With summer in the rear view mirror, it’s time to give thanks to the Talent Business Alliance’s incredible all volunteer board for a very productive 6 months. I’m so proud to be the volunteer board President serving with a group of diverse people who are so dedicated to Talent’s business recovery. They have each given countless hours to help our community thrive! Eleanor Ponomareff serves on the Talent City Council and is also leading the All-Age Friendly efforts in Talent. Sumesh Bakshi is the owner of Gather Cafe, and generously donated the refreshments for our April kick off event and all volunteer meals for the Harvest Festival. Awna Zegzdryn is the owner of Sweet Beet Station and also hosted and organized TBA’s very well-attended business mixer last month. And Hector Flores is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the City of Talent who also ran point for the city in organizing the Talent Harvest Festival this year. Please join me in thanking them for their generosity in giving their time to make Talent stronger together.
The Talent Business Alliance has always been powered by volunteer steam. Established in 2005 as the Talent Chamber of Commerce by business owners, public officials, and community members, TBA primarily supported businesses through paid dues and organizing fundraising and community events.
The beginning of COVID-19 left the office unstaffed and the Secretary of State expired the organization until this spring (March of 2022). Once TBA was reestablished, the first decision of the board was to change the organization’s tax status to a 501(c)(3), so that TBA could apply for grants rather than requiring membership dues to keep the doors open. TBA revived the state registration and hired an attorney to execute the nonprofit status change with a grant from Pacific Power, and then remodeled, painted, carpeted and furnished the office with a grant from the Talent Urban Renewal Agency.
Since March, the Talent Business Alliance has been applying for grants to support the recovery of Talent’s businesses. We thank Pacific Power, the Talent Urban Renewal Agency, the City of Talent, AllCare Health, Travel Southern Oregon, and all who have generously contributed to our success! We have more applications in progress and we know that we still have a long way to go.
Our mission with grant funds is to increase foot traffic through town in order to help rebuild the customer base for businesses. We have provided Talent businesses with small grants to support programming like pop-up markets, musical concerts, and cultural events. TBA also co-sponsored the Talent Harvest Festival and helped to produce the extraordinarily successful Play Music on the Porch Day, led and organized by event coordinator and community volunteer, Ana Byers.
When the state announced it would invest $4 million in post-fire business recovery, TBA reached out to other business advocacy organizations to echo that $4 million simply would not be enough for meaningful economic revitalization. The state listened to our community and raised the funds to just over $13 million.
Starting this month, TBA will begin creating a strategic plan. We’ve applied for technical assistance grants and have signed on with the same team of consultants who are leading the greatly successful Greater Applegate efforts - Megan Fehrman and Seth Kaplan. TBA’s board will join members of the business community, to write a fundable plan that will continue to put Talent businesses first.
At TBA we have built up our momentum, but we cannot keep up the good work without help from more community members like you! Please consider joining us as we chart our new course into the future, and ensure that Talent stays stronger together.
Volunteer Board President
Talent Business Alliance