La Mesa Chamber reminds us why innovation is so important for our communitites

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Courtesy Photo.

The first time I went to a Taste of La Mesa event, proudly put on by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce every year since 2008, I was floored by the diversity of food and vendors represented in the intimate space.

My coworkers had raved to me about Taste of La Mesa for weeks and it did not disappoint. The food was unbelievable. The atmosphere was jovial. The networking opportunities were quite good as well.

It was there that I had my first sample of The Golden Spoon ice cream, which we then went back to during the summer to feature in our ice creams of East County. You can be certain I have no regrets about that fortuitous encounter.

Mostly, what sticks out when I think back to that day is how much fun everyone was having. Having worked in food service myself, I understand that food preparation and service is not all fun and games, but you would never know it looking around the room. There was a smile on everyone’s face, from vendor to guest.

I didn’t know Mary England, president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber, very well at the time, but now I realize how much that first event I attended had her fingerprints all over it. A good time where movers and shakers in the community can get together and bump elbows? What more could be wanted?

Well, just ask Mary.

Bigger and better, always improving, the chamber’s event this year was not just a taste of La Mesa, but a taste of East County, specifically branded as a San Diego event. It was more inclusive, while broadening the horizons of local business.

Taste of San Diego – East, debuting for the first time under that name, was held at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley on June 3, 2018, featuring 25 food and beverage vendors.

Vendors included Sycuan Casino Resort, Surf Rider Pizza Co. and Hooley’s Public House, among a throng of well-known and up-and-coming local eateries and coffee shops.

The accomplishment here is not simply a larger venue and more food. The accomplishment is innovation. It is the continual push to reach the next star.

The La Mesa chamber sets the pace in East County, with England at the helm, in creating a business community that fosters growth and development. Taste of La Mesa was a phenomenal event that could have remained the jewel in the chamber’s crown for years, just the way it was.

But leaving things the way they are is a crippling kind of complacency that turns even the brightest successes into trite reruns.

I hope this rebranded Taste serves as an inspiration to the rest of our community to keep pushing the limits of what we can accomplish for our businesses, our neighborhoods, our schools and the stretches of earth we call our own. I hope it makes us reconsider our routines and re-examine our to-do lists. I hope it shows us what we can do when we chase a farther star, even if only for just a taste.

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