With a cool breeze of fall in the air and sizzling tacos from Kon Tiki Taco greeting guests outside Lost Parrot Café on Huntington Drive, the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce gathered Oct. 2 for their 4th annual installation dinner to welcome a new board member, install re-elected board members, and celebrate businesses marking their 10th anniversary as members.
The Chamber was formed in 2004 and is led by a volunteer board of directors who serve 2-year terms.
Newly elected to the board as a director is Camille DePedrini, owner of the women’s clothing boutique Camille. Originally hailing from New Jersey, DePedrini has lived in South Pasadena for 20 years and shared that the “small-town feeling” of the city was an important factor in her choosing to put down roots and establish her business here. As a store owner, she said she admires the mix of commerce within the city and how people engage with one another.
“I’m always interested in how businesses work and how they’re really serving the community,” DePedrini told The Review. “Our business is so much based on how we are really serving the community, what we’re doing that’s really working and how are other businesses doing that. I think it’s fascinating to see the mix of what happens.”
Seven of the board members who were re-elected on Tuesday and recognized for their service to the community include Director Andrew Berk of Avison Young Commercial Real Estate,
Director Jeffrey Burke of BurkeTriolo Studio, Chair Sam Hernandez of Paradise General Contractors, Immediate Past Chair Jamie Khuu Inzunza of Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta, Director Alison Rainey-Bell of Hillsides and Director Dr. Karla Thompson of SmileHaus Orthodontics.
Mid-term members installed and up for reelection next year include Director Ed Chen of Athens Services; Vice President of Economic Development Steven Dahl, AIA, of Dahl Architects, Inc.; Vice President of Membership Michele Downing of Pacific Union Real Estate; Treasurer Tom Field of Thomas R. Field American Antiques; Director Jason Mak of Golden Oaks Senior Apartments; Director Elda Marquez of Real Estate Heaven; Director Kris Morrish of The Kutzer Company; and Secretary John Vandercook of Reimagine Your Home.
The chamber additionally recognized businesses marking their 10th anniversary as members, presenting them with framed certificates. State Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Ca, also presented certificates from his 25th district office. The businesses include All Lady Locksmith, Carrie Adrian with Cuban & Latin American Art, David Morales State Farm Insurance, Right at Home and Sew Joe Stitch Lounge.
Laurie Wheeler, president and CEO of the chamber, credited the board for their hard work and commitment to the community of South Pasadena. She said that all but one board member, who was moving out of town, selected to be re-elected.
“We have a lot of longevity which is great because it really helps stabilize the community, stabilize the chamber, and shows that people care about the community,” Wheeler said. “We just have a really cohesive board that is really is supportive of the community and businesses within the community.”
She noted their dedication to The Eclectic as well, South Pasadena’s music festival and arts crawl. An estimated 10,000 people from across Southern California attended the event earlier this year, according to organizers.
“This group of individuals is one of the hardest working groups I’ve ever heard of,” said Wheeler. “A lot of boards just come to meetings. This board is representative of thousands, literally thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of volunteer work without there would be absolutely no way we could do The Eclectic Music Festival because they’re here doing volunteers, doing websites, doing food and beverage, doing everything they can possibly imagine and then some.”