please contact us!

Chamber Scholarship Awarded to Emily Ng and Kevin Rivera

The following is the full text of the speech from the presentation of the Oakley Chamber Scholarship award on May 23rd at Freedom High School.

Every year, the Oakley Chamber of Commerce offers a $500 Scholarship to a Freedom High School graduating senior. All applicants are asked to submit a transcript of their grades, 3 letters of recommendation, one of which had to come from a principal or counselor at Freedom High School, and an 800-1000 word essay on the topic, “Oakley’s History”.

This year we had two applicants who were very evenly matched. Both had precisely the same total GPA. Both had very strong letters of recommendation. One had a just slightly better essay, while the other performed just slightly better during the interview.

Because there was no clear choice between these candidates, the Chamber Board of Directors decided after careful consideration to divide the Oakley Chamber of Commerce $500 Scholarship between Emily Ng and Kevin Rivera, and award $250 to each student.

In addition to her many AP courses and the National Honor Society, Emily Ng sings with Freedom’s Select Singers and also with her church choir, Power and Light. She will be taking up a place at Biola University in the fall.

Kevin Rivera not only plays varsity soccer but coaches his younger brother’s team and volunteers at Laurel Elementary School. Like Emily, he is part of the California Scholarship Federation. Kevin plans to study business administration and accounting at California State University, Sacramento.

The Oakley Chamber of Commerce offers its congratulations not only to Emily and to Kevin, but also to their parents, Lisa and Berster Ng and Ismael and Maria Rivera, for bringing up such capable young people. We wish you all the best in your continued education and hope this scholarship award reminds you how much the Oakley Chamber of Commerce appreciates you.

Ridgewater Realty Services

Dave HansenDave Hansen of Ridgewater Realty is known to many citizens of Oakley from his time campaigning for Oakley City Council. We twisted his arm until he joined the Oakley Chamber of Commerce after the February Mixer.

Ridgewater serves not only Oakley but Antioch, Bethel Island, Concord, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, and Pittsburg. Dave, his partner Larry Young, and their broker associates handle both commercial and residential property as well as foreclosures, short sales, and bank-owned properties.

Welcome to the Chamber!

Non-profit Roundtable Meets Feb 19th

Councilmember Diane Burgis convened a non-profit roundtable at City Hall on February 19th, and invited the Oakley Chamber. Directors Darci Bowen, Shirley Darling, Stefan Didak, and Wendy Lou Turner attended along with President Sallie Goetsch and Vice President Jimmy d’Amico. The other Oakley non-profits present were Loaves and Fishes, Oakley Seniors, East County Little League, St. Anthony’s, La Clinica, Relay for Life, New Lifeline Ministries, Animal Rescue Recon, Ebenezer Community Church, and Locally Oakley.

The meeting identified common purposes among several groups (e.g. offering meals and other services for the homeless) and a widespread interest in cooperation among groups. Besides possible opportunities for collaboration, the subject of interest to most people was fundraising, followed by volunteer/leader development.

The group will continue to meet once a month. Other non-profits are encouraged to participate, but for now the roundtable is restricted to groups based in or serving Oakley, to make the meetings manageable.

The Oakley Chamber is definitely interested in continuing to participate, both to because we need to explore fundraising and volunteer options for ourselves and because we want to support local non-profits. (Non-profits that need publicity and an online presence should definitely consider becoming chamber members.)

There should be some kind of mailing list or online community for roundtable participants soon.

The members of this group seem like a good source of nominations for Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, since they are sure to have many members who have contributed greatly to the Oakley community.