News & Updates

Ribbon Cutting – The Cravory

Collin Smith aka Cravory Cookie Monster and Jerry Sanders)

The Cravory opened its second location on August 18, 2021 near SDSU’s campus with a Grand Opening performed by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. Jerry and the Chamber team welcomed The Cravory to the College Area District with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Cravory – SDSU is located off El Cajon Blvd in between Montezuma and College. With its flagship store in Point Loma and shipping nationwide, The Cravory is excited to expand to a new community in San Diego.

The Cravory is a gourmet cookie company that was created in 2009 at all the local farmer’s markets in San Diego. Bringing new flavors every week, customers wanted to pick up cookies at a brick and mortar…so they opened the first store in Point Loma in 2014! It has been a whirlwind since then and The Cravory is very excited to have the opportunity to open its 2nd location near SDSU! Please come visit The Cravory – SDSU for 24+ flavors of cookies, 8+ flavors of ice cream, and the best coffee and espresso in town!


Member Spotlight: Caster Properties, A-1 Self Storage

The Caster Group is a family-owned development company specializing in the acquisition, development, construction and management of premier A-1 Self Storage locations throughout California. For over 60 years the Caster family has worked in all aspects of the real estate industry including industrial, residential, retail and beginning in 1983, self storage development and management.  There are over 50 A-1 Self Storage locations throughout California which provide storage solutions to everyone as they offer business storage, personal storage, student storage, car storage and military storage. Whether you need a place for equipment and inventory or you just need to clean out your garage or make space for a home office, A-1 Self Storage has the storage solution you need.

Not only is A-1 Self Storage committed to building and operating the highest quality storage facilities but they are also committed to giving back to the community.  Through Serving Hands International the Caster Group and A-1 Self Storage have offered educational scholarships, medical services, portable classrooms, food and blankets to thousands of families in need in California, Mexico and around the world. 

The mission of the company is to provide the best experience for their customers and one another, effectively give back to the communities around us, and increase the value and profitability of their properties using innovation and excellence in their purchase, development, and operation.   The company looks forward to maintaining a leading role in the storage unit industry in California by offering top quality storage, first-class customer service, and a myriad of facilities in convenient locations.


Census Numbers (Finally) Released

The 2020 census numbers were finally released, kicking off a flurry of efforts on redistricting, but also illuminating how our region has changed. While the state will lose a congressional seat — because of its declining population– San Diego grew by 7 percent and became more diverse. 

The City is now the eighth largest, and the County the fifth largest in the state.

Unemployment Rate Stays Stubborn Locally

In July, San Diego’s unemployment rate clocked in at 6.9 percent, highlighting the frustrating question around why it’s been so hard to fill local job vacancies. The well-documented reasons for people not returning to the workforce, including childcare, extra unemployment benefits, and safety concerns as COVID cases rise, haven’t been able to result in meaningful policy changes to motivate people to come back to work. San Diego’s unemployment rate was slightly higher than the nationwide number, which was 5.7 percent. For context, in July of 2020, the San Diego unemployment rate was 12.3 percent.

Pfizer Vaccine Receives Full FDA Approval

This week, the Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine received full FDA approval for individuals 16 and up. While it was long expected, this approval does trigger the vaccine-mandates that many have said they would apply to their workforce. Some examples include the military, several hospitals, and public school systems.

Upon announcing approval, President Biden encouraged the private sector to adopt more robust vaccine policies. Saying, “if you’re a business leader, a non-profit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that…”

Border State Lawmakers Introduce Border Health Security Act

Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX) led border state lawmakers in introducing the Border Health Security Act to strengthen international cooperation to screen for infectious diseases and help support public health initiatives in border communities. 

The bill would require U.S. members of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission to work with the Canada- United States Pan-Border Public Health Preparedness Council to recommend and implement initiatives that solve border health issues. In addition, border health grants would be authorized to address border issues and for Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance (EWIDS) in the border communities.


Mexico City Summit: August 30 – September 1

In the last few years, we’ve seen significant progress on several of our region’s key priorities like USMCA, the new North American free-trade agreement, solutions to address pollution issues in Tijuana River Valley, and completion of landmark border infrastructure projects. Reaching these milestones is a testament to the power of our region’s longstanding commitment to binational collaboration.

We need all the voices that make up our diverse and dynamic cross-border business community to make a strong, lasting impact. That message is most effective when we have a large, diverse representation of business and community leaders joining us.

Join us for this year’s Mexico City Summit, which provides an opportunity for participants to meet with key federal officials and diverse business industry leaders to discuss the major areas of focus: border infrastructure, transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River, and trade & economic opportunities.

Attendees will also benefit from the opportunity to network during a special in-person reception on August 31 and cultivate strong political and business relationships.

Register now!

Cross Border Travel Update

Canada has reopened its southern border to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers. After almost a year and a half of non-essential travel restrictions at our land ports of entry, the U.S. is the only North American country that continues to enforce restrictions until at least September 21

With northbound waits of up to six hours at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry during the past months, the Chamber continues to urge the administration to lift restrictions that hurt our border community. Chamber staff has also been very active on media outlets stressing how border restrictions and delays continue to economically impact businesses across our region.

In the meantime, the Biden administration is developing a plan to require nearly all foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated. Interagency working groups are working on a policy and implementation process, including the determination of what would be accepted as proof of vaccination and whether all vaccines would be accepted. 

In Mexico, President Lopez Obrador announced that following a phone call with Vice President Harris, the U.S. confirmed the donation of 8.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines will arrive in Mexico in the coming weeks and will contribute to help increase vaccination rates in border communities.

Locally, Mayor Todd Gloria met with Baja’s Secretary of Health to discuss vaccination efforts, reported cases across the region, and a new program to vaccinate migrants in Baja.

Tom Reott Named New U.S. Consul General in Tijuana

The Chamber is pleased to welcome Tom Reott to the region as the new U.S. Consul General in Tijuana, a three-year assignment starting this month. Reott is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with 20 years experience in the Department of State, at both headquarters and overseas. He previously served as Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. In addition to Mexico, Reott has held overseas assignments in Spain, India, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Belgium in the U.S. Mission to the European Union.

We look forward to continued collaboration with the consulate under his leadership. Read more about Tom Reott’s new career in English and Spanish.

Ribbon Cutting – Asterra

Jerry and members of the Chamber team joined over 100 for the recent celebration at the Town and Country for Utilis as they launched their new brand ASTERRA.  On August 5, 2021, they hosted honored guests at a reception where ASTERRA was presented with the inaugural Innovation Award from the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Vice President Heather Collins.

ASTERRA products, such as Recover, lower the cost of finding potable water leaks by using a patented algorithm and satellite-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. It uses reflected signals from a satellite to detect the underground presence of potable water. A staggering 9000M gallons of water are saved every year through ASTERRA solutions, with an average of 3.3 leaks found per day at each subscribing utility.

At the event, Elly Perets, CEO of ASTERRA, spoke about the company’s new brand. He said, “Utilis creates technology that is powerful. This technology is essential. It is a way to look at the earth and help by seeing it in a way that no one else can.” He went on to say, “This technology is used to strengthen infrastructures in the smallest of towns and in the largest of cities. This technology has so great an impact on the terrain of the earth that it needs a new name . . . ASTERRA.”

Together, they marked two great milestones, one is the Innovation Award, and the other is the transition from a leak detection company to a data provider for the greater infrastructure industry.

Click on the link to view a video that was shown at the event.  Follow ASTERRA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Stream the event here.