The new executive director of the Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce sits back in her spacious office above SpeeDee Printers and Office Products and reflects on the various twists and turns that brought her to this spot.
It’s been two years since Erika Magnuson-Ford, 28, moved north from Vancouver with her partner. She worked for a time as assistant to former chamber director Carol Fielding before filling the position when Fielding retired.
Before coming to Terrace, Magnuson-Ford taught English as a second language in Vancouver and also in her home town of Winnipeg, and worked for Parkinson’s Society and Red Cross.
She’s even done photography work and spent a year in Scotland where she sold kilts.
Now at the chamber, she has room to spread her wings in a different setting, and hopes to bring her personal touch to the job.
For some chamber events like the Business Expo, Magnuson-Ford wants to just replicate the success already achieved, while other items are getting a rethink.
“I’m not going to touch an inch of it,” she says of the annual Business Expo.
However The Business Excellence Awards will see some changes, such as relocation to a new venue.
“The biggest new part is the venue, we are actually going to be holding it at the Sportsplex which is quite cool,” she said.
The chamber will continue to offer various services to the 250 businesses it represents in town, as well as benefits.
“The chamber is the voice of business in Terrace. We are here to lobby and advocate for the business communities,” she said.
“There are benefits with the BC Chamber of Commerce, so there are discounts through Staples and a couple different fuel companies… We also have merchant benefits and group benefits insurance plans, and also payroll assistance that really helps out, especially the smaller businesses who don’t have that set up.”
Magnuson-Ford says she is still learning the history of Terrace business.
“There is a lot of history here, there have been a lot of big ups and downs in the economy for Terrace, in the early 2000s the closure of the sawmills was really, really impacting, and of course we are all hanging on all the LNG.”
Now she thinks the economy is in a bit of a waiting phase and that patience is important.
“We live in the world of instant messaging, get everything to you instantly, have it done now, but sometimes you have to remember, especially the big projects, these will take time.”
She adds that chamber membership includes both large and small businesses.