Our First Initiative
“Our first initiative is called ‘Opening Doors Faster’ to help new businesses in Lompoc get through the permitting process and red tape so that they can open their doors to customers faster. It will be a free guide for new businesses and a constantly-updated section of our website and also a workshop,” explained Joseph Dowdy when asked what the newly-formed Lompoc Independent Business Alliance is going to do. “I believe everyone wants to see more of what Lompoc used to be with more mom-and-pop shops where there are currently orphaned, empty and boarded-up storefronts. One barrier to even thinking of opening a new business here is what we have all seen—waiting for months on end for a new business to open.”
Mr. Dowdy is a former business coach for the Santa Monica College Small Business Development Center and produces e-learning training programs. “The purpose of the Lompoc Independent Business Alliance is to lead using common sense for the common good. To me leadership is to do what no one else is doing,” he stated while discussing the non-profit 501(c)(6) business league. “That’s half our mission and the other half is to take positive action which promotes a positive vision of Lompoc.”
Tim Harrington (right), a management consultant to businesses, and Victor Jordan (left), founder and publisher of the Lompoc Vision are the other two co-founders of the Lompoc IBA. Joseph (center) described how the Lompoc IBA began as an idea over coffee at the South Side Coffee Co. at the end of 2017, “We were the ‘three amigos’ who got this thing started and by the end of winter we were able to bring in a dozen others who form our “founders’ circle” including Chelsea Cochran and Annette Hernandez.”
Joseph noted that Chelsea Cochran is a small business owner and a graduate of the Western Association of Chamber Executives Academy and that Annette Hernandez is the owner of Just 2 Sweet Candy Creations & Events which is a brick-and-mortar storefront business. “We have an incredible brain trust of knowledge and experience; it’s just amazing.”
Our Members Have a Lot to Offer
“One of our folks who said they would be happy to help with the ‘Opening Doors Faster’ initiative is Heather Bedford who worked on a huge 70-page business and relocation guide with the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and the City of Solvang to help businesses that were opening there. There is something like that here now, but what it hasn’t done is it hasn’t made it easier for new businesses when it comes to licensing and permits,” Joseph added with great enthusiasm. “It’s great to know that our town has people who want to help us in our efforts to raise all boats in prosperity.” Heather and her family own Inklings Printing Company in Lompoc and Solvang.
“We have a dozen businesses as members now and we’ll be having elections and a membership drive and our own fundraisers to pay for these ‘Opening Doors Faster’ efforts but our focus right now is on launching a couple great initiatives and establishing a positive track record. We will stay positive as that is our way of doing things. Local businesses are welcome to join for our flat-rate $99 per year at our website right now. We can use all the help we can get from volunteers and from anyone who sees value in what we are doing.”