Oakdale Chocolate Festival is Good Business for Local Business

The Oakdale District Chamber of Commerce proudly announces our 26th Annual Chocolate Festival to be held May 19 & 20, 2018. 

The Oakdale Chocolate Festival is recognized in the Central Valley as a, “successful and must attend event,” providing quality entertainment and attractions. This event provides sponsors broad exposure in our local community. The Oakdale Chocolate Festival operates with professional standards, offers to its attendees the highest value for a fun family-oriented, and with the sponsors and patrons support will provide for the needs of our students, non-profit organizations, and the community they serve.

There are several businesses and non-profit groups that benefit from this event.  Groups to date that have benefited are:  American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Boy & Girl Scouts, Community United Methodist Church, Fire Department Explorers, Interact Club of Oakdale High School, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, Oakdale C.A.P.S., Oakdale Rotary, Pacific Project Heroes, Police Department Explorers, River Oak Grace Church Youth Group, San Joaquin Regional Conservation Corps, and Shadow Chase Run Club. Last year over $16,000 was raised for our local service groups. Also over 1.5 ton of cans were collected at the gates for Oakdale Community Sharing.

Sponsorship income is also used for a variety of expenses including posters, brochures, signs, security, insurance, entertainment, booth rentals, and more. Your business being sponsors will benefit your company through a variety of advertising opportunities.  Last year, festival attendance was 45,000. The average attendee was 30-50 years old and married with a family.  Visitors come from all over California with a concentration of people from Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Bay Area, and Sacramento.

So would you like your business associated with this successful event and get your name in front of thousands for the weekend? Please contact Desa Cammack at the Chamber we have levels ranging from $250 to $10,000.

Message from Outgoing President

John Lane, 2018 President of the Chamber Board

With the holidays in full swing and school finals wrapping up, I’m sure looking forward to family reunions and hitting the streets of Oakdale for a little last-minute Christmas shopping! For this, my last newsletter representing the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, I decided to briefly recount my journey to the Chamber. My wife, Tina, and I moved to Oakdale with our growing family on Rodeo weekend in 1999. We found Oakdale to be welcoming and were happy to enroll our kids in a great school district! I became a partner in a small environmental consulting firm in 2006 and worked out of Modesto for a few years, before I seized the opportunity to move my office to Oakdale, my adopted home town. I did not immediately join the Chamber because my available hours were chewed up by work and lots of dad stuff. But as my daughters became more independent and less dad-dependent, I decided to join the Chamber of Commerce. Although I hoped for additional visibility for my small company, for me, joining the Chamber was a way to get to know my city a little better and to meet more of my peers. I can happily report, “Mission Accomplished!”

I started small by attending the monthly mixers sponsored by Chamber members, where the new faces became more and more familiar with every “Hi, I’m John” and “What company are you with again?” I stopped into the Chamber office a few times to ask the staff about various issues concerning small business and the community, and was soon asked to join the Board of Directors. I was, at first, luke warm to the idea, but eventually agreed, and I am thankful that I did.

Now, as my term as president comes to a close, I want to thank the Chamber, and by extension, the local community, for allowing me to serve you over the past several years. I’d also like to thank the Chamber’s staff, Mary, Trisha, and Desa, for their hard work and continued efforts to expand their knowledge and capabilities, and my fellow Board members for their time, their mentorship, and their friendship. As we look forward to 2018, I encourage you to continue to stay involved in our wonderful community. In a small city like ours, our personal lives and our professional lives intersect often. If you are wondering what is the best way for you to get involved with the Chamber, call or come by the office and talk to Mary, Trisha, or Desa, and, whether you want to jump in with both feet, start slow, or just attend the many fun events throughout the year, I’m sure they will help find the right fit for you. Just remember, a Chamber membership is very much like a fitness membership for your business; if you don’t go and put in the effort, you won’t see the positive results!

I hope to see many of you at the 72nd Annual Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner on January 19th to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations, and businesses that have been nominated by the community for their efforts. Until then, I’ll see you around town!

Why does the Chamber do community events?

by Desa Cammack, Oakdale Chamber Events Coordinator

The Chamber’s mission is to “unite the business community by enhancing business, economic growth and tourism; while retaining the high quality of life in Oakdale.” Events like the Chocolate Festival, Taste of Oakdale and Pours in Stores bring an economic value to the community in different ways. Chocolate Festival leads to hotel stays by many of the 200+ vendors and visitors spending money in our restaurants, gas stations and hopefully our retail establishments. All that money produces tax revenue that the City uses for school, public safety and so much more. Taste of Oakdale is designed to boost those in the food and beverage industry; while Pours in Stores is designed to showcase Downtown as an entertainment district. All of these events create awareness with patrons on what Oakdale businesses have to offer and hopefully result in more business in the future.

