Chamber looking to adopt businesses in Slave Lake

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Shortly after raising just short of $7,000 at its silent auction to aid businesses in Slave Lake, the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce has come up with another way its members and other local businesses can assist those companies affected by the wild fires that recently divested the town of 7,000.

Chamber President Sheldon Fingler said a lot of attention has been necessarily focused on the residents of Slave Lake, but what occurred to him shortly after the fires hit the town was that the one thing being missed was the town’s businesses. It was a situation felt the local business organization could rectify.

“Sometimes the person’s business is their job. Sometime the business is other people’s jobs,” Fingler said of those businesses and people put out of work. “One business could affect 10 families, could affect 20 families. The reality is they’ve got to get back on track as soon as possible.”

Those thoughts lead to Fingler coming up with another way local businesses could help Slave Lake businesses – providing them with the tools and equipment they need to get back to work. It is something Fingler will be leading the charge with in his own business.

“I own an event company and a DJ company, so my goal is to start contacting the DJs and the event companies in Slave Lake,” Fingler said. “Knowing they’ll have commitments in other communities and they may not have the ability to do it. They may have lost all their equipment. They may have lost their house. They just need the ability to continue with business.”

Fingler said he has a warehouse full of equipment he is going to open the doors on to try and assist another company in getting back on track as quickly as possible.

“Everyone’s got insurance, but sometimes that takes forever,” he said. “We want to help them with their immediate concerns.”

The Chamber president said the same could be done by other local businesses – mechanics, plumbers, home builders and others. “We’ve got the ability to effectively help somebody make a living and help them carry on other people’s families,” Fingler said. “So we want to do that.”

A game plan will be put in place between the two Chambers to quickly develop a web site and create an e-mail list to get the word out to businesses needing help.

Alberta Chamber of Commerce President and CAO Ken Kolby is impressed with the efforts of the Morinville Chamber to help their counterparts in Slave Lake.

“Morinville chamber is way out ahead of every chamber in the province,” he said. “They were the first ones to announce a relief effort as a business organization, and we’re just absolutely proud of what they’ve organized. Sheldon’s idea of picking out a business that you can adopt, that you can share tools with – that’s just a fantastic idea. It’s all about business continuation.”

Businesses needing help or those looking to offer it can contact Jaye Parrent at the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce at 780-939-9462 or Sheldon Fingler at 780-975-6152.

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