News & Updates

RECAP: Cross-Border Business Forum in Tijuana

On October 26, the Chamber brought over 50 business representatives to Tijuana for its second Cross-Border Business Forum. The event was held at Club de Empresarios Tijuana, the city’s most exclusive meeting venue for high-profile entrepreneurs in Baja California.

The meeting opened with a panel discussion, which included cross-border business experts:

  • Erik Caldwell, Director of Economic Development, City of San Diego
  • Paola Avila, VP of International Business Affairs & Leadership Development, San Diego Regional Chamber
  • Kenn Morris, President & CEO, Crossborder Group, XBorder Americas LLC, and
  • Alfonso Gonzalez, Partner, CIR Law Offices International.

The panel experts reviewed current data on cross-border commerce (including workforce demographics, infrastructure, and border wait times) and the actions their respective organizations were taking in order to promote economic development across the border.

After the panel introduction, Forum attendees were invited to ask questions and discuss issues concerning cross-border commerce. Many topics were addressed, but the conversation centered on four major themes:

  • Binational education, workforce development and promotion of STEM education in Baja
  • Border infrastructure and wait times, including: advocacy from the private sector, public/private partnerships (such as the Cross Border Xpress), and strategies to enhance border innovation
  • VISAS and immigration reform
  • Growth opportunities in the region

The next Cross-Border Business Forum will be held Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at the San Diego Regional Chamber.

For photos of the event, visit our album on Facebook.

Member Spotlight: Brigante Private Label

brigante-private-label-logo-01These days it’s all about craft. The modern consumer is tired of the big brands and is looking for something new. Whatever the size of your business now you can bring an air of sophistication to your menu that was previously only available to elite institutions. As an exclusive producer of private label wines, Brigante Private Label can help you create a customer experience that’s as unique as it is gratifying.

crepes-and-corks-cabernet-01-02Brigante Private Label addresses the needs of restaurants and retailers that are tired of navigating the ever-expanding wine industry to identify brands and labels that set them apart from the competition. Why spend precious time and resources trying to hit a moving target instead of investing in your own brand?

Brigante Private Label produces exquisite California wines sold exclusively under private label programs, to bring small-batch craft wine to the menus of restaurants large and small. Bringing wine directly from the winery to the retailer eliminates marketing and distribution costs with no sacrifice of quality. We will help you bring world-class wine to your menu, improve your margins, and invest in yourself.

Unlike other wineries that do private label programs as an afterthought, using odd-lot wines that they don’t want to put their own name on, private label wine is the core of our business. Our priority is producing the best wine possible regardless of whose name is on the bottle.

saiko-sushi_chardonnay-05-1Our turnkey program will allow you to sell premium California wines at competitive prices under your own private label. We take care of everything from the legal filings, label design, and delivery to make the process completely straightforward and simple.

Through our program you’ll bring new meaning to the term “house wine” by offering your customers better wine at the same prices. You’ll increase customer satisfaction and loyalty while improving margins. All without any upfront investment and with very low case minimums. Simply buy wine as you do now, but buy better wine under your own custom label.

San Diego Considers Short-Term Rentals

The Chamber was present for a special hearing at the San Diego City Council regarding significant regulation of short term rentals, including popular companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Representatives from the Chamber staff testified, asking that any motion impacting innovation and business in San Diego be vetted, discussed and properly considered before being applied.

The City Council requested the Mayor’s office to research the cost of staff to regulate and oversee short-term rentals in the city and return it to Council.

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2017 Breeders’ Cup Comes to San Diego

Aaaaaand away they go!!!!

Those are the words everyone will be waiting for when San Diego hosts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at the legendary Del Mar Racetrack on Nov. 3-4, 2017. This two-day, $28 million extravaganza attracts the best horses, trainers, and owners from across the globe. It has also become the unofficial end and culmination of the thoroughbred-racing season, often with the Breeders’ Cup Classic being the deciding factor in Horse of the Year.

San Diego will benefit from all that the Breeders’ Cup brings with it:

  • Over $65 million in local economic impact
  • Expected attendance of nearly 95,000
  • 65 percent of attendees are out of town visitors spending an average of $169 per person per day

art-of-the-horseIn addition to the race itself, the Breeders’ Cup Host Committee is developing the “Breeders’ Cup 2017 Festival”, a week-long celebration from October 28 to November 4. The Festival will entertain guests and the local community and provide opportunities to engage local businesses. As a special part of the Festival, the Breeders’ Cup Host Committee is introducing “Art of the Horse: 2017 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar”.

