TEMPLETON — The Templeton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors realize moving forward without a CEO is not ideal, but they believe it is best for everyone they serve — local businesses and community.

In late June, in a letter to members, the chamber board announced its decision to let CEO Jessica Main go. Back in April, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Templeton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors furloughed Main with the hope of bringing her back to move forward on summer events.

Summer came on the calendar, but not much was happening due to COVID-19.

“Like other communities and businesses within Templeton, the Templeton Chamber was also forced to make some hard decisions in response to the economic uncertainty brought about by COVID-19,” said Greg Modica, Chamber Board president, speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors. “The board worked diligently and thoughtfully to assess all options and made a decision that allowed the organization to continue to be a viable and productive Chamber for the community.”

San Luis Obispo has slowly reopened, but large events with gatherings of more than 25 people are still not permitted. The Templeton Chamber of Commerce canceled its popular annual 4th of July celebration and Summer Music in the Park events.

Modica said the board would continue its approach and rely on its ambassadors until the COVID-19 guidelines allow for larger gatherings.

“The Templeton Chamber has a working board, meaning we as a board fully participate in our events; not only do we show up to events, we are the ones that actually work them,” Modica said. “With this Board and the volunteers, we are fortunate that getting great things done on a shoestring is not too difficult.”

While some may think of the CEO as mainly a revenue generator, the board saw Main, her position, and the chamber as much more.

“Of course it was difficult to see Jessica go, we obviously lost a tremendous leader and advocate, but her role was primarily to serve members, not raise funds to ensure we kept a paid staff,” Modica said. “It was the responsible thing to furlough Ms. Main, but we know not everyone sees it that way, and that is OK because, at the end of the day, we as a board know we did the right thing in order to preserve the Templeton Chamber and its future.”

The chamber’s primary role, Modica explained, “is to serve the members, and uniquely in Templeton, the community.” 

Collecting dues and raising funds, Modica added, does allow the chamber to hire dedicated employees to fulfill this promise, “our volunteer Board, ambassadors, and connections in the community are still working to keep businesses informed, advocate with government officials, and hopefully, we will resume a more normal schedule of business programs once things are more certain with the pandemic.”

Unfortunately for the Templeton Chamber of Commerce, not all tax-exempt organizations qualified for COVID-19 government relief assistance. The chamber finds itself relying almost solely on membership dues during a time when many of its member businesses are struggling due to the pandemic’s stay-home orders and reopening guidelines.

“The chamber is and has been open for business, and we’ll continue to be here for our members,” Modica said. “Their pain through this is our pain, and we want them to know that we’re still here — call, write, Instagram — we’re here for them.”

Modica insists the chamber is on solid footing, up to the challenge, and will continue to advocate for its members and the community.

“The dedicated Board, volunteers, and members of the Templeton Chamber will continue to actively advocate for the business community, provide valuable information and resources for your business, and will work to build on our already strong foundation until such time as we can resume our normal activities. Have a problem in your business, call. Have an idea to help others, call. We still want to hear from you and want to help,” Modica said.

For more information on the Templeton Chamber of Commerce, visit www.templetonchamber.com, or call 805-434-1789 (leave a message if someone does not answer).

Getting through this together, Paso Robles