Published in the August 30 – September 12, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Trina Hineser
While many communities are working hard to grow, San Martin values its rural community and works at preserving it. With many businesses that are principal to its downtown village core, they reflect the character that makes San Martin special. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote the play “A Few Good Men,” and he said, “Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character.”
New San Martin resident, Mark Peebles, moved to this rural area to enjoy the open spaces and calmer lifestyle. Like many residents, he became a member of our local San Martin Neighborhood Alliance to stay informed and help protect the rural community. Last year, SMNA’s Strategic Sub-Committee was looking at ways to enhance the local spirit and charm about our community. As a sub-committee member, Mark brought up a number of ideas, one of which was the forming of a chamber of commerce. Mark suggested, “… we as a group need to project an image that sets San Martin apart from … other communities and why growth here needs to be more controlled in order to protect what is so special about this area that is on the edge of the Silicon Valley.” His concept was, “… the chamber of commerce would be the … welcome wagon and one more voice to protect the rural nature of the community.”
A chamber of commerce is intended to bring a broader section of the community together and provide a place for the business owners to give back to their community and gain support from each other. A chamber of commerce would provide the means for San Martin businesses and local residents to help each other in building a more definitive and stronger identity. With encouragement and support from SMNA, Mark moved forward with this idea.
The San Martin Chamber of Commerce became official April 13, 2017 and holds a 501.3(c) nonprofit status. Its board members are 100 percent volunteer and includes a mixture of business owners and individual residents. These folks have dedicated their time, energy, and in some cases money towards formulating and helping the chamber come to fruition. The current Chamber Board of Directors include: Mark Peebles, President Pro-tem; Jon Mockabee, Earthtech Landscape owner; Elise Brentnall, South Valley Internet, Dave Domenichini, D.R. Domenichini Construction; and volunteers, Wendy Underhill, Marilyn Librers, Connie Ludewig, and Trina Hineser.
Some of the first businesses to join the SMCoC have been Seeker Vineyards, Realty World, The Law Office of Louis F. Doyle, Bay Area Water Trucks, D & A Engineering, Darnella Real Estate, and the San Martin Café.
A chamber of commerce had not previously been pursued in San Martin, as far as we know. However, now our neighboring communities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy will have an opportunity to learn more about the many businesses located here. San Martin has many home-based businesses as well as storefront businesses. The goal of a chamber of commerce is to help businesses develop a stronger presence locally and build a strong community voice, while raising the visibility and image of San Martin.
The SMCoC is non-partisan, non-sectarian, and non-discriminatory with a mission to promote local serving businesses, stimulate the economic and general public interest of the residents, and build strong community bonds. San Martin’s independent and unique identity within Santa Clara Valley will strengthen while working in harmony with individuals, businesses, government and civic organizations, within the greater community. The objective is to protect the small town rural character, which makes San Martin so unique.
Through collaboration of San Martin’s businesses, residents, and nonprofits, these good men and women have successfully formed this chamber of commerce. Upcoming events include; First Chamber Mixer will be held at Clos LaChance Winery from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 12, and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, the Chamber will host the San Martin Summer Picnic at the Lions Club on Murphy Avenue. The hard work and selfless efforts of so many are what builds a community, and is what protects San Martin’s rural heritage. To find out more and to join the San Martin Chamber of Commerce, go to www.SanMartinChamber.org.