Chamber events also create a sense of community. Chamber mixers, ribbon cuttings, leadership programs and our awards dinner offer a spotlight on the citizens and businesses doing good things in our town. Our membership stays connected and is part of developing our local economy and future by participating in a variety of Chamber programs. A strong business community means a strong overall community.

People do not do business with a sign on the outside of a building but with real people. When someone needs something for business or personal use, they turn to those people they developed a personal relationship with. Mixers and the Golf Classic are a great chance to meet others in the business community. It’s an opportunity to learn more about each other and create a sense of community through networking. The Ag Luncheon brings many from the same industry together to share ideas, learn from one another and work towards a common goal..

Another reason the Chamber hosts event is also to generate revue. The Chamber is a non-profit organization that is based on membership. We aren’t affiliated with any governmental agency and the operating costs all come through membership dues and fundraising activity. The proceeds are used for staff salaries, as well as a variety of programs, including a scholarship fund and the Leadership Oakdale program. The Chamber is so much more than our events. We strive to support the business community through advocacy, education and networking. By enhancing the quality of life in Oakdale the Chamber increases the chance of relocating employees and employers to the region. Our events add economic value to the community and enhance the quality life.

A Few “Tricks & Treats”

A message from John Lane, President

As I did with last year’s October article, I wanted to share a few “Tricks and Treats” with you during the Halloween season.

Treat: It was quite a treat to participate in the grand opening of the Oakdale Community Park last month. The park turned out wonderful, the dedication ceremony was emotional, and the day’s activities were fun! The continued daily use of the park has been great to see. Kids and adults of all ages swarm the Jason Turnage Skate Park and the Norm Antinetti Basketball Court, families are picnicking on the grass, kids are climbing on the play structure, and even a few folks are sweating it out on the Coach Jack Walker Par Course. I can’t wait to see more local performances at “The Q” amphitheater!

Trick: The traffic through town may soon be a bit of a nightmare due the upcoming closure of South Yosemite between F and J Streets due to road improvements, not to mention ongoing construction on C Street. However, based upon the already completed improvements around town, I’m sure we’ll be pleased with the results. I will try to be patient and avoid shaking my fist at my fellow drivers! Be careful out there.

Treat: I’ve bought several hundred pieces of candy in anticipation of the parade of ghosts, ghouls, and Disney princesses that will soon be knocking on my door. I still enjoy seeing all the costumes, even though my two princesses are off doing their own things. The Oakdale Recreation Department and the Oakdale Kiwanis Club invite everyone to the free Halloween Parade on October 31st. As it does every year, the parade will start shortly after 4:30 pm from Gilbert Avenue, next to the High School. Don’t forget the free hot dogs afterward at the Community Center.

Treat: The Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Community Service, and Junior Achievement Awards. Applications are available at the Chamber office or on the Chamber website and are due December 1, 2017.

Trick: What is the trick to electing the right candidate for the OID board? Make sure you are registered, do your homework on what the important issues are in our district, ask the opinions of those you respect, and cast an informed vote!

Treat: The Chamber of Commerce and Femme Bricoleuse invite you to a mixer Thursday, October 19th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Come on out to meet the business owners and see what this downtown shop is all about. Stay abreast of Chamber mixers and other happenings by becoming a member of the Chamber’s Meetup group at https://www.meetup.com/Oakdale-Business-Meetup/.

Trick: Often, small and local businesses find that getting your name out there and being seen is tricky business. In today’s environment, the traditional modes of advertising, such as print and radio spots, don’t seem to be enough. Consider devoting a small portion of your advertising budget to your Chamber membership, and allow the Chamber to be a partner in your outreach efforts. The Chamber’s many events offer opportunities for event sponsorship, such as the Summer Concert in the Park Series, the Chocolate Festival, the Golf Tournament, and many other events, as well as the opportunity to get face time with consumers and other business owners.

I hope you are able to enjoy the end of the fall season without too much trickery. See you around town!


Message from the Chamber President, John Lane

Another August is upon us, so as the students head back to school and the dust settles from the busy summer, we turn our focus to readying our rakes for the fall and getting back to work (did we ever really stop?). The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce remains busy doing what it does, which is helping to create a strong local economy by connecting businesses, engaging the community, and promoting the City of Oakdale.

I’m always interested in reading the Oakdale Chamber referrals in this column every month. Residents and visitors alike tend to think of the local Chamber of Commerce first when seeking information about a community. The Oakdale Chamber fields quite a few phone calls and walk-in inquiries every day regarding a variety of topics: What’s happening in Oakdale? Where is a good place to eat? Where should I stay? What is there to do around here? You got any maps? In addition to calling or visiting the Chamber office, inquiring minds can also visit the Chamber’s website, www.oakdalechamber.com, which includes a searchable business directory, business resources, a community calendar, a history of the City of Oakdale, relocation information, a visitor’s section with nearby activities, and more. In the next few paragraphs, I would like to highlight a few of the ongoing things the Chamber is doing to fulfill its mission statement.

