News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current


Chamber outlook: Buy local in 2024 to help keep region’s community economies strong

In interviews with the North Coast Current and OsideNews, chamber of commerce officials representing Oceanside, Carlsbad and Encinitas expressed a common goal of encouraging residents to support locally owned businesses. (Photo by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash)

With 2024 set in motion, cities will face a new year of economic change. Keeping in touch with your city’s economy matters because it helps foster collective growth. There are many different ways to analyze local economies, but this report focuses on our local chambers of commerce.

Composed of local business owners and entrepreneurs, a community’s chamber of commerce advocates for policies that uplift business growth and local economies. While they are not a governing body, they work closely with city governments to ensure businesses have their needs met.

To understand the relationship between residents, businesses and their local economies, the North Coast Current and OsideNews reached out to the chambers of commerce for Oceanside, Encinitas and Carlsbad.

What can residents do to grow their city’s economy?

Scott Ashton

Scott Ashton, CEO of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce: “It can be summed up in two words: ‘Shop Local.’ It is important that our residents realize the importance of our local small businesses. They contribute immensely to the quality of life that we enjoy here in Oceanside. For many of our younger residents, our small businesses provide their first opportunity at employment. These jobs are critical training grounds for gaining the soft skills needed to succeed in the business world. I encourage our residents to think of shopping locally as making an investment in the future of Oceanside.”

Jess Levy

Jess Levy, communications manager for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce: “As we look into 2024, residents can help grow Carlsbad’s economy by investing their staycation, self-care, entertainment, shopping and dining expenses intentionally. Locally owned brick and mortar shops made up much of last year’s sales tax revenue. Small Business Saturday, and really any day of the week is the perfect time to shop local — some of these businesses that have been around the community for years are in jeopardy of lease affordability and might not make it to 2025. It’s powerful to be able to see your direct impact on the local economy and keep Carlsbad’s community-centric city on the up and up. Now more than ever, Carlsbad needs your support if you want to preserve the unique community-centric beach town we know and love and decrease incoming chain stores.”

Sherry Yardley

Sherry Yardley, CEO of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce: “Residents can play a crucial role in contributing to the growth of Encinitas’ economy. The Chamber runs a campaign around Small Business Saturday in November prioritizing shopping at locally owned stores and dining at local restaurants which we encourage residents to continue year-round. By attending local farmers markets and choosing locally produced goods whenever possible, engaging in the community by attending City Council meetings, and participating and supporting the many events Encinitas has like the upcoming Health and Wellness Expo Feb. 10, State of the City March 21 and our annual Oktoberfest, residents can contribute to the overall well-being and growth of our community.”

What changes should businesses anticipate this year?

Scott Ashton: “It is difficult to tell what our businesses will face in the coming year. If you listen to the news, you hear everything from a deep recession to a soft landing. Either way, I think we need to be prepared for a potential reduction in consumer spending, which would have an impact on many of our small businesses. One thing I have learned about our business community in recent years is that they are an incredibly resilient group. It was inspiring to see how our business owners were able to weather the storm with COVID and its residual impacts. I am confident that they are prepared to face whatever 2024 may throw at them.”

Jess Levy: “You can also expect the 2022 citywide ban on single-use plastic foodware and polystyrene, effective July 2023 being enforced in 2024. Only reusable or compostable will be allowed for both dine-in and takeout. You can see these changes starting already at the Carlsbad (State Street) Farmers Market and local restaurants will feel the pressure.”

Sherry Yardley did not respond to this question.

Want to learn more? 

Following city politics can feel like a drag. Unless you’re already into this stuff, most people don’t have time to go through dense financial documents. And why should they? That’s the job of journalists. But residents should know what’s going on in their neighborhoods, and just 20 minutes of research per week can make a huge difference. So here are a few tips to keep you informed.

Attend city council meetings: Even if you can’t attend in person, these meetings are broadcast live on local channels and uploaded online for anyone to view. You can watch your council members debate important issues that directly affect you.

Contact your leaders: Elected leaders are meant to serve you, and without your input, they can’t properly meet your needs. By calling their office, emailing them or speaking at meetings, you can share your voice on issues that matter.

Support local journalism: Journalism is a public service aimed to inform as many people as possible. Reporters dedicate their lives to breaking down complex topics for readers to understand. Readers can support outlets by paying subscriptions, writing letters to the editors, and reaching out to reporters if they feel something needs to be talked about.

Owen Pratt is a freelance writer in the region.