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Dark clouds swelling over your business?

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Posted: August 29, 2009 9:10 p.m.
Updated: August 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Is your business teetering on the brink? Wondering how you'll make payroll next month? Considering layoffs and trying to picture how you'll survive without staff?

Then come to California Institute of the Arts on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

No, not for a concert or art show to take your mind off your problems - but rather to deal with them, head-on.

It's the first-ever SCV Economic Town Hall Meeting, and if you're a local business operator, you will want to attend.

Several of the Santa Clarita Valley's top business leaders will be on hand to share their expertise and insight into business survival in these difficult times.

"The economy is No. 1 on everyone's list of concerns," said John Shaffery, chairman of the SCV Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, the event organizer.

"Our committee saw a lack of factual information about where things really stand in Santa Clarita," Shaffery said in a statement.

"This meeting will provide business owners with an inside look at our local economy - information they can use to move forward in these challenging times."

Headliners include a star-studded cast of successful business executives ranging from Jim Hicken, president of the Bank of Santa Clarita, to RE/MAX Realtor Neal Weichel, to Craig Peters of CB Richard Ellis, our valley's 800-pound gorilla of commercial real estate.

"Having these three professionals come together to share their expertise and insights is a unique opportunity," Shaffery said.

"Together, Jim, Neal and Craig will provide a complete picture of the Santa Clarita economy."

Shaffery, co-owner of the SCV's biggest law firm, will moderate a panel discussion that includes real-estate developer Jim Backer, Newhall Land and Farming's Marlee Lauffer, shopping-center consultant Charles Gill and small-business owner Kevin Leahy (Candleman).

Rounding out the panel are the Jason Crawford, the city of Santa Clarita's economic development manager; and information-technology gurus Chip Meyer and Joe Messina.

Additional sponsors include The Signal, KHTS AM-1220, the SCV Business Journal, College of the Canyons and its Small Business Development Center, the Valley Industrial Association and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

In short, it's got the makings of the economic summit of the decade and the backing of enough major players to make it representative of the entire valley - and informative enough for every one of our valley's 11,000 businesses to get something meaningful out of it.

If you think you already have all of the answers, fine. We wish you luck.

But if you have even a smidgen of uncertainty about the future, then come and participate. No business is too big or too small to gain from this.

And these panelists are good people. Any one of them would be happy to address your individual concerns, either during the event or at a later date.

Seating is limited, reservations are required and you must be 21 or older. Call the SCV Chamber at (661) 702-6977 on Monday or e-mail today to reserve a spot.


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