Concerts in the Park: There are still two weeks left in the free Friday Concert in Park series in Dorada Park, which runs through August. Bring your lawn chair and picnic (no glass is allowed) and enjoy a fun, family-friendly, concert in the park! Music begins at 6:30 p.m. Thank you to our business and individual sponsors!

Taste of Oakdale: The Chamber of Commerce presents the 9th Annual Taste of Oakdale at the Gene Bianchi Community Center on Tuesday, August 29th, from 5 pm to 8 pm. This is always a fun event where you can sample local restaurants, caterers, microbrews, wines, bakery items, and more. You do not necessarily need to be a Chamber member to participate as a vendor, and the Chamber can usually squeeze in last minute participants, so give the Chamber a call and show off what you do best!

Oakdale Chamber Golf Classic: September 11th is the date of the 4th Annual Oakdale Chamber Golf Classic at the Oakdale Golf & Country Club. The tournament is open to all players in a fun, skill-optional, 4-Person Scramble. But you don’t need to sign up as a foursome; any single, pair, or trio can enter and the Chamber will match you up to fill out a foursome. Or, join your golfing friends for dinner after the round and listen to them regale about that long putt that should have gone in except for that one “ball mark” in front of the cup. Yeah, right!

Strategies for Business Success: This is a nine week Monday evening course that starts September 18th; classes are held at the Oakdale Chamber conference room from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  This low-cost class is taught by business consultants in conjunction with the Valley Sierra SBDC Small Business Development Center and will touch on business management topics designed to improve the bottom line of your business.

And finally, a thank you to all our members, which include not only large, small, and micro businesses, but also interested individuals. It is always an honor for me, as President of the Chamber, to sign a Certificate of Appreciation to a Member that reaches a milestone year of participation with the Chamber. I recently signed such thank you certificates for Juarez, Zarate & Company, CPA’s (20 years) and Hi-Tech Emergency Vehicle Services, Inc. (30 years). In addition, this being the 100th anniversary of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, I will have the distinct honor of thanking A.L. Gilbert Company for 100 years of membership! I need to get back to work, but I will see you around town!



Taste of Oakdale is Good Marketing

TO Floor 209 Magazine AdThe Taste of Oakdale is a marketing opportunities for those in the food and beverage industry. It’s an opportunity to showcase your products and give the public a chance to taste just how amazing your product is. The Oakdale Chamber wants to promote the industry and encourage citizens to Shop Oakdale. We try to make the vendor fees cover expenses of the booth and facility and spend our dollars wisely on marketing and promoting the event. We ask the guest to rate the best beverage, favorite dessert, favorite restaurant and best overall. It is great bragging rights for your business along with a plaque to hang showcasing your title for years to come.

This year we have added radio to our previous advertising efforts. KATM Country will have a live remote starting at 4pm to 6pm which will help capture the audiences on their way home from work and help redirect them to our event. We will continue to advertise in the Oakdale Leader, Modesto Bee, Oakdale Direct Magazine and other publications. We will continue to use social media and direct email in a grassroots effort to promote the event.

If you own a restaurant or catering service that provides food to the residents of Oakdale then you qualify to be a vendor. As a member of the Chamber you qualify for a discounted rate. Vendors are to provide a selection of small “tastes” of your food and beverage. You can offer as many as you like in quantities that work for you. Appetizers, main entrees and desserts provide guests an array of unique tasting experiences that will entice them into your location for more. Join the Oakdale Chamber Taste of Oakdale as a vendor today!

Download the 2016 Vendor Application

CPAs and Loan Officers

Allison Carroll – Academy Mortgage Corporation

Most people dread doing their taxes and applying for a home loan to about the same degree. Let’s face it, between the IRS and current lending regulations imposed largely by the Federal Government, it can be a complicated process. As you get ready to do your taxes this year, it’s important to let your accountant know if you think there’s even the slightest possibility you might get a home loan to purchase or refinance a home. This is a great time of year to let your loan officer and accountant collaborate to make sure both are helping you move towards your personal and financial goals.

Here’s a partial list of common aspects of your taxes that you and your accountant might not think twice about, but your loan officer sure will: unreimbursed employee expenses; losses or low earnings on rental income, farm income, partnerships, corporations or self-employed income; writing off interest and property taxes on a home you do not own.

None of us wants to pay taxes, and our accountants know that. The problem right now is that the government is involved in almost every loan we originate. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, USDA, and FHA loans are all government-sponsored entities to some degree. I always tell my clients that if you don’t pay taxes on the income, the government doesn’t want to let you use it to qualify for a loan and substantiate your ability to repay a mortgage. Paper loss or not, it’s that cut and dry.