More Than Just An Art Event

The “Art of the Horse” Exhibit and Auction is a production of the Breeders’ Cup 2017 Host Committee:

  • Partnering with sponsors, artists, merchants, and local communities with the common goal of enriching the 2017 Breeders’ Cup experience
  • Fundraising mechanism benefiting Festival events and other charitable organizations to promote our community
  • Full-scale fiberglass horse sculptures will be decorated by local artists and distributed in highly visible locations throughout the Greater San Diego Area
  • The Sculptures are life-sized artistic reproductions of the Torrie Horse used on the Breeders’ Cup Trophy and will feature artwork and designs specific to the Breeders’ Cup, the Thoroughbred racing community, local San Diego culture or other relevant themes.

There are various opportunities for San Diego businesses to get involved in the “Art of the Horse” and be part of the Breeders’ Cup race action with sponsorships starting at $7,500.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, click here.


For the full Breeders’ Cup economic impact report, click here

Pure Water Moves Forward at San Diego City Council

On October 25, the San Diego City Council approved an accelerated timeline and full environmental analysis of the Pure Water municipal water recycling program. The Chamber remains extremely supportive of Pure Water, which will make essential strides in ensuring our region has a safe and reliable drinking supply during uncertain drought conditions.

By 2035, three water recycling facilities will be built, producing around one-third of the City’s drinkable water. The Chamber testified in support of the program’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) which was considered at the Council meeting. We were joined by Coastkeeper, Coast Law Group, and other groups in support of the project. The Council’s vote to support Pure Water’s EIR was unanimous, and is expected to produce 30 million gallons a day of recycled water by 2021.

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Vote! Vote! Vote!

voteWith Election Day just two Tuesdays away, now’s the time to ensure you have the necessary tools to make your voice heard.

To simplify this process, the Chamber has launched a new webpage to help you find all the voting related information you’ll need to cast your vote November 8. Check your registration status, find your polling place, and make your voice heard!

Get started now by visiting

Business Forecast: Outlook Among County Businesses Holds Steady

red-tickerThe following content is from the October edition of the Business Forecast newsletter, sponsored by Silvergate Bank. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

Business Forecast Highlights:
  • No significant change in outlook, as BOI sits at 16.8
  • Government-related challenges are sapping optimism
  • Home and garden, hospitality, and transportation sectors are pessimistic
  • 10 percent of businesses see the minimum wage increase as their main new challenge
  • Few businesspeople perceive the workload in their industry as severe
  • Nearly half believe a 30-hour workweek would hurt the bottom line

Majority view their industry as overworked and say 30-hour workweek would hurt bottom line

After testing a new low point last month, county businesses show little change in their optimism for the last quarter of the year. The Business Outlook Index in this month’s Silvergate Bank-sponsored Business Forecast rises just about a point to 16.8. This shows that San Diego’s business community continues to be moderately optimistic about its near-term prospects because the BOI ranges from -100 to +100, with zero being neutral.

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From a long-term perspective, the manufacturing sector has picked up steam over the last year. On the other hand, long-building pressure on maintenance firms and hospitality/restaurants has pushed their optimism lower during the past year. Optimism among small firms (2 to 10 employees) has also ebbed significantly over the past year.

In the short term, businesses in the transportation and automotive segment dropped into negative territory. The segment had recently been bouncing along in the mid-teens but the current BOI is at -12. Home and garden businesses as well as hospitality have also been hit particularly hard this month, which means three major sectors are now in negative territory.

The problems for transportation and home and garden companies generally stem from concerns about revenues and a pullback in terms of hours they will offer their employees. It’s not that they will curtail hiring, but more businesspeople in these firms see revenue deteriorating than improving during the next three months and they’ll pare back work hours.

The city of San Diego’s hourly minimum wage goes up (again) to $11.50 in January, while elsewhere in the County the minimum wage rises to $11. One out of every 10 businesses currently says these mandated increases are their main challenge. Including other regulations, 27 percent see their challenge coming from government, while 26 percent see the challenges coming from business conditions or their competitors.

This is important because it underscores the negative impact challenges stemming from Washington, Sacramento, or City Hall can have on business optimism. Businesses seem to deal fine with marketplace challenges like staffing, rising costs, growing pains or even increased competition. But those who see government as the challenge are down about their prospects, reporting a barely positive BOI of 2, while the rest are confidently humming along at a cheery BOI of 22.

Those facing government-related issues have a negative outlook on revenue, business conditions in their industry, and the number of hours they will be offering employees. Removing government barriers – like the minimum wage increase – would go a long way to improving the overall business outlook.

This month’s survey also touched on work-life balance asking about industry workload and impact of a 30-hour workweek. Few respondents perceive the workload in their industry as severe, although most regard workers as being at least somewhat overworked.

