Editor's note: Until the end of 2011, Patch will be republishing some of the year's biggest news stories in Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo's first independent chamber of commerce is one step closer to being in business after a new interim government was voted in Tuesday afternoon at .
About 30 local business people met to discuss the formation of the city's first organized business presence in three years and to elect its leaders.
When the economy tanked in 2008, the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce disbanded its local chamber affiliates. The affiliates represented six Orange County cities, including Mission Viejo.
"From a budgetary point of view, it wasn't working out," former Mission Viejo Chamber President Dennis O'Connor said.
The regional chamber focuses on advocacy and education, working with governments in the interest of local businesses, O'Connor said.
The local affiliates once held ribbon-cuttings and mixers that gave businesses a way to interact and make their interests known. The new chamber's board hopes to restore those opportunities.
Cross put the first $100 toward the formation of a new chamber in a bank account provided by .
The city got behind the idea, with Mayor Dave Leckness moderating the first meeting of the new chamber. With just 24 hours notice, a group of about 30 business owners, managers and other professionals met to form the new group, which will keep its interim government through 2011.
"I think the marketplace in Mission Viejo has, is and can be a powerful institution," said Karin Krawiec, who owns with her husband Keith.
Krawiec was elected president of the interim board.
Board member Steve Fredriksen, a financial service professional, said the gathered board seemed enthusiastic. He said the formation of a new chamber was a hopeful sign.
"Sometimes you don't know what you've got till it's gone," he said.
There's a need for a local chamber separate from the regional group, said Wendy Bucknum, who serves on the SOCRCC board.
"Mission Viejo is traditional and its business owners are in it for the long haul," Bucknum said.
In addition to Krawiec, here are the members of the interim board:
- Secretary: Janet Kunst, owner of 411 Marketing Solutions
- Vice President: Frank Priori, manager at
The position of treasurer will be decided in a future meeting.