It’s important to use local accountants and lenders, so they can work together to help you. If you call a loan officer and, in order to issue a pre-approval, they simply ask you what you make instead of asking for documentation so they can calculate your income, hang up the phone. You’ve reached a drive-thru attendant, not a loan officer! A good, local lender will be thorough to make sure you have realistic expectations about the loan process and the amount of your pre-approval. Your local loan officer will be invested in your personal success, helping you reach your goals, and sustainable lending. We’re members of the community and we love helping our neighbors, and so does your accountant. After all, we’ll be seeing you and your kids next week at the grocery store.

Why should you join a Chamber of Commerce?

by Mary Guardiola, CEO

Do you want to grow your business? Being part of a chamber should be part of your business plan. As a Chamber member you are part of a larger group of business owners to get advice, network, support local community and grow your business. Chambers are for you even if you don’t typically do business with people in Stanislaus County. You can meet those that export products, make equipment, have access to business machinery, and you never know who the person you meet today will know.

All Oakdale Chamber members have a website link from the Oakdale Chamber website. This is one of the top landing pages for all visitors www.oakdalechamber.com.  This link will help boost your internet rankings. Networking and partnerships is about building relationships. People want to do business with people they know. Your goal is to increase the contacts you make as being a Chamber member and the relationships you build because of the Chamber. Attend when you can Chamber sponsored events to start building those relationships. Being part of a smaller community means those you meet at Chamber events are not all business owners but residents. Those residents need your products or services also. The Oakdale Chamber is a resource for your business: HR compliance products, marketing, training, networking, community information. Use the resources available to you.

If you would like more information about Oakdale Chamber benefits and investment please call the office 847-2244 our qualified staff would be happy to meet with you.

National Groundwater Awareness Week

by John P. Lane, Lee & Piece, Inc.

Groundwater is the water that soaks into the soil from rain or other precipitation and moves downward to fill cracks and other openings in beds of rocks and sand. Of all the freshwater in the world (excluding ice caps), 95 percent is groundwater. Groundwater is essential to the health and well-being of humanity and the environment. Whether you’re on a public water system or a private well, everyone has a vested interest in protecting this vital resource.

During an average year, groundwater represents 38 percent of the total water supply for the State of California. During dry years, groundwater contributes up to 46 percent or more of the statewide annual supply and serves as a critical buffer against the impacts of drought (California Department of Water Resources). Further, irrigation, which is the lifeblood of our agricultural industry, comprises about 80 percent of the total groundwater used (US Geological Survey 2009 report).

March 8-14, 2015 is National Groundwater Awareness week, which spotlights one of the world’s most important resources.

“Time to schedule your annual water well checkup!”

Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup before the peak water use season begins, according to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

Why is it a good idea to have my water well checked annually?

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water. Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. NGWA further recommends you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or when the system is serviced.

Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, but with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order. A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include a flow test to determine system output and water levels, well equipment inspection to assure it is sanitary, and a test of your water for general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.) and for specific contaminants such as coliform bacteria, nitrates, heavy metals, or other local contaminants of concern.

Well owners should also consider the following tips:

  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a “clean” zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.
  • Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, and chemical storage areas.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.

A convenient source for a broader understanding of our groundwater can be found at www.wellowner.org, a Web service of NGWA. Contact the Oakdale Chamber Commerce, or browse our on-line Business Directory, for a referral to a Chamber member specializing in wells and/or pumps.

The continuing drought condition in California has intensified local discussions related to our groundwater, surface water, and related regulation. The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend the 42nd Annual Ag Scholarship Luncheon at the Gene Bianchi Community Center on Thursday, March 19, 2015, where the topic will be “Three Major Threats to Water Rights.”

Tips for your business: Being found on Google

From the mail bag comes a question from one our members:

I often get cold called by a company that claims to be Google. They want a lot of money to get me in Google search results. What should I do?

We’ve heard continued reports recently of an increase of these types of calls. We reached out to Justin Ribeiro, Chamber president and a Google Developer Expert at Chamber member Stickman Ventures Inc.

“Google doesn’t cold call businesses and they do not guarantee search placement.” said Justin via email. “Any company claiming to be able to place you at the top of Google results for money should not be trusted; Google specifically addresses this in their documentation for webmasters.”

What should a business do to help be found on Google?

“Google has a substantial amount of free resources for businesses and taking just a little bit of time to go through the steps goes a long way to be better found by customers on the web.”

One of the free resources that you can use today is Google My Business, a site setup to walk you through the steps to be better found on the web.

Want all the information in a one page printable sheet to take? We’ve created a Google Doc (Link: Tip Being Found on Google) that you can print and read to get started.