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By industry, retail is one segment that clearly is not overworked. None in the retail industry rate the employees around them as overworked and 63 percent don’t think folks in retail are even somewhat overworked. Education, the media, and transportation are three other industries which do not have a significant number of very overworked employees, but none of them are quite as laid back as retailers.

When it comes to switching to a 30-hour week – like online retailer Amazon is testing – relatively few businesspeople believe such a change would help their bottom line. Only 15 percent feel it would and most of them do not see it making a big difference. On the other hand, 47 percent believe shortening hours would hurt the bottom-line.

There is a big difference between small and larger firms on this issue. The micro firms with only one employee tend to see a 30-hour workweek as having no significant impact, and those who do believe there would be an effect are basically split between it helping or hurting. Most larger firms, however, see the 30-hour workweek as deleterious.

Interestingly, firms challenged by minimum wage increases are not so quick to dismiss the 30-hour week. Twenty-eight percent of them see that possibility as actually helping their bottom line. Although 38 percent anticipate it would hurt profits, that perception is far less severe than it is for the rest of the business community. It’s apparent that some of those affected by state-mandated increases see reducing hours as a way out of wage inflation.

UFC Gym Celebrates a Re-Grand Opening

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Last month, UFC GYM celebrated the Re-Grand Opening of their Mission Valley facility highlighted by a ribbon cutting featuring UFC Hame of Famer Matt Hughes (cutting ribbon). Hughes was joined by Mission Valley team members, UFC GYM President Adam Sedlack (blue shirt), and Chamber Ambassadors Shane Beard (FASTSIGNS Mira Mesa) and Chris Holloway (Infrastructure Productions).

Member Spotlight: Online Trading Academy

online-academy-2Online Trading Academy‘s roots can be traced back nearly 20 years, as one of the largest trading floors in the U.S., with 180 traders averaging half a billion dollars in daily transactions. To improve results, managers, and the top traders offered daily coaching sessions in how to trade more consistently and profitably. In 2001, the Academy shifted its focus to solely provide training and education to anyone who wanted the skills to be in the market.

online-academyFrom a single location in Irvine, CA, today we’ve grown to 40 campuses worldwide, including one right here in the Sorrento Valley. We now have a community of over 250,000 regular investors, just like you, that have learned how to be in the markets with the skill and confidence of a professional trader.

Students come to Online Trading Academy seeking answers to these kind of questions:

  • If trained and educated, could I do better than my advisor does?
  • I want to learn how to control my investments with consistency. Is Online Trading Academy the right fit for me?
  • I’m nervous that we’re near all-time highs again, and I’m wondering what I should do if we’re about to repeat 2000 or 2008?
  • Even with a smaller account, is trading for monthly income possible?
  • What can I do with my old 401(k)? Can I learn to protect, invest and or trade in my IRA – myself?

downloadOur on-location courses are geared toward individual investors or traders, novice or experienced, who want to learn how to use the same tools and professional trading techniques as the professional traders on Wall Street. Whatever you may need, our classes cover a spectrum of trading styles and asset classes, from Short Term Trading, Swing Trading, Position Trading, and Investment Theory for Stocks, Exchange Traded Funds, Options, Futures (Eminis & Commodities) and Currencies. Every student is provided a trade-plan blueprint customized for their goals, account types and size as well as available time.

San Diego Chamber business owners and any of their employees are invited to come out for a tour and a FREE 3-hour class. You will learn why the financial markets behave the way they do and how we’ve trained our students for the last 20 years to navigate them successfully. Regardless of what you are looking for, even if your just curious for now, come out and see what is possible.

Chamber members, CLICK HERE for more details.

POLICY UPDATE: Are you ready for Election Day?


We’ve launched a new webpage to make voting as easy as possible. Visit to check voter registration, find polling locations, vote early, and more.

sandiegoFinal Jobs Strategy Dashboard Released
Our final Regional Jobs Strategy dashboard is here, and it’s a doozy. Learn how other metros stack up against San Diego’s standard of living.

(Spoiler alert: They don’t.)




Cross-Border Business Forum – Oct. 26
Need guidance on growing your brand in a cross-border market? Don’t worry, we have experts for that.

Join us for the first Forum in Tijuana at the Club de Empresarios for an exclusive meeting on binational marketing strategies.

UBER Tijuana discount codes available at registration.


TAKE ACTION: 7th & Market Development
A project for a hotel, affordable housing, and a neighborhood market downtown will go before San Diego’s City Council next Tuesday.

Urge your Councilmember to support Cisterra’s 7th & Market project to ensure San Diego gets the housing and commercial development it needs.


dc-stuffRECAP: Chamber Mission to Washington, D.C.
Last month, we brought 130 members to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of San Diego business.

Get our full summary of policy highlights, including homelessness, transportation, and our breakfast with the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